Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Goat Milk Kefir February 3, 2010

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Raw Goat Milk,Real Food Wednesday — realfoodmama @ 10:19 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Mmmm, dairy...I finally got my Kefir grains from Cultures for Health and I have been spending the last few days acclimating them to my raw goats milk. I am very excited about these little bundles of bacteria and am hopeful to be able to make an actual batch of kefir next week.

For those of you unfamiliar with the stuff, kefir is a fermented milk beverage. It has a sour flavor similar to yogurt, but the texture is very different allowing you to drink it. Said to originate in Russia and the Caucasus, kefir has many health benefits, not the least of which the introduction of beneficial bacteria to the intestinal floura. It is for this reason alone that I have been wanting to start my own kefir culture. More information about the history (real and legendary) and the health benefits of kefir can be found here.

The grains themselves came packed in a small amount of powdered milk which I just added to my raw goats milk. The instructions said to let the grains sit at room temperature in the milk for 24 hours, at which point you strain them and add them to fresh milk and repeat the process.
Soaking the grains Apparently in 4 – 7 days you should have a product that smells slightly sour, possibly yeasty, and not at all off. Today is day 5 for me and I suspect I may need another day simply because my milk is raw and the kefir is working with a much higher load of existing bacteria than if I were using pasteurized milk. It also looks as though my grains are already multiplying! I am very excited about this for a variety of reasons. First, it means that they are healthy and working, secondly it means I can share them if people are interested! Very exciting indeed.

With that success in mind, one of the things I have struggled with is whether to rinse the kefir grains when I change the milk, as there is nothing about this on the instructions from Cultures for Health. I have simply been adding any accumulated cream/curd back into the fresh milk, rather than rinse the cultures with water. It turns out this is absolutely right! I was doing some research and found a great site with a ton of information about kefir grains. Not only did it clarify the process a bit for me, but it also provides some ideas about how to store the grains if they are not being used, as well as giving a few ideas on kefir variations (such as refrigerator kefir or a double fermentation method).

The irony of all of this is of course it is very near the end of milking season and I am running extremely low on my goat milk. Goats typically only lactate for 9 months and I am pushing the issue with my Nubian so that I can have milk until my other girl delivers (expected late March). I am milking my girl every other day in an effort to dry her off slowly and as a result, only have about a quart every two days. Given that I have had to use 2 cups from each milking for the kefir I don’t have a lot left over! Not the best planning in the world!

In either case, I am hopeful that by this weekend I will have a nice batch of birthday kefir (my B-day is Friday!) and when I have managed to get a successful batch, I will post about it here. Until then, Happy Eating…and drinking!

This post has been my contribution to Real Food Wednesday’s, hosted this week by Cheeseslave.

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9 Responses to “Goat Milk Kefir”

  1. Tara Says:

    Congrats on starting kefir! I have been culturing it since June of this year and love it. I too got my grains from cultures for health, but I believe mine came in a little actual milk. I didn’t wait to start using mine – did the first culture for 24 hours, strained, put it in the fridge and added new milk to the grains – I repeat this process every 24 hours. The newly cultured kefir gets added to the same jar each day and I just keep using it from the fridge. During the colder months sometimes I let it go for two days since it seems to slow down the culturing time. During the summer sometimes it’s every twelve hours that I have to change it! Also, the grains grow much much quicker in the summer. I started off using my kefir in fruit smoothies. I’m now acclimated to the taste and can drink it straight. Oh, and I switch between raw cows milk and raw goats milk just fine – even mixing the two. Hope I’ve given you even a little more info! My blog has a lot of kefir talk too.

  2. Anita Says:

    I love, love, love my raw goat milk kefir!!
    It is the yummiest, best thing I found keeps me healthy.

  3. motherhen68 Says:

    I’ve been culturing milk w/kefir grains for about a year now . The flavor of unsweetened kefir was familiar, but I could place it. A few weeks ago I was drinking a glass and I realized it tastes sorta like a “coke float”, you know how you add ice cream to coke? It’s got the fizzy of coke and the milky taste from the milk.

    This morning I took the jar out and I could hear this buzzing. I thought it was a pot on the stove, but it was my kefir fizzing!

  4. […] — realfoodmama @ 11:35 am Tags: Drink, Goat Milk, Raw Milk I am pleased to announce that my kefir grains acclimated perfectly to my raw goats milk and I ended up with a beautiful cup-full of kefir […]

  5. Lynda Says:

    I have been culturing pasteurized (can’t get raw) goat milk for 2 months. I live in Singapore so its really hot 28 degrees celsius and so in 12 hours, it thickens and the curds and whey separate so its ready. but my kefir is never ever fizzy… can anyone explain why? I use the real grains not the started… must it be fizzy??

  6. Vanessa Says:

    Hello, anyone has spare kefir grains to share? Am willing to pay a price for it! I am from singapore, please email me at hello_forever@live.com should you feel like selling me your kefir grains. Thanks a zillion !!!!

  7. Carol Says:

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are
    talking about! Bookmarked. Please also visit my site =).
    We could have a link exchange agreement between us!


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