Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir

If you're a regular reader at my blog, I'm sure you've wondered where I've been off to since this weekend. I hate to say it, but we're still very ill in this household. We found mold and had sprayed for it, but the kids have a nasty bacterial virus they'd picked up and spread to us, and my husband spent yesterday at the doctor's office being told he's going to be home with us for another week resting adn recuperating. Oy.
So, without further ado,  I'd like to talk about Milk Kefir with you.

What is Milk Kefir?

 The term kefir' is of Turkish origin, from köpürköpük (foam)...
Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and this symbiotic matrix forms "grains" that resemble cauliflower. For this reason, a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains.
Kefir grains contain a water-soluble polysaccharide known as kefiran, which imparts a rope-like texture and feeling in the mouth; it ranges in color from white to yellow, and may grow to the size of walnuts.
Wikipedia: Kefir

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Particularly calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also has an abundance of calcium and magnesium, also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves.
Seeds of Health: Fermenting Milk Kefir
 The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity. Kefir.net See also Nourished Kitchen: Milk Kefir

Shortly after I had purchased my first batch of tibicos and my Kombucha SCOBY from Wellness-Drinks.de, I heard about milk kefir. I've been battling some issues revolving around malabsorption issues that tend to accompany Celiac disease, and I have a very difficult time getting enough B vitamins.  I could eat all my vitamins plus supplement all the day long, and still not get enough with as damaged as my gut is. Milk Kefir, Tibicos and Kombucha to the rescue!!

Actually, I was thinking something more like "What the heck, it couldn't hurt, right? I'm already headed towards iron infusions!" - which is where I ended up for a good three months. Right now my numbers are ok, but I am continuing towards good health with the help of my little fermenting friends.

One thing that I have found is that Milk Kefir is way out there in the realm of awesome when it comes to baking gluten free baked goods. I haven't tried it with any Paleo or GAPS recipes yet, but I have had great success using it with variations of Bette Hagman's Featherlight Flour mix to make Mrsppmrxky's Featherlight biscuits.

Mrsppmrxky is my mom. If there is one thing she has encouraged since I've moved overseas, is to play around with her recipes and get back to her about changes I've made. I'm still trying to sell her on milk kefir. 

That's OK though. I'm loving it. So far, I've made sour cream, and thick yogurt with it. I've not ventured into any lacto-fermenting, mostly as I have no room in my kitchen, or anywhere else for me to allow that to take place, and I'm terribly worried it'd get knocked over and the mess would be everywhere, or, G-d forbid, it'd end up in a horrible moldy mess.

Without further ado, I'll share a few more sites about Kefir, and let you investigate this wonderful SCOBY and see if it is something that you would like to add into your life.

Milk Kefir when it's finished brewing

Kefir Grains.info
Whole Traditions: Milk Kefir Instructions
Healthy Eating Site: Milk Kefir
Kombucha Floats Made With Kefir Ice Cream
Milk Kefir Yogurt
DIY – Butter, Yogurt, Kefir, Oh My!

Yemoos Milk Kefir Recipes
Nourish Kefir
Health Food Lover: 80+ ways & recipes to use Milk Kefir
I have not yet tried this recipe: Gluten Free Sourdough starter using Milk Kefir

I really like this video by Sloane Miller, who you might know as the "Allergic Girl".

One of these days I am so trying those recipes.

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