24 Hour Dairy Kefir
24-hour Dairy kefir is one of the easiest, and most beneficial, fermented foods available. Steeped in legends about its origins, it has been around for thousands of years, making its way from the Eastern European Caucasus Mountains to Russian doctors, and eventually spreading throughout the world.
What is kefir?
Essentially kefir is a cultured, or fermented, milk beverage. Liquid milk is mixed with the kefir “grains,” which resemble jelly-like cauliflower heads, and allowed to ferment at room temperature for 24+ hours. The kefir “grains” are really a polysaccharide-protein matrix of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that form a symbiotic culture. The end result is a thickened milk beverage that is loaded with probiotics and health benefits.
Health benefits of 24 Hour Dairy Kefir
- Beneficial for building a healthy bone structure with nutrients like Vitamin K2 and absorbable calcium
- Loaded with nutrients that boost the immune system
- Can reverse or reduce lactose intolerance
- Helps digestion to run smoothly (can help to firm up the stool in the case of diarrhea)
- Good for the skin, from both internal and with external use (i.e. a kefir honey mask for the skin)
- Helpful for repopulating the genital area with beneficial microbes in preparation for childbirth
- May be protective against cancer with anti-carcinogenic activity and the ability to shrink tumors
- Helpful for the underlying inflammation of allergy and asthma
What are some of the nutrients of kefir?
A good amount of research has been done on kefir to date. Not only does it have the nutrition of milk, but the nutrients are increased and more bioavailable for the body to use because of the beneficial microbes that are introduced. It is optimal and best to use fresh, raw milk from grass-fed cows, but even pasteurized and homogenized milk can be enhanced by fermentation with kefir grains. Benefits include:
- A source of Vitamin K2
- A source of many B vitamins & other vitamins
- A good balance of absorbable protein, fat, & carbohydrates
- High in Vitamin D
- High in bioavailable calcium
- Includes beneficial yeasts that counteract harmful yeasts in the body
Each kefir source is slightly unique in its bacterial and yeast strains, but here is a list of what can be found in the kefir matrix. [Source]
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri]
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
St. paracitrovorus ^
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Leuc. dextranicum ^
Dekkera anomala t/ Brettanomyces anomalus a
Kluyveromyces marxianus t/ Candida kefyr a#
Pichia fermentans t/ C. firmetaria a
Yarrowia lipolytica t/ C. lipolytica a
Debaryomyces hansenii t/ C. famata a#
Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
Issatchenkia orientalis t/ C. krusei a
Galactomyces geotrichum t/ Geotrichum candidum a
Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis #
Saccharomyces cerevisiae #
Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
Torulaspora delbrueckii t
* Zygosaccharomyces rouxii
My method for making kefir
This is my simple method for making dairy kefir, a probiotic milk beverage with many health benefits.
- 1–2 Tbls kefir grains (this is my favorite source)
- 1 quart raw, grass-fed milk
- Place kefir grains in a clean, wide-mouth quart-sized glass jar
- Pour milk over top and cover jar with plastic lid.
- Allow to culture for 24 hours or more, until you can see that milk has thickened and there are bubbles that have made “tracks” up the sides of the glass.
- Strain out kefir grains in a plastic colander over a large bowl.
- Store finished kefir in the fridge until consuming as a drink, in smoothies, or in other recipes.
- Repeat steps 1-4 with the kefir grains.
There are multiple options for purchasing good quality kefir grains. My favorite source is Fusion Teas, but you can also purchase from Cultures for Health, Yemoos, or swap with others who are willing to share in this Facebook group.
Keywords: kefir, dairy kefir, fermented foods
Some more pictures of my process of making kefir