This traditional form of milk kefir has 2 ingredients …. milk and starter, that’s it. Straight up, simple stuff. I was introduced to kefir while on The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D) to heal chronic yeast overgrowth. This kefir reduced my cravings, cleared my acne, and took away my endless stomach bloating.
My husband, who hails from Czech Republic, says he drank milk kefir growing up and that this traditional food is still all the rage in Europe; along with cultured butter and creme fraiche.
Why kefir is kefir.
When milk is kefired, the probiotics living in the starter wake up and start busting apart the milk protein (casein) and consuming the milk sugar (lactose); both of which makes milk easier-to-digest for us humans, especially those who are lactose intolerant. Kefir contains enzymes …. putting milk kefir in the category of a pre-digested food that is rich in probiotics. Traditional milk kefir keeps the gut environment in the correct pH state.
The recipe below is not made with ‘grains’ but with strains of flora desirable for those healing yeast overgrowth (i.e. Candida), bacterial infections (i.e. GBS+), or a viral condition (i.e. Coronavirus). This is not a wild ferment like other milk kefir (or kombucha) sold at the market.
The flora/probiotics in the starter coat the gut to create a perfect nest for them to live and colonize in. This is good, because the more good flora living in your gut, means less bad flora (yeast, bacteria, viruses) will be allowed to live in there. This is because the good flora kill them off, a.k.a. ‘die-off’ and keep them in balance. This is how milk kefir (+ other probiotic food) can help you; especially if you pair this helpful food with The Body Ecology Diet.
Here are tips and tricks for making milk kefir.
Easy to make.
Milk kefir is easy to make. Just go slow once you begin to drink it (especially if you have dairy sensitivities) as the strains of probiotics in this kefir are potent and activate new movement throughout your entire digestive system. For this reason, introduce milk kefir, and other unsalted cultured food, by the spoonful. If you have a chronic digestive issue, you might want to avoid dairy, cultured or not, altogether until your gut ‘heals n seals’ or until you digest food without discomfort.
Traditional Milk Kefir: Recipe
- Thoroughly clean a Mason glass jar with an airtight fitting lid.
- Gently heat 1-quart of milk until it reaches skin temperature (about 92 F).
- Add in a packet of kefir starter*, whisk it a bit, and put a lid on the jar.
- Let sit at 72-75 F for 18-24 hrs. until slightly thick, with a pleasant sour aroma and taste.
- 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.
- 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.
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!