Kefir is a cultured dairy product similar to yogurt, but made with different strains of bacteria. It is more of a liquid substance than yogurt, but has a similar taste. This may not be an essential part of urban farming, but for those with too little time/space for livestock like chickens or goats, this makes a great alternative pet.
It takes about as much time to care for as your goldfish or chia head. The hardest part is getting the kefir grains to begin with. I would recommend one of the following: order it online, or go down to the nearest tea shop and locate someone who is reading tarot cards. Preferably someone wearing a purple scarf and several large medallions (they should know where to get some...)
These are the materials you will need:
- Kefir grains
- 2 glass jars with lids (I use 1/2 gallon jars but 1 quart works well too; one to ferment the kefir in and one to store the finished kefir in)
- A spatula
- A colander (not metal, legend has it that contact with metal will kill your grains)
- A bowl (preferably one with a spout that pours well).
Set the colander into the bowl, open your jar of kefir and pour it into the colander. Use the spatula to push all of the liquid through the colander and into the bowl. Your kefir grains are what is left in the colander once the liquid pours off. Some people say to rinse the grains at this point, but I don't...the last time I tried that, my grains perished...
Pour the kefir liquid into the second glass jar to be stored in the refrigerator or consumed immediately...enjoy your kefir any way that seems appropriate. I would recommend mixing it with your favorite fruit, putting on a very good Boston album ("More Than a Feeling") and reading my blog...
Clean the fermenting jar well and put your kefir grains back in the newly cleaned jar.
If your culture is healthy and is growing too large for your needs, this is a good time to separate out some grains and give them to Steve...
Pour milk into the jar with your kefir grains (and Steve's). You can use whatever milk you like. I would recommend organic, whole, unpasteurized, grass-fed, shade-grown, sustainable, fair-trade, dolphin-safe milk from your local farmer's market...
Put the lids on your jars, put your kefir jar next to Steve's and remember: it is more than a feeling. It is very likely that you will start dreaming, but with any luck you won't have to see your Marianne walking away...
Put your kefir away in a cupboard for one or two days (depending on how fermented you like it), the longer it sits, the more fermented. The whey will start to separate and it may take on a "yeasty" taste. The timing will depend on the quantity of grains that you have in proportion to the quantity of milk you are using...if your kefir goes too long and seems undrinkable, use it for baking or dispose of it and make a new batch. Even if you forget about it for a week or two, the grains should still be alright if poured into a new bath of milk. If you are going out of town for a few weeks, store the grains in milk in the refrigerator. This will allow them to hibernate until you return.