Calling on BSD fermenters

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  • posted by alliecat
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    LTC, I haven’t undertaken this process…I hope Sunny sees your post, too! Just wanted to say hello!
    Have you tried Bulgarian yogurt? Thank god for Whole Foods 🙂

  • posted by MarianneA
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    Hi LTC! Glad to see some activity here.
    I culture my kefir in glass, then store it in plastic. I don’t believe it makes a bit of difference which you use. Just be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap to clean your utensils, containers, or your hands, and if you rinse them, use non-chlorinated (or filtered) water.
    I started with about 1 tbsp. of grains to 2 cups of milk at most, and I’ve continued that way. Sometimes just 1 cup of milk. And my kefir is always very tart! So it will take you longer. It’s trial and error at first–just check it and see how it’s come out after two or three or more days, but I’m just guessing as to the time.
    Mine turns out slightly bubbly sometimes, but I don’t think that’s a great thing. I cover it with a paper coffee filter secured with an elastic band. Once it’s strained, I store it in the refrigerator.
    Have fun, and let us know how it turns out!

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi LTC – I personally think the homemade kefir tastes far superior to the commercial stuff you can buy, so I hope you enjoy producing your own.

    i think the reason glass containers are advocated, is that there is a line of thought that the acids in the kefir, may leech chemicals from the plastics. I have no idea if this actually happens, but admit I fermented in glass only – even when I was bringing grains with me on the road trip to Turkey.

    Grains can take a little while to settle when they have been on transit, but I think this is getting used to a new environment, as much as anything. It may be thar your first couple of fermentations are not very palatable, but don’t be discouraged, just discard, put the grains in fresh milk and begin again, it will come right. I think you might have been a little ambitious with the amount of milk to grains, which could mean the milk turns before the grains finish fermenting. If this happens, wash the grains thoroughly with bottled water and start from scratch using less milk. Again this may mean they need a bit more time to settle into good production. It is better to ferment smaller batches to begin with, until the grains are established and growing.

    Yes, to get a fizzier product, cover with a tight lid during fermentation, but as you say, ensure there is some space for the gases. When you have more grains, you can also add a few to your finished product before storing in the fridge and these will continue to ferment but at a slower rate, however it will also increase the fizz element. You can either sift these out later, or just eat/drink them.

    It is not necessary to ferment in the dark, as long as the fermentation container isn’t in full sun light. I normally ferment my kefir out in the open in my kitchen in a little nook near the Aga, where it is nice and warm. You can suspend production by putting the grains in a large quantity of milk and putting it in the fridge. They can last for many weeks unattended this way.

    I have found the easiest and quickest was of extracting grains from product, is to use a nylon sieve, such as you’d use to sieve flour. Tip the lot straight out, catching the whey if you want to use it, or discarding it if not and then mixing the remaining contents around with a wooden spoon, until all the product has been recovered and the grains remain. Takes all of a few mins and this method is less messy than some.

    Hope some of that helps. Best of luck with it and please shout if you have any problems and I try to help if I can.

  • posted by Joes Nonna
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    Hi LTC, SunnyB, Alliecat, MarianneA, and everyone else. I can’t add anything to the above. It is all good advice.

    I have been on holiday and just left my grains in a load of milk. Then took some out to make some new this week. It only took 24 hours in my kitchen as it is quite warm here.

    One thing though…I do use tap water to wash my stuff…even the grains…mainly because I forget. They don’t seem to have suffered at all. And I just use Kilner (Glass) jars anyway as they are easier.

    Hope it helps.

    Nonna Mary
    xxx

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    MarianneA, Sunny and Nonna Mary thanks SO MUCH for all the great advise. So glad you gals saw the post amid the flood of new folks posting. Sunny, had not considered the milk going bad before the grains took….duh. I have no probablem dumping the lot and giving my new babies a fresh but smaller batch. I thought I was giving them ample food and never considered the milk would simply turn faster than they could take hold.

    Agian, thanks so much for the great advise. Such a wealth of knowledge on this forum.

    And Allie…no have not had Bulgarian yogurt. How is that different from the Greek? If you recommend it, I will definately seek it out.

    Love to you all. LTC

  • posted by alliecat
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    Luv, the difference between Bulgarian yogurt and the Greek is that the whey hasn’t been strained out.
    Consequently, it’s much “soupier”, but contains extra vitamins and minerals, as well as a higher
    number of active cultures. Flavor is tangier, too. I mix my breakfast portion about 1/2 and 1/2.
    The recommendation came from Esnecca originally, but I can’t remember if it was on the forums
    or in one of our lengthy phone conversations 🙂 Whole Foods carries the “Trimona” brand, which
    is organic and grassfed. Nutritional breakdown for 1/2c serving is 4g protein, 70cal and 5g carbs.
    I use Stonyfield fat free (I know, a travesty!) and 1/2c of it is 11g protein, 60cal and 4.5g carbs.
    Let us know how your kefir production proceeds! Glad Sunny found you…I knew she would!

  • posted by SunnyB
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    If your tap water isn’t heavily chlorinated I guess you can rinse your grains in it, but to era on the side of caution I have always use bottled, even here in Turkey, where the water to our apartment is direction from a well under the building.

    Keep us posted on your kefir LTC.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Sunny, took your recommendation and bought some bottled water to rinse the grains. My guess is that the city water I have is probably too chlorinated for them and don’t want to risk it. The good news is the milk did not seem to have soured but discarded it anyway to be on safe side and rinsed grains and put them in fresh milk (smaller quantity). The grains looked like they plumped up considerably so my sense is that I am off to a good start. Thank you for all the expert advise.

