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Kefir

Kefir introduction

Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage, which originated many centuries ago, in the Northern Caucasus Mountains. Kefir has a uniform creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma resembling fresh yeast. There are an assortment of approx. 40 aromatic compounds, which contribute to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir.

Traditional authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Kefir grains are not to be mistaken for cereal grains this is to say that the grain part of the name is a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granules if you wish, are in fact a natural-starter or natural-mother-culture. The grain's bio-structure is created through the efforts of a symbiotic relationship, shared between a vast mixture of specific friendly Lactic acid bacteria [LAB] and yeasts. The grains are a soft, gelatinous white biological mass, comprised of protein, lipids [fats] and a soluble-polysaccharide Kefiran complex. The microbes and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, they are harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding either on the surface or encapsulated within the bio-matrix itself.

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Kefir = probiotic

Kefir Caucasicum, is a combination of Kefir grain, which is among the world's first known grains, and a type of yogurt culture derived from Kefir. The end result is a complex, symbiotic mixture of the micro-organisms that indigenous peoples of mid-Eastern countries have been consuming for many centuries. It naturally contains 4 genera and 11 species of probiotic, or friendly, bacteria. It is then freeze-dried at low temperatures, and 2 probiotic growth accelerants are added, recognized as superb. The end result is a complete, alcohol and yeast-free, Kefir complex in every capsule.

The yogurt which most Americans eat is quite basic. The yogurt manufacturers usually add 2 species of friendly bacteria to milk, along with flavorings, sugar, and small amounts of overcooked fruit. It is then bottled in various shapes of containers, and then allowed to ferment in incubators. This is more of a dessert than anything else. Even the plain yogurt, while a good calcium-rich food, is no match for the actual probiotics, or friendly bacteria, contained in the Kefir Caucasicum. However, there is a use in a healthful diet for both the plain, calcium-rich yogurt, and the Kefir Caucasicum.

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How to make kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk product. It can be made from different kind of milk, from sheep, goat or cow's milk. It only needs milk and kefir grains. Through fermenting of Kefir drink, different natural aromatic substances are produced and also CO2. Kefir is rich with vitamins of B group, and contains E vitamin too. It is helping with circulation, decreasing cholesterol and keep healthy intestinal microflora. For people who are on macrobiotic diet, Kefir grains also can be used with water instead of milk. Just it is needed little more time that grains pass from milk grains to kefir crystals. When putting grains into water, you should add little sugar and little lemon juice. 

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Kefir grains

While yogurt can readily be made from the lactic acid bacteria present in fresh yogurt, kefir can only be made from kefir grains and mother cultures prepared from grains. The grains contain a relatively stable and specific balance of microorganisms which exist in a complex symbiotic relationship. Kefir grains are clusters of microorganisms held together by a matrix of polysaccharides. The grains include primarily lactic acid bacteria (lactobacilli, lactococci, leuconostocs) and yeasts, and include acetic acid bacteria and possibly other microorganisms. The overall organization of microorganisms of grains is not completely elucidated. More than a thousand years of consumption have demonstrated that the microorganisms in kefir are not pathogenic. Even further, milk inoculated with grains can suppress the growth of some pathogens such as Salmonella or Shigella. 

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Complete removal of Lactose from the Kefir

I find a good way to eliminate lactose even further is to ferment the kefir per usual (24 hours), strain, then keep the strained kefir in a bottle (at room temperature) for a further 2 -3 days before consuming (ongoing fermentation). I don't keep my strained kefir in the fridge any more, but keep it like this in a cupboard. The kefir is still good even after 6-7 days. One must give the bottle which the kefir is continuously fermenting in, a shake at least once daily. This is so that the microbes (mainly the yeasts) are mixed in well. Other wise one may find a film or colonies of yeast or the acetic acid forming bacteria on top of the kefir. This is safe, but some lactose digesting yeasts may be flourishing mainly in this top layer, shaking will help to distribute them into the kefir, where you want them to do their work (breaking down lactose).
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