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Traditional Milk Kefir: Recipe

This traditional form of milk kefir contains two ingredients …. milk and starter. Straight up, simple stuff. I was first introduced to kefir made this way when I did The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D) to heal a chronic case of yeast overgrowth. This is the kefir that reduced my cravings, cleared my acne, and took away my endless bloating.

My husband, who hails from Czech Republic, says he drank milk kefir growing up and this traditional food is still the rage in Europe; along with cultured butter and creme fraiche.

Why kefir is kefir.

When milk is kefired, it gets transformed by the probiotics in the starter; as they bust apart the milk protein (casein) and consume the milk sugar (lactose). This makes the milk easier-to-digest for us humans, especially those who are lactose intolerant. Kefir contains enzymes that makes milk kefir a pre-digested food; rich in probiotics. Traditional milk kefir also keeps the gut environment in the correct pH state.

The recipe below is not made with ‘grains’ but with strains of flora that are desirable for those who are healing yeast overgrowth (i.e. Candida) or a bacterial infection (i.e. GBS+). This is not a wild ferment like other milk kefir that you might find on the store shelf or like kombucha.

The flora found in the starter coat the gut in a way that creates the perfect living nest for them to live and colonize in. This is a good thing because the more good flora that you have living in your gut, then the less bad flora (yeast, bacteria, viruses) you will have living in there as the good flora will kill them off, a.k.a. ‘die-off’. This is how milk kefir and other probiotic food help you heal infections like yeast overgrowth while on The Body Ecology Diet.

Here are some tips and tricks for making milk kefir.

Easy to make.

It’s not every day that my husband will pose for me, so I grab these moments when I can! Milk kefir is easy to make …. just go slow once you begin to drink it (especially if you have dairy sensitivities) because the strains of probiotics in this kefir are potent and can activate much new movement throughout your entire digestive system.

For this reason, it is often best to introduce milk kefir, and other unsalted cultured food, by the spoonful. If you have a chronic digestive issue, then you might want to avoid dairy, cultured or not, altogether until your gut is ‘healed n sealed’ or until you can easily digest food without discomfort.

Traditional Milk Kefir: Recipe

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly clean a Mason glass jar with a airtight fitting lid.
  1. Gently heat 1-quart of milk until it reaches skin temperature (about 92 F).
  1. Add in a packet of kefir starter*, whisk it a bit, and put a lid on the jar.
  1. Let sit at 72-75 F for 18-24 hrs. until slightly thick, with a pleasant sour aroma and taste.
  1. Once it’s thick, shake well, and put in the refrigerator.

*I use Body Ecology’s starter. It contains potent strains of probiotics that can’t be destroyed by antibiotics, fluoride, stomach acid, chlorinated water, etc. before they reach the gut. Unlike most probiotics on the market, these flora strains remain intact as they travel through the intestines and make home to keep you balanced.

Transfer Instructions

  • Don’t drink ALL of this initial batch you’ll want to begin another batch. This is called a “transfer” and is best done within 3 days of making 1st batch. That way things will be fresh and there’s less risk of your husband drinking it all before you make more 🙂 
  • Here’s how you do it…if you want to make another quart of milk kefir, then save 6 Tbsp. of your initial batch and add that to warm milk. It is best not to add more than the recommended amounts or you may get a sour kefir and need to start over.
  • You can repeat this transfer up to 7 times before you need to make a new batch with a new starter packet.

So, if you want…

1 quart of fresh kefir = add in 6 Tbsp. of your previous batch into this amount of fresh milk
1/2 gallon = 2/3 c. of previous batch ” ”
1 gallon = 1 c. of previous batch ” ”

And on you go. I find that kefir has a hard time catching after I go past about 10 transfers. You will learn as you go by smell and taste. My experience is that the better care I take of my initial batches (#1 and #2) then the more I can milk them. No pun intended!

Hemp Milk Kefir

Young Green Coconut Kefir

Nutritional Consultations with Tara, NC.

Resources

http://bodyecology.com/kefirinstructions.php

Campbell-McBride, N. MD. (2011). Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Soham, Cambridge; Medinform Publishing.

Gates, D. (2010). The Body Ecology Diet.  Bogart, GA: B.E.D. Publications

May all bellies be happy!

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