The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Live foods - kefir, kombucha, yogurt and the like
Thu 29-Aug-13
5:34 pm
Avatar
maggenpie
Cornwall, UK

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 902
Member Since:
Sat 21-Aug-10
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

A new thread for all kinds of 'live' foods, except sourdough which has its own thread.

I've been making milk kefir (given to me by a friend) for nearly a year and it's really easy. Just add the kefir grains to milk and about a day later you have kefir. Strain and add more milk to the kefir grains for the next day. I used mine to make a daily smoothie with a banana and a couple of tablespoons of oats.

The grains increase and eventually you get too much. So I converted some to sugar water and made a sparkling drink. I added ginger for flavour. The grains don't grow in sugar water and develop a tough outer skin so you need to replenish your stock with more milk kefir grains as time goes on. Milk kefir grows quite quickly so it's not a problem!

Then I went off dairy and decided to try coconut milk. I started out with tinned coconut milk which works very well but then realised there are all sorts of things added into it. Now I make my own milk from desiccated coconut and after a bit of jiggling have found that 1 cup of coconut to two cups of water gives a milk that the kefir likes. It does take a while for the grains to convert, so you have to discard the first batch or two. It works better after that but you have to revive the kefir in dairy milk every couple of weeks. I keep two batches on the go; one working in coconut and the other resting in dairy.

Next I bought water kefir crystals from here, and I'm using that instead of the converted milk kefir for a sparkling drink but production has had a hiccup. The recipe I followed said put to raisins and lemon in. I found the crystals developed a film over them and they gradually stopped working. I've rinsed them and put them into plain sugar water in the fridge for a rest and they seem to be reviving. I'm also wondering if my soft water isn't good for them. They prefer mineral rich hard water, I've read. I know I can add bicarb but does anyone know how much?

I've also got kombucha from the same place as the water kefir. That also makes a healthy, sparkling drink. You feed it with sweet tea.

Having gone off dairy, I tried making yogurt with soya milk and to my surprise it works fine. I bought some live soya yogurt to give me a starter. Has anyone tried making yogurt with other non-dairy milks?

Finally, I've hopefully now got some vinegar on the go, having accidentally grown a vinegar mother. Raw apple cider vinegar is touted as being good for all sorts of ailments so I thought I'd have a go, since the opportunity arose. I've read all sorts of methods on the net from dead simple to technically complicated so if anyone has done it before or has some on the go I'd be glad of any tips. smile

Never assume anything - except an occasional air of intelligence.

Thu 29-Aug-13
7:51 pm
Avatar
Rob12
London, UK

Knowledegable
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 274
Member Since:
Sat 9-Jun-12
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Maggenpie, thank you for starting this thread.  It sounds as if you have had a lot of fun experimenting with Kefir.

 

I have used this once but the yoghurt was too watery for my taste.  I have also tried quite a few other yoghurt cultures but have learned that what works well with cows milk does not always work well with goats milk.  I was given a culture by a friend that is used within their extended family and makes a beautiful mayonnaise-like yoghurt on cows milk but in goats milk it makes a very watery and very sharp tasting yoghurt.  However when I use a starter taken from the commercial 'Rachels Farm' goats milk yoghurt I get a reasonably thick, sweet tasting yoghurt off goats milk.

 

For ginger beer we normally add brewers yeast, raisins, lemons and sugar.  I have never tried the ginger beer 'plant' or 'mother' as I see advertised here in the UK.  I know Kombucha from back in South Africa where it was popular many years ago but have not tried it up here.

 

As to the sweet preparations you get from Kefir in water, etc - how do they taste?  Just sparkling or slightly fermented as well?

Thu 29-Aug-13
8:23 pm
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Your cottage must be full of live, fermenting things Ruthie! When we met I thought how energetic and full of vitality you seemed, now I know why, it's all these natural things bursting with good flora you consume!

I can't wait to try my first lot of kefir, I think i'll have it in a similar way to you.  Not with a banana though - too sugary for my diabetes - but with some berries along with the oats, it will make a good breakfast drink.

Does it make the milk (of whatever type) thicker?

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Thu 29-Aug-13
10:20 pm
Avatar
brightspark
Wilts

Supreme Being
Members
Forum Posts: 10485
Member Since:
Wed 30-Dec-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

When I get back to the UK, I'll get them out of the freezer (see if they have survived!) and start again. Having milkshakes may be the answer - I've been told to eat more bananas because of a low potassium level, so that's good news for me!

Thanks Ruthie! ok

"Work for a cause, not for applause
Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
Fri 30-Aug-13
9:11 am
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've just strained the grains and put them into fresh milk and discarded the first lot of milk, as per the instructions.  Wow, the grains have multiplied, nearly doubled in fact! eeek  I didn't taste the discarded milk.....have to say I didn't much like the look of it anyway, it looked all curdled, is that how it's supposed to look?

One thing that does concern me a bit Ruthie.......the instructions say not to put the milk and grains in the fridge but to leave them out on the worktop, until the next day when you strain it and put the strained milk in the fridge to cool before you drink it.  Won't the milk go off if it's not kept in the fridge, especially seeing as it's still quite warm now?

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Fri 30-Aug-13
11:54 am
Avatar
brightspark
Wilts

Supreme Being
Members
Forum Posts: 10485
Member Since:
Wed 30-Dec-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

That's interesting, Sue - mine were kept in the fridge ..... confused

"Work for a cause, not for applause
Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
Fri 30-Aug-13
12:23 pm
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Val, the instructions with mine specifically say not to put it in the fridge (unless you're going away for a week or two) as the cold temp will put the grains into a dormant state.

