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RUNNERJUDY's Photo RUNNERJUDY SparkPoints: (40,754)
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3/20/13 12:12 A

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That clear liquid is "whey" and some folks use it when they ferment veggies. As far as separated milk kefir, it is perfectly acceptable to stir the whey back in and strain off your grains. I have a fairly decent sized strainer that I put over my 8-cup measuring cup, pour the MK in and tap the basket on the side of the cup until only the grains remain. You can use the kefir as is, give it a second ferment to mellow it out, or as you suggested, again let the solids separate thru a muslin bag to form cheese.

I will try to check back here more often to see how you are doing!

Judy, New Jersey
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GARDENSTAR's Photo GARDENSTAR SparkPoints: (10,949)
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3/8/13 6:46 P

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Thanks for the kind reply. My kefir grains have clearly multiplied: I am about to take them out of hibernation, and I gave a few tablespoons away last week. I think I will try the kefir cheese idea. It seems the grains are quite relisilient. One of my recent batches separated so much that when I poured it over the strainer, the liquid that came through was almost clear and the stuff on top resembled cottage cheese anyway.

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ANTHEAMS's Photo ANTHEAMS Posts: 580
3/8/13 2:46 P

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Coming in rather late in the day and by now you have probably got into a good routine with your kefir. I remember being very nervous at the start but now it all goes smoothly and every fortnight or so I split the grains into two lots: one goes into a small jar just covered in milk with a double layer of kitchen paper over the top so it can breathe as a, "just in case there's a disaster" back-up, and into the fridge ; the other half is the one I use. Each morning it looks separated out with the grains and thick kefir at the top and whey at the bottom. I give it a good stir before straining it into my cereal bowl. There is always too much for me but the two dogs and two cats are queuing up so by the time they have had a couple of tablespoons each,I have just enough for cereal. The grains go back into my jar, a pint of milk added, the double muslin cover put on and it does its thing until the next morning on my countertop. If I decide to have something else for breakfast, I put it into the fridge to slow down and it can stay there for three or four days with no problem. If it gets too tangy I use the result to make a good kefir cheese with herbs. There are some pics of this in the team photos.

Do let us know how you are getting on.
Anthea



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PAULDODO's Photo PAULDODO Posts: 1,000
1/16/13 2:12 P

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Well done- you're on your way! The grains are VERY resilient, so no worries about giving them a squeeze to loosen the kefiran deposits. It'll take them a week to acclimatise to your milk, the kitchen, your routine.... so don't worry about the taste and texture straight away- It'll come. :)

Paul

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1/15/13 7:01 P

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Thank you for your replies. Since this a new area for me, I have lots of questions. I didn't leave the culture under the light for long. I am a little uncertain about when it is actually "done". I think 24 hours was not enough time for the first batch, it had only a faint keifer taste. I used less milk for batch number 2, and a thick yogurt like mass formed around the grains near the top, but the rest was pretty much like cream in consistency. The yogurt like stuff didn't want to pass through my filter, so much of it ended up in batch number 3. I also am concerned about accidentally destroying the grains with rough handling. Batch number 3, I gave a little stir. I hope that is alright. I started out with about a tablespoon of grains, and am glad that they seem to have survived almost a week in the mail.

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PAULDODO's Photo PAULDODO Posts: 1,000
1/14/13 12:00 P

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I agree- the light probably isn't necessary- my kefir will continue to ferment, even in the fridge, although it takes much longer, obviously....

Another tip is to make sure the lid is only on very loosely, as the CO2 created needs to vent.

Lovely to meet you, btw, Judy- you sound like you have a wealth of experience to share. :)

Paul

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RUNNERJUDY's Photo RUNNERJUDY SparkPoints: (40,754)
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1/14/13 1:27 A

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Hi...I'm new to these boards but not new to fermentation. I agree that the plant light is not necessary for your kefir to be happy. My thermostat is set at 68 during the day & 65 at night and I still have a 24 hour turnaround for milk kefir. Enjoy!

Judy, New Jersey
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ANTHEAMS's Photo ANTHEAMS Posts: 580
1/12/13 1:00 P

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Good luck and do let us know how it goes. I never put my kefir in a particularly warm place, just on the counter top in the kitchen - and it is usually ready in 24 hours. In fact after that it gets very sharp.

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GARDENSTAR's Photo GARDENSTAR SparkPoints: (10,949)
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1/12/13 11:44 A

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The kefir grains arrived in the mail yesterday, smelling like yeast. It was supposed to be a tablespoon of grains, but it looked like a bit more than that. I strained them out and put them in a canning jar with a cup and a half of organic milk, on a shelf under a plant light. I think I will have kefir when the milk shows signs of thickening and smells more like yogurt, am I correct?

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GARDENSTAR's Photo GARDENSTAR SparkPoints: (10,949)
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1/6/13 5:24 P

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I ordered Kefir grains recently, they should be arriving this coming week. I am leaving homemade sauerkraut alone for a while. I keep my house thermostat about 68 degrees (Fahrenheit) but it somehow feels colder, so I may try putting the kefir culture under the plant lights or something to encourage it. I will be looking through old threads, thank you PAULDODO for your kind reply.

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PAULDODO's Photo PAULDODO Posts: 1,000
1/2/13 5:38 A

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And Welcome!
Kefir is a very good way to start your fermenting journey, as long as you're not overly sensitive to milk products. Personally, I have only sampled Kimchi and had a similar response to you and Kraut! Rest assured, home made fermented produce tastes so much better than shop bought versions, with the added benefits of knowing you made it. The ability to tailor it to your own requirements and tastes is also a great advantage.

If you're brand new to fermenting, the only caution I would give is to take it easy- one or two of our members have experienced unsettling changes as their bodies adjusted to the new regime, and it can make you think that it's not doing you good, but, if you think about it, you're introducing a whole raft of new microbes and bacterias and yeasts into a digestive system that's probably had its own way for many years!

Anyhoo, please take time to read the threads on the team pages- we've covered a lot of topics to some depth, but please feel free to shout if you can't find the info you need.

Oh, and keep us up to speed with your progress!

Paul

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GARDENSTAR's Photo GARDENSTAR SparkPoints: (10,949)
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1/1/13 6:38 P

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After reading about the GAPS diet, I am convinced that my intestinal flora must be seriously out of line so I am interested in cutting backing on gluten and sugar and trying some fermented foods. I don't think I am ready for the full GAPS diet, though.
I just tried some commercial kimchee, it was very tasty and had no resemblance to sauerkraut, which for me is a good thing. I am willing to try and see if my home made fermented vegetables would taste any better than the store bought kraut that literally made me gag when I was a child. I tried kefir, decided I could deal with that, and am going to order some kefir grains after my husband's nephew raved about its health giving properties.

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