All about kefir starter cultures
Kefir is a probiotic drink which is well known for its various health benefits. The healing qualities of kefir have been known since the ancient times. It is a traditional health drink that is recommended to everyone. Many people prepare kefir at home. The trick with making kefir at home is using the proper starter culture. The starter culture is nothing but the kefir grains which are a combination of acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid microorganisms and some beneficial yeast that work in a symbiotic relationship with each other. The metabolic product that results due to the fermentation of these organisms is responsible for the probiotic quality of the kefir.
The probiotic organisms that are found in kefir live inside the intestine of human beings and protect the body from several harmful pathogens. In this way, the body is detoxified and the immune system is strengthened.
The ingredients of the starter culture:
The organisms that constitute the starter culture are Lactococcus species, Lactobacillus species, Saccharomyces species and Candida species.
Storing the starter culture:
Here are some of the ways by which you can store the starter culture:
- The temperature at which the culture is stored should be between 0-10 degree Celsius.
- Each box of the starter culture can contain up to ten small 1 gram foil-packets of culture.
- Once you open a foil-packet, you should not store back the remaining culture.
Steps for preparing kefir:
- You best use pasteurized milk for preparing kefir. In case you decide to use raw milk, you must heat it at 63 degree Celsius and then cool it down to about 24 degree Celsius.
- You should add the starter culture to the milk and then stir it properly.
- After stirring it well, you should keep the mixture undisturbed at 24-29 degree Celsius for 14-16 hours.
- Lastly, put the mixture in the refrigerator until it cools down to 10 degree Celsius. Don’t stir the mixture.
After following the simple four steps, you will get the final product called kefir. The quality of the kefir depends largely upon the milk that you are using. The milk should be fresh and pasteurized. If you are not satisfied with the final product, then you can use another brand of milk.
If you are thinking of preparing kefir many times, then you can use the final product as the starter culture. You can add about 2 tablespoons of the final product in 1 liter of milk. In this case, it would take 2-3 hours less for fermentation.