The Amazing Number of Kefir Dairy Products
Kefir tends to be a polarizing cultured food item. Some have a hard time getting used to its tangy, effervescent flavor. But once they do they fall for it hard and swear by it for the good feeling it imparts to the body.
For those who love kefir there is more good news. Kefir grains can be used in any number of dairy products. So not only can you drink your kefir and enjoy the flavor and benefits, but you can also make it into all varieties of nourishing dairy products.
Kefir Sour Cream
Who doesn’t love tangy sour cream in a taco or mixed into a salad dressing? Its creamy richness is unmistakable. It can also be super easy to make if you choose to make kefir sour cream.
To make: Simply replace the milk you normally use to make kefir with heavy cream. Allow to culture a bit longer (due to the higher fat content) until thick and creamy. If it separates out a bit towards the end of culturing feel free to stir it together. Fishing the kefir grains out may be the most difficult part of the process, so you may have to use a wooden spoon or your (clean!) hands.
Kefir Cream Cheese
Kefir cheese is most often made by simply straining milk kefir of its whey. In the case of kefir cream cheese you simply strain the kefir sour cream above.
To make: Line a sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Place kefir sour cream in a lined sieve over a bowl and allow draining until desired thickness. Use kefir cream cheese anywhere you would use regular cream cheese: in desserts, dips, or spread on toast. Save the whey for culturing various vegetables.
If you are looking for an easy method for making a cultured butter look no further. Impart the health benefits of kefir into your butter for a tangy, rich cultured butter.
To make: Make butter as you would with fresh cream, replacing the cream with kefir sour cream (recipe above). Using either an electric mixer or a hand-crank butter churn beat the sour cream until the butterfat begins separating out from the protein (buttermilk). Once this happens, dump off the buttermilk, rinse the butter solids with cold water, and beat more of the buttermilk out. Once the water runs clear during the butter-washing process you can salt it and store it for use.
Soft Kefir Cheese
A soft kefir cheese, similar in texture to a cream cheese or a chèvre, is extraordinarily easy to make. It’s also very versatile and can be used in savory or sweet spreads for vegetables, crackers, or breads or in vegetable dips or salads.
To make: Line a strainer with cheese cloth, a clean towel, or a coffee filter. Pour four cups (a little at a time if your strainer/coffee filter is smaller) into a lined strainer placed over a bowl. Allow to strain for up to 12 hours, depending on how thick and dry you prefer it. When done you can mix in herbs, garlic, and salt for a delicious cracker spread or mix in some fruit and honey to top your morning toast or pancakes. Save the whey in a separate container to use as a starter culture for fermented vegetables as well.
Hard Kefir Cheese
This cheese is a lovely crumbly, grateable hard cheese made from kefir. What is nice about this cheese is that there is simply no need for any additional ingredients like rennet or a cheese starter culture. You simply make the soft kefir cheese, as stated above, and continue the process by pressing out even more of the whey.
To make: Pour milk kefir into cheesecloth, cotton bag or tight-weave towel. Hang above a bowl or jar and allow the whey to drain off for 12 to 24 hours. Once the kefir has stopped dripping, wrap the cheese in the cheesecloth or towel and place it in a colander. Set a plate on top of the cheese and weigh the cheese down using canned foods or something similarly heavy. Start with a minimal amount of weight and continue to increase the weight every few hours until the dripping stops.
Use in salads or grated over your favorite dish.
What is wonderful about these amazing kefir products is that you only need one set of kefir grains to create all of these. If you take care of them properly, these grains can be a one-time purchase for a lifetime of delicious kefir dairy products.