    Allie…will seek out the Bulgarian yogurt and give it a try.

    On another note, have any of you tried the recommendations re the resistant starch?

    I have been in maintenance mode now for about a month per my most recent bout of “whatever” (still think it is Lyme in spite of negative test….but don’t want to do the heavy antibiotics anyway so really is a moot point). Going to do a semi fast for about 5 days (300 calories a day….mostly kefir and salads) as a jump start to get me back in the groove. But would like to see how my blood sugar reacts to resistant starch down the road. My guess is that it might be ok for maintenance but not good for weight loss. Would be intereted to know if BSDers have any experience in that area. Very intregued about the green bananas and the cold potatoes/rice/pasta etc. The thought that vichyssoise could end up being a “heath food” is hilarious (cold potatoes and leeks supposed to be good for the gut bacteria). If it works, sign me up.

    XXX LTC

  • posted by MarianneA
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    LTC, re resistant starch: I have about 1/2 teaspoon of potato starch every night. I really think it is making a difference in terms of getting a good night’s sleep! It’s supposed to be very high in resistant starch, it’s just a bland white powder that can be added to any liquid, and it couldn’t be easier.
    I have a filter on my water faucet and when I taste unfiltered water now, I really taste the chlorine.

  • posted by Luvtcook
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    Marianne, very interesting. Do you just add it to water or mix it into something else?

  • posted by MarianneA
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    LTC,
    The potato starch is a fine, bland powder which I can add to anything. If I’m drinking tea or juice, I’ll add to that, but adding to water is fine. You need to keep stirring because it settles to the bottom of the cup quickly. Cheap, easy, and extremely healthy!

    For those of you who maje your own milk kefir, do you do a second fermintation? I started doing this 2 nights ago and I’m excited about it. I noticed an immediate improvement is digestive issues: bloating, etc. Also, oddly, I didn’t feel hunger cravings today until the afternoon.
    I started this based on the recommendation of someone who also noticed an immediate improvement. So, after I strained out the grains, I added a small amount of fruits (dried & fresh) and some fennel seeds. Left it at room temperature for a day and a half. It looked strange & bubbly but I stirred it and consumed.
    I should add, I drank it today. Last night I took out the fresh fruit (an apple wedge, cut up) out of thebubbliness and ate that. Very tart. But the improvement I noticed was based on that.
    So–I’m in NY, but next week I crossing the pond & will travel in France & Italy. Toying with the idea of bringing grains & culturing some kefir on the road, and very encouraged by discussions in this thread!

    MarianneA

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi MarianneA, haven’t tried a second ferment in this way, but I always put a few grains in my strained kefir before storing. This extends the fermentation, giving a bubbly slightly fizzy end result which I prefer to the standard kefir.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Hi MarianneA, haven’t tried a second ferment in this way, but I always put a few grains in my strained kefir before storing. This extends the fermentation, giving a bubbly slightly fizzy end result which I prefer to the standard kefir.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Just thought I’d pop in here to say, that on returning home from our four months away, I find that the kefir grains I left in plenty of milk in the bottom of the fridge, have survived just fine. Have to say I am somewhat surprised, as the longest I have left grains in this way before, was 3mths. The grains I took with me, I left with Turkish friends, who are hopefully benefiting from them. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to enjoying kefir again from my surviving grains.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Calling all would be kefir producers! Somehow I seem to have accumulated quite a large batch of kefir grains, so if there is anyone UK based who would like some so that they can start culturing for themselves, please text me on 07768 206353 with a postal address and I’ll get some to you.

    Going to kraut some red cabbage, which I’m going to set up tomorrow. It’s a while since I did any fermentation other than kefir, so quite excited about it.

    How is everyone else doing with fermentation these days?

  • posted by Verano
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    I have never had kefir. Is it really sour? I know it’s good for you but I hate that really sour taste of some yogurts.

  • posted by MarianneA
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    Hi SunnyB! Good to see you. I am regulary culturing milk kefir, which I find easy and foolproof once you get the routine going. I now also culture water kefir grains, which is more maintenance but very enjoyable and delicious. You can flavor it and I love it.

    I regulary give away mk grains. I found a group on facebook and I ship grains to them and they reimburse me through paypal.
    If you use facebook, look for the group called Kefir Grains, Scoby and Others. Therein you’ll find a Europe Milk Kefir Request Thread – Shipping.

    Verano, I do find my milk kefir very tart. Like tasting lemon juice. I add fruit and stevia which helps. The higher the fat in the milk, the last tart the flavor; problem is, I often use skim milk.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Thanks Marianne – I confess I’m a bit of a ludite and don’t use facebook or twitter etc.
    With regard to sourness Verano, the sourness is affected by how long you culture, what you are feeding the grains on and whether you ferment in a closed jar or aerated jar. I use whole milk and add a tablespoon of double cream and only culture for approx. 18hrs. The result is not overly sour, although it definitely has a tang, but then I usually culture with a glosed jar, rather than on covered with a cloth to allow the gases to escape.
    As Marianne says, you can add things to flavour and lessen the sourness too. Could be worth giving it a whirl.

  • posted by Verano
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    Thanks SunnyB. I have a really odd palate. I love the sourness of lemon or lime and an quite happy to suck a slice! I don’t like the tangy sourness of yogurt! Guess that I wouldn’t like kefir and to be honest it’s going to take a bit more than kefir to get me into a new regime!

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