Friday, November 11, 2011

Working with the kefir

I do not have pictures of the kefir, when I get a chance I will post some.   So how is it going with the kefir making?   Very well.

I am working the kefir heavily and this means my grains have more than doubled since I got my grains.  I have grains to spare now and if you want some, drop me a line and I can give you some.

Many people drink it kefir, but this does not appeal to me, it might work as part of a smoothie, but on its own it does not do it.  I like the tang of the kefir better than the normal yogurt flavour and I am trying to eat 250 grams of kefir yogurt per day.  

I am letting it get quite firm and then I separate out the grains.   Once the grains are out, I strain it through a jelly bag to get it to a fairly thick consistency.   There are two consistencies a I aim for, one about the consistency of yogurt or sour cream, the second the thickness of ricotta.

I process between 1.5 and 1.8 litres of milk every 24 to 48 hours.  The jars I use can hold up to 2 litres but the grains take some space and I leave some space at the top.   For the yogurt consistency I get about 50% of the volume of the milk I started with.   For the ricotta consistency it get about 35-40% of the volume of the milk I started with.

The kefir has more or less replaced all of our yogurt, sour cream and soft fresh cheese uses in the house.   It works very well as a replacement for sour cream, and has a much lower fat content.  I work with 1% milk, which means my sour cream consistency kefir has about a 2% milk fat content.

The ricotta consistency kefir is about 3% milk fat, making it a very low fat fresh cheese.    I could make it firmer still by pressing out more of the whey.   Adding a bit of salt and herbs and you have a very nice cream cheese.

Meanwhile, I am getting all this whey, what do I do with it?  I am throwing it out because I have no idea what I can use it for.  In a quick internet search, I have some interesting uses for it.  I guess I will not longer be throwing it out.

Cost of yogurt consistency is about $2.30 a litre, for the fresh cheese consistency it costs about $3.40 a kilogram.   This is dramatically cheaper than what it costs in the store and it is better for me.
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