Kefir is the latest topic in the health and nutrition forums, discussions and coffee table chats as being another source of probiotic. It is popular because lactose intolerant or people who are allergic to dairy can now have another natural source of probiotic for healthy gut balance. How is it different from yogurt? Can it be easily found or homemade? What are kefir made of? Read on to find out more….
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a cultured, creamy beverage that looks and tastes very much like a yogurt drink, made from “kefir grains”. However, it is slightly more tart tasting. It also contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. According to culturesforhealth.com, both bacteria and yeasts which exist in symbiosis with each other and the milk it cultures and feeds from. These grains have a gelatinous feel to them and appear in a sort of miniature floret shape, much like cauliflower.
The bacteria and yeast composition of milk kefir grains tend to vary according to their origin as well as their culturing environment. The source and culturing process can impact the makeup of the microorganisms existing in the milk kefir grains.
What are Kefir Benefits?
One of the main benefit of cultured kefir milk is that it is a good natural source of probiotic for our gut and skin health. According to Huffingtonpost, kefir is made by fermenting milk with 10 to 20 different types of bacteria and yeasts, where yogurt is usually just fermented with a handful of types; this leads to a higher probiotic count in the kefir milk. If it is fermented with non-dairy milk like soya milk or oat milk, it is very suitable for lactose intolerant. Thus, if it is cultured with dairy-free milk, it is a viable source of eczema-friendly food.
How to get Kefir?
The most common way to get kefir yogurt is to culture it yourself! There are many useful websites that guides you on how to culture/DIY kefir yogurt at your very own home. To start, you will need a starter pack/kit or kefir cultures from a friend or community. You can buy start pack from Vitadeals health stores or blessings from the FB group Water Kefir/Milk Kefir Grains Blessings (SG).
Once you get your hands on some starter grains, you can read about tips on how to grow and culture your own kefir yogurt from these websites :
- CulturesforHealth.com : Step by step video on how to culture your kefir. Includes photos of expected thickness of the correctly cultured kefir.
- Wholenaturallife.com : Recommended utensils, photos and step by step guide. It also gives some ideas on how to use kefir in recipes.
Enjoy your DIY kefir culturing!