Tag Archives: Kefir grains

May I use metal utensils while making Kefir ?

Choosing Equipment for making Kefir

Kefir grains are believed to be a great blessing from Prophet Mohammad, have innumerable qualities to induce a good health. Hence when preparing kefir milk, one must be aware of the utensils and other things that are used in the process. It is a big question nowadays as to whether metal objects can be used when preparing milk kefir.

The fact is, when this unique product was first used, there was nothing like metal utensils. But with the advancement of technology, modern people use various types of utensils and containers for their regular cooking and storing requirements. But if you are making milk kefir, you better not use metal objects.

There are certain reasons why metal items cannot be used while making kefir. The first reason is that kefir grains are acidic in nature and so when they come in contact with reactive metals they readily react.

Which metals should be avoided?

Metals like brass, iron, copper, zinc and aluminum are the most common among the reactive metals. If kefir grains are stored, or kefir milk is prepared and stored in containers made of any of these metals, the metallic ions of the container will come in contact with the grains that are naturally acidic. If these ions from the heavy metal containers accumulate on a regular basis, toxic levels can rise thereby contaminating the milk thus produced. Its harmful effects can be fatal as well.

Today stainless steel is a popular metal that is used to make various types of utensils. It is an inert metal and is therefore used in preparing kefir in stainless steel utensils. The sieves, bowls and containers can safely be used to store kefir water or milk and the spoon too can be used to stir the milk kefir.

We advise NOT to use metal utensils while making kefir

We advise NOT to use most metal utensils while making kefir

The best options :

However the most inert element is glass and is therefore the safest for storing kefir as it is absolutely non-reactive. Plastic strainers and stainless steel strainers can be easily used in the making of kefir. A bamboo strainer can work well too. It is available in different sizes and shapes. The thin bamboo strips are unique kefir strainers. Ideas and lifestyle has changed. But if the advantages of kefir milk are to be enjoyed, one must avoid using metals. Glass, wood or plastics are the best choices.

We advise to use plastic or wooden utensils while making kefir

We advise to use plastic or wooden utensils while making kefir

The History and Myth of Kefir

Where do Kefir grains come from ?

The history of milk kefir was initially part of a legend and a bit mysterious too. People living in the northern slopes of Mountain Caucasian believe that Muhammad, the Great Prophet gave kefir grains to the Orthodox people and showed them how to make it as well. They guarded the grains and the knowledge given to them by the Prophet for fear of losing their strength. The kefir grains became the families’ and the tribe’s wealth and the uses and techniques of preparation were known to the future generations only.

Milk kefir grains

Milk kefir grains

What is Kefir ?

Kefir is a milk product made from the milk of goats, cows and sheep also. There were sacks made of animal skin in which kefir was made. The sacks were kept in a way that it came in contact with direct sunlight which helped in the fermenting process of the milk. In the evening the sacks were carried back home and hung behind the doors so that people passing the door would prod them with their hands or feet so that the content mixes well. More fresh milk was added after the kefir was taken out so that the fermentation process did not stop. This exclusive food was enjoyed by these people for many years. They believed that the beverage prepared with it had magical properties.

How Kefir came to be known worldwide

However, around the 19th century, Russian doctors believed that kefir had great healing properties like treating tuberculosis and other intestinal disorders and published the first scientific research studies. To produce the grains the source of the grains were required urgently to use this unique food for treating ailing patients. The Blandov brothers owned a Dairy in Moscow as well as properties in the Mountains of Caucasus area. They were asked to gather the grains of kefir so that they could be manufactured on a large scale in Moscow itself. Although it was not an easy process, finally the grains were brought to Russia by princess Irina and the first bottles of kefir drink were on sale in Moscow in 1908. They were consumed especially for medicinal values. In the 1930s commercial production began in large quantities.

Since the original method was not appropriate for large scale manufacturing, scientific methods were used to obtain this useful food. In 1950s, VNIMI invented easier methods that included fermentation, agitation, coagulation, ripening and then cooling in huge vessels. The Soviet Food Minister thanked Irina for bringing this invaluable grains to Russia. Today, kefir is the most popularly used fermented milk in Russia. In modern times, kefir is manufactured in Finland, Norway, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia and other places also like USA, West Germany, Canada and Denmark on a commercial scale.

What kefir grains looks like and its health benefits

Kefir grains look like small-size cauliflowers more or less like wheat kernels. They are processed in such a way in leather sacks that they naturally ferment. These grains contain innumerable gelatinous micro-organisms and casein that are symbiotically grown together. Yeast is also present in the grains. These microorganisms are extremely useful for health and makes kefir so different from other milk products that are cultured in different ways. This self-carbonated beverage has probiotic properties and offers medicinal benefits for which the effervescent drink is so popular worldwide. It contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, K2, enzymes, folate and biotin and other unique nutrients that boosts immunity, increases bone density, fights allergies, supports detoxification and improves lactose digestion as well.

Milk kefir grains are named differently in different places like Kefir Yogurt, Snow Lotus, Kewra, Bulgaros, The Grains of The Prophet Mohammad, Tibetan Mushroom, Yogurt Plant to name a few. It is an amazing drink that is enjoyed by all.

Milk kefir grains floating in raw milk

Milk kefir grains floating in raw milk

(Water kefir grains are also named differently, like tibicos (tibi), Japanese water crystals and California bees.)

Kefir grains can be stressed, what can I do ?

Below I will explain how to start best, incase of Water kefir

First, what is the optimal kefir grains to water ratio ? 
Kefir will usually starts to yeast between a ratio from 1:10 to 1:18. This means that 1 tablespoon of kefir grains will ferment at about 1 cup of sugar water and may increase over time to a ratio of 01:24 (= 1 tablespoon kefir grains in 1,5 cup of water). For starters, try using a ratio of water to kefir grains of about 1:16 to 1:18. We note that in the winter the kefir grains grow less rapidly than in the summer. In summer kefir grains can grow about 300% grow within 48 hours, while in winter an increase of 5% may be normal. It is also appropriate for starters NOT to begin immediately with dried fruit. Water kefir grains need time to adapt to their new environment and change of foods. Therefore we start with a sugar solution without the addition of dried fruit.

What is the optimal water to sugar ratio for water kefir ?

The optimal ratio is dissolved about 5 to 10% sugar in water, which is approximately 1 tablespoon sugar per 1 cup of water. Make sure the sugar is well dissolved. Please use unrefined sugar, often dark in color and may have a slightly salty taste because of the minerals present. These minerals are essential to obtain a good kefir culture.
Provide an ideal temperature of 18º to 28ºC, even when creating a new batch, this is important. Customize tempered sugar water to its environment (room temperature) before mixing with the kefir grains. 
Above tips may be useful as a starter, but nothing stands in your way to start finding the ideal proportions.

water kefir grains

Good luck