Choosing the best milk for making Milk Kefir
Kefir is a fermented milk product that is known for its huge health benefits. Though the flavor and tart of kefir is similar to that of yogurt, kefir contains much more beneficial qualities than yogurt. The best kind of kefir can be made from raw organic milk that is fresh and hygienic. However, every one cannot make kefir by using fresh raw organic milk because it is quite expensive and the availability is also not that great. There are also other concerns such as shelf life. In this article, we will talk about the several kinds of milk that can be used for making dairy kefir. We would also discuss about the pros and cons of each type of milk.
1. UHT milk:
Kefir can be made from UHT (ultra-heat treatment) milk. This is the type of milk that is subjected to a temperature which is as high as 135 degrees C for a second or two. This process results in the killing of the germs present in the milk. Therefore, people can store UHT milk in containers that is not opened for about nine months without any need of refrigeration. However, some amount of nutrients is lost from the milk due to heating it at such a high temperature. Many people have also complained about the slight unpleasant taste of UHT milk. However, this type of milk is cheap and so many people find it affordable and appropriate for making dairy kefir. When UHT milk is used for making dairy kefir, the kefir is thick. The pros of using UHT milk: It is cheap, easily available in the market and has the longest shelf life. The cons of using UHT milk: Nutrient loss is observed and it has a slight unpleasant taste which is not liked by many people.
can be made with raw milk. Completely unprocessed milk is called raw milk. Raw milk tastes better and is much more nutritious than processed milk. Raw milk is not available in many countries. There are few places where raw milk is available, but it is extremely expensive. The pros of using raw milk: It tastes wonderful and is very nutritious. The cons of using raw milk: There are many hygiene or safety issues. Moreover, raw milk is not available in many countries. Raw milk also has the shortest shelf life.3. Pasteurized milk:
can be made with pasteurized milk. This is the type of milk that is heated at a temperature of 70 degrees C. Since the milk is heated, important vitamins and minerals are lost. Pasteurized milk has a longer shelf life than that of raw milk. The pros of using pasteurized milk: It is cheaper and has a longer shelf life. It is available almost everywhere. The cons of using pasteurized milk: Some minerals and vitamins are lost.
Thus, dairy kefir can be made by using raw milk, pasteurized milk or UHT milk. All the three types of milk have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. It depends on your taste which kind of milk you will choose for making dairy kefir.
How to maintain Kefir grains ?
Dairy kefir is a cultured milk beverage that is bragged about, for its plenty of probiotic benefits. It is a fermented milk product that contains plenty of beneficial yeasts and bacteria. Many people prepare kefir at home, after purchasing kefir grains. The kefir grains are usually tiny chunks of bacteria and yeast, mixed with sugars, fats and milk proteins called caseins. Kefir grains can be used for an indefinite amount of time if they are maintained properly. A new batch of kefir can be prepared every day if you maintain the kefir grains properly. In order to do so, you need to follow some dos and don’ts while handling kefir grains.
- You should never mix kefir grains with tap water. This is because the chemicals present in tap water such as fluorine and chlorine can cause potential damage to the kefir grains. Therefore, you must use filtered or mineral water which is devoid of these chemicals.
- You must not overheat or boil the kefir grains as too much heat can kill the beneficial bacteria present in kefir.
- You must use glass, plastic or wooden utensils while preparing kefir. The best choice is obviously glass utensils as they are easy to sterilize. However, you should not use metal utensils at any cost. This is because kefir reacts with metals. Thus, metal can contaminate the kefir you are preparing.
- You should not freeze the kefir grains. Freezing totally stops or halts the fermentation process. Many kefir grains cannot be revived after freezing. They immediately go to a deep-sleep-freeze-phase on freezing. The process of reviving frozen kefir grains is difficult. A better option is to dried the kefir grains.
- You must store the kefir grains in a clean jar. The jar containing kefir grains must be always covered with a cloth so that you can prevent the grains from any contamination.
- The kefir grains should not be starved. You must change the milk after 48 hours. When the kefir grains are fed with fresh milk, they stay alive and active.
- Though there are no fixed kefir grains to milk ratio, the general rule is to use 1 part kefir grains and 10 parts milk by volume. The milk is the food for the bacteria and yeasts.
With plenty of health benefits, kefir is a beverage that is widely recommended by doctors and this healthy food can be easily prepared at home if you follow these simple 7 tips listed above. Your kefir grains will always be well maintained.