Reducing the Lactose Content of Kefir
If you are lactose intolerant or prefer to keep lactose consumption to a minimum, it is possible to further reduce the lactose content of milk kefir to fit your needs.
Lactose in Kefir
All cultures (kefir grains, kombucha scobys, etc.) consume sugars in order to produce the acids and favorable microorganisms found in the cultured foods that we love.
The lactose found in milk is the primary food supply for dairy cultures. The cultures feast on the lactose and convert it into the tangy lactic acid we find in milk kefir or yogurt. Because the lactose is consumed in the fermenting process, any cultured dairy product is lower in lactose than the milk before culturing.
What Affects the Lactose Content of Milk Kefir
By manipulating these factors you can control the lactose content of your kefir to some degree.
Milk Kefir Culturing Time
When milk is cultured into milk kefir, the culture consumes the lactose. The more time the milk kefir is given to culture, the more lactose is consumes and the more acids are produces. One of the best indications of how much lactose remains is the amount of acids in the end product. More acids present equate to a tangier milk kefir.
Maturing Kefir Once it is Cultured
Once the milk kefir has cultured for 24 hours, there is another step to take, which ensures that the lactose content is as low as possible. This step is called maturing or ripening.
The Maturing Process
If you are highly sensitive to lactose, use caution and be sure to consult your healthcare professional.