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.