I have recently switched to fermenting everything in anaerobic ferment vessels. I believe it’s an optimal way to ensure I am getting a truly anaerobic ferment, thereby avoiding mold and other nasties, and enhancing the lactic acid bacteria content of my finished ferment. (I had a mason jar of kefir tested at a local lab and the tests showed it had mold in it, mold that was not detectable on the surface prior to the test. Mold should not be able to thrive in a properly done ferment in the first place). That said, I’ve had to go back and revamp all my old recipes to convert them for anaerobic fermentation.
‘Kefir is a cultured and microbial-rich food that helps restore the inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial yeast and beneficial bacteria (in a symbiotic relationship) that give kefir antibiotic properties. A natural antibiotic – and it is made from milk! The finished product is not unlike that of a drink-style yogurt, but kefir has a more tart, refreshing taste and contains completely different microorganisms. . . kefir does not feed yeast, and it usually doesn’t even bother people who are lactose intolerant. That’s because the friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast growing in the kefir consume most of the lactose and provide very efficient enzymes (lactase) for consuming whatever lactose is still left after the culturing process. . . kefir is mucous-forming, but . . . the slightly mucus-forming quality is exactly what makes kefir work for us. The mucus has a “clean” quality to it that coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating a sort of nest where beneficial bacteria can settle and colonize. . . .
Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow particles called “grains.” The grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and polysaccharides (complex sugars). They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a hazelnut. Some grains have been known to grow in large flat sheets that can be big enough to cover your hand. No other milk culture forms grains. . . making kefir truly unique. Once the grains ferment the milk by incorporating their friendly organisms into the final product, you remove these grains with a strainer before drinking the kefir. The grains are then added to a new batch of milk, and the process continues indefinitely.’ Donna Gates, The Body Ecology Diet
Kefir helps the digestion of lactose, containing a variety of bacteria that are thought to break down lactose in the stomach in people who are deficient in the natural lactase enzyme. Kefir is a rich source of the B vitamins, B12, B1, biotin, folic acid and pantothenic acid. We know that B vitamins are beneficial for numerous functions namely for energy, getting adequate amounts are important in dealing with stress as well. Additionally kefir is plentiful in vitamin K, and the minerals calcium, magnesium and many essential amino acids. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested allowing them to be more easily utilized in the body. Tryptophan is abundant in kefir, this amino acid is known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system, as are the minerals calcium and magnesium. Kefir’s ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy. Regular use of kefir can aid relief of intestinal disorders, promote regularity, reduce gas and create an overall healthy digestive system. The many health benefits of kefir are too good to pass up, that’s why I decided to start brewing my own kefir and consume it daily.
How to Make Anaerobically Fermented Milk Kefir
- 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh live milk kefir grains
- 1 1-liter vessel
- Raw milk to fill jar
- Place grains into jar, add milk and stir gently with a wooden spoon.
- Clamp down the lid and add the airlock.
- Fill the airlock with 1½ tbsp. water.
- Place the jar in a cupboard or cover the jar, not the airlock, with a towel and leave on the counter. Keep in a warm place for 12-18 hours.
- Remove airlock, place the plug in.
- Strain out the kefir grains and start a new batch.
- Place your finished kefir in the refrigerator or keep on the counter for another 8-12 hours without the grains.
When I am not using my grains, I keep them in a small Fido jar with fresh milk to feed the grains. I change this milk every few days. If I need to store my grains for longer between uses I store them in an airtight Fido jar in the fridge and make sure to feed them with fresh milk once a week. It is possible to freeze milk kefir grains, though I have never found the need to do so.
Want more information on how to ferment foods anaerobically and properly? Check out my favorite eCookBook with lots of amazing recipes, tips and info. Also, check out the jars I recommend….Click on the banners below to learn more!
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