The short of it: I want to give milk kefir a crack, but only every other day. And I need a plan to do it.
The long of it (skippable): When it comes to the game of life I have recently fallen flat on my ass. I'll be returning to school for software engineering this fall to rectify this ass flattery, but in the mean time I have been "gifted" with the incredible amounts of flexible free time that life sometimes affords us. In turn I have transformed this free time into a VERY structured lifting and meal plan. I do, however, want to incorporate kefir into my plan (the nutrient profile looks attractive, I want to see what proper fermented probiotics can do for me and I want to have one more "weird thing that he did last year to get lean" under my belt). But I can only wedge it into my meals every other day (on rest days) and with 2% milk. As such, I need a plan.
I want to make 2cups once every two days. It is my understanding that it is desirable to store kefir grains in milk, in the refrigerator. Therefore I am wondering if a plan like this would work:
Monday 11am: Drink kefir. Refill 2cups milk, 4tbsp kefir grain. Refrigerate.
Tuesday 11am: Take kefir out of fridge to ferment.
Wednesday 11am: Drink kefir. Refill 2cups milk, 4tbsp kefir grain. Refrigerate.
Thursday 11am: Take kefir out of fridge to ferment.
Friday 11am: Drink kefir...
ad infinitum. Basically combining the storage medium and end product into one. Would this work? Or would it still have the advanced whey/curd combo seen at the 48 hour mark? When stored in the fridge does one still use the cheesecloth+rubberband combo or can I store it with a proper lid on? I understand that the use of 2% will change the consistency and so on, but also that really it's the sugar that the bacteria are after so 2% shouldn't be too deleterious.
Any thoughts, experiences, or anecdotes are deeply appreciated!
asked byNvor (1354)
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on May 02, 2013
at 12:01 AM
The variables you can play with are:
1. Temperature 2. Time (as the temperature goes up, the time goes down) 3. Volume
Some people have a continuous thing going in the fridge where the fermentation may happen slowly, but they've established enough volume that they can pour off a desired amount at a desired interval--it becomes like a continuous "brewing" set up. I haven't tried fermenting in the fridge, so I can't tell you what to do to set that up.
I let my kefir ferment in the ambient temperature in the kitchen whether cool or hot, and when it's sufficiently fermented I pour off the kefir into a larger jar I keep in the fridge. It will keep for a week or more in there. My husband has a cup of chilled kefir nightly, and I have some occasionally, and during the summer high production time (because of warmer temps) I have to try to find uses for a little extra or the jar gets too full. During the winter, I barely have enough for my husband's nightly cup and a little extra in case I want some (I don't tolerate dairy all that well so I mix a little with coconut milk).
My kefir has been so sluggish in the cold months that I've been keeping about 1/2 cup of grains and only straining every few days, but now that the weather is warm I need to reduce the volume down to a tablespoon or slightly more and strain daily.
I don't think you can get too scientific about this. I think what you need to do is start your kefir (it takes a few weeks to get a new set of grains to be really productive) and then you'll be able to figure out how to tweak it best for your needs as you get to know your grains.
It's not rocket science. And it's really quick and easy to strain the grains, so it doesn't have to be a major time sink. You will establish a routine and barely have to think about it much anymore.
on May 02, 2013
at 01:15 AM
First of all, 2% won't give you the best of your kefir grains. They're most successful in non-homogenized milk, floating on top with the fat. They love that fat. You'll get a more acidic kefir from 2%. I used to make kefir from skim and switched for this reason, maybe more whole milkfat is another weird thing you can incorporate. You'll want to use a high quality milk. Just any old 2% won't do, and if it's loaded with antibiotics your grains will not be very active. Especially if you refrigerate. You'll need to buy expensive organic milk at the store, or even better find a local farm on eatwild.com for raw milk. Your 2% milkfat requirement doesn't rule out high quality local milk. If it's non-pasteurized/non-homogenized, the milk and cream will separate on its own. If you put this in a container with a spigot, you can just pour off skim milk every morning. There's one more weird thing you can do. And regarding refrigeration, you may just want to refrigerate only a half day or overnight. There is a long wake-up period after the fridge, they won't be productive for a whole day after 24 hours in the fridge. And if you want to drink this every day, I suggest planning to stir in some protein of some sort as day-in-day-out plain kefir is less and less tasty.
on May 01, 2013
at 09:48 PM
I leave my kefir to ferment for 2 days all the time (almost always). It seems to get a little thicker and tangier. I would recommend it, actually. If you are in a really hot climate you may want to disregard this advice, I've heard that can speed things up. You could instead experiment with using less grains but still doing 2 days until you find the right amount of grains/time.
Also, why are you using 2% milk? It probably won't have as much fat soluble vitamins and will certainly be less creamy and delicious!