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Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir is somewhat like a runny yoghurt made simply by culturing milk and is packed with probiotics, enzymes and minerals.
Normally just called 'Kefir', it is made by adding Kefir 'grains' strained from a previous batch to fresh milk and is therefore perfect for those avoiding sugar or who need a boost of digestive bacteria.

Milk Kefir Basics

Kefir (pronounced 'kuh-FEER') is a cultured or fermented milk drink made with a culture usually called Kefir "grains" (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter) though they look more like cauliflower florets or macaroni. It has it's origins in the north Caucasus Mountains centuries ago where it was used as a means of preserving milk (since they had no refrigerators of course). It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with the kefir grains to culture it over a period of 12- 24 hours. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.



Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars and this symbiotic matrix, (or SCOBY) forms what are commonly called "grains", although they resemble small lumps of cauliflower. A complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains with some predominating; Lactobacillus species are always present. Even successive batches of kefir may differ slightly due to factors such as the kefir grains rising out of the milk while fermenting, or curds forming around the grains, as well as room temperature.

The resulting ferment, once strained, is a runny, rather sour yoghurt like drink, low in sugar with high numbers of probiotic bacteria.

This high number of 'good bacteria' are the reason for it being considered a highly nutritious and beneficial addition to anyone's diet as it boosts the efficiency of digestion and increases nutrient absorption.

For the full low down on Milk Kefir, explore the links to the left.

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