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Fri 30-Aug-13
12:27 pm
Avatar
brightspark
Wilts

Supreme Being
Members
Forum Posts: 10485
Member Since:
Wed 30-Dec-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

That would explain a lot of things !!  big_laugh   big_laugh

"Work for a cause, not for applause
Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
Fri 30-Aug-13
2:56 pm
Avatar
mike.
Coventry

Councillor
Members
Forum Posts: 1265
Member Since:
Wed 30-Dec-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've never heard of kefir. I must be living a very sheltered life since it seems to be all the rage at the moment. Does it taste anything like yoghurt or is it more like yakult (which it sounds similar to, being full of bacteria).

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Fri 30-Aug-13
2:59 pm
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I haven't tasted it yet Mike......I'll let you know tomorrow!

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Fri 30-Aug-13
3:07 pm
Avatar
mike.
Coventry

Councillor
Members
Forum Posts: 1265
Member Since:
Wed 30-Dec-09
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've done a bit of googling and found a shop in coventry which sells it so I might give it a go if it's not too expensive.

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Fri 30-Aug-13
4:52 pm
Avatar
maggenpie
Cornwall, UK

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 902
Member Since:
Sat 21-Aug-10
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Kefir is more like the Yakult stuff but I understand the homemade has a far greater variety of 'good bugs'. In my experience it doesn't thicken as much as a spoonable yogurt, it's more like 'drinking yogurt'.

The milk doesn't go off left in the warm because the kefir is doing its work, same as yogurt. Once you cool it in the fridge it slows right down. I have successfully brought some out of the freezer but it took a few days to get going. It was very warm weather so I was changing the milk twice a day but only used just enough to cover it, not wanting to be wasteful.

Like sourdough, a lot depends on temperature and how long you leave the kefir to work. The longer you leave it, the more sour it becomes. It feeds on the lactose and once that's gone it will become unpleasant so don't neglect it. Just put it in the fridge if you're not going to use it up. If it curdles you can still give it a good stir unless it's really gone too far for your taste. You can also strain it to make soft cheese, by the way!

Sue, I do think it has helped my dodgy digestion. A friend claims her gluten intolerance has largely abated. I can't say that but I do think it's not so bad.

The water kefir and kombucha are much the same as the milk kefir. They feed on sugar so the longer you leave them, the less sugar there is to taste.

You can add more sugar when you bottle it and it will continue to ferment and get fizzier. I'm still working on that bit, sometimes it works better than others. I've had every variation from mildly sparkling to 'whoops, quick hold it over the sink and try to get the top back on before it sprays all over the place'. big_laugh

Never assume anything - except an occasional air of intelligence.

Sat 31-Aug-13
9:16 am
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, I've just had my first taste of the kefir........hmm.  By itself, it tasted like tangy, sour yogurt, can't say I liked it much.  So I did what Ruthie suggested and whizzed it up in the blender with 2 dessertspoons of oats and a handful of frozen berries.  Slightly better, but i'm still not very keen.  I'm either going to have to grit my teeth and persevere in the hope I get used to it, or come up with some other way of flavouring it.  If it's going to do me good, then I don't want to give up on it.

Any other ideas, Ruthie?

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sat 31-Aug-13
11:49 am
Avatar
maggenpie
Cornwall, UK

Expert
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 902
Member Since:
Sat 21-Aug-10
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Perhaps it went too long? This warm weather it does make it work quicker. Have a look at it in the evening and decide whether to put it in the fridge overnight so that it doesn't go too far. It should be yogurt-like in flavour but not so thick. If you strain it and add more milk to the kefir you've made, it will continue to culture the added milk and you can adjust the flavour that way. You could dilute it with extra uncultured milk or coconut milk. For flavour, try vanilla or cinnamon?  If you like it thick, there's a trick I sometimes use with my coconut milk kefir. I culture only half the amount of milk I want but let it go for 24 hours, which means it's quite strong. To the other half of the milk I add some cornflour and cook it until it thickens, then cool. Then I mix the cold, thickened coconut milk to the kefir and I've got a thick, spoonable and not too strong tasting kefir. I have to admit though, I do still add a little agave syrup if I'm not adding banana or dates but then, I do have a sweet tooth.

Never assume anything - except an occasional air of intelligence.

Sun 1-Sep-13
7:20 am
Avatar
Sooliz
Somerset

Supreme Being
Members

New members
Forum Posts: 7980
Member Since:
Sun 30-Jan-11
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Ruthie, I used half and half cows and coconut milk in yesterday's one, and put it in the fridge overnight.  Just had a little taste whilst straining and making up a new lot - the addition of the coconut milk makes it taste a lot better, and I think adding a few drops of vanilla extract (great idea) will make it quite nice.  I WILL persevere with this!

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 262

Currently Online:
27 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

brightspark: 10485

danast: 10232

Aly: 9421

Sooliz: 7980

Hattie: 6920

Ambersparkle: 6665

JoannaS: 4800

Terrier: 4518

eileen54: 4396

Xahha: 4231

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 9

Members: 15365

Moderators: 2

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 6

Forums: 25

Topics: 2244

Posts: 122511

Newest Members:

breckjensen, Dennisreick, RobertTus, DonaldPhest, Aaronawasy, spetperslimogqui

Moderators: Toffeeapple: 16217, AdminTA: 10

Administrators: fn: 321, Danny: 5514


Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder