I am going to buy kefir grains to make own kefir drink. But I am not sure if there is any quality difference between different kefir grains or is kefir grain always the same, no matter where you buy it?
The question came out when I was looking at 2 websites about bacteria composition. On the first website only 5 different types of bacteria were mentioned, on the second site about 20. I am not sure if they just didn't write the entire list of it is actually different kind of kefir grains.
asked bynewbie_3 (20)
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on April 11, 2013
at 12:12 PM
I bought mine on amazon, they were really good, no problems.
Home made kefir can have up to 45 different species in it. When you buy from a vendor you can never know which ones it has. All kefir comes from a master grain 2000 years ago, and no one knows how it came to be. Along the way, different copies of the master grain, got evolved a bit differently. But you can't know what is what, you just accept what you get. In fact, some might be infected with bad bacteria, but we can't know.
on April 12, 2013
at 01:37 PM
No, you do kefir grains in order to produce kefir. You can not use the backslopping method as you can with yogurt because the microbe composition of kefir is different than the grains. Here's the general breakdown:
Microorganisms in kefir grains
- 65???80% lactobacilli
- 10???15% yeasts
- 5???25% lactococci
Microorganisms in kefir
- 80% lactococci
- 10???15% yeasts
- 5???10% lactobacilli
So, as you can see, the makeup of kefir is not the same as the grains, therefore it is unable to produce the same drink.
Also, in regard to not knowing how kefir grains originated; there are a few theories as to how they originated some 1,000+ years ago. Most likely the formed on the inside of animal skin bags that were used to carry milk.
If you really want to get nerdy about it, it actually is possible to produce grains yourself if you have access to a traditional goat hide bag, sheep intestinal bacteria, and are willing to shake the bag every hour for 12 weeks. A study was published in the *World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology a few years back that is quite fascinating. Here is a quote from the introduction of the paper:
A goat-hide bag (4-l capacity) obtained from Pariz and Babak villages in Kerman (Southwest Iran) was washed several times with sterile water, ??lled with pasteurized milk and intestinal ??ora from sheep. It was kept at 24 to 26??C for 48 h and shaken hourly. When the milk was coagulated, 75% was replaced with fresh milk. This procedure was repeated for 12 weeks. Gradually a polysaccharide layer (spongy form) appeared on the surface of the hide. The layer was removed aseptically from the hides and propagated in pasteurized cow's milk...
And here is the link to the full journal article: http://www.kefir.ilbello.com/articoli/k4.pdf
If you're looking for kefir, check out the International Sharing Community at http://www.torontoadvisors.com/suppliers. It is a list of people with kefir grains they are willing to share. Usually you can find kefir grains relatively close to where you live and only pay for the cost of shipping. Of course, there is no guarantee on the quality of the grains, but it is a good place to start. I found grains through that site a few years back and my kefir grains are still going strong.
on April 11, 2013
at 05:52 PM
I just read that I don't actually need grains to start. I can buy ready kefir in shop and mix it with milk, leave it for 24 and that is how I get grains. Is that right?
I read that somebody bought kefir in store, then mixed it with milk and that is how he got kefir grains. But later I also read on other site the following statement: "I've not used kefir starter as it only has 7 microbials and REAL kefir grains have 56+ beneficial microbials."
So from what I understand, kefir that is made first time from kefir will only have 7 microbials, but if I make grains from kefir and then kefir, this would be the same as if I made kefir from grains? I just don't understand that. And any way how can you know if grains were made from kefir and not from grains? I know it is a bit tricky question :)