It probably goes without saying that I am interested in sustainable food ways. I like nourishing food that we can make over and over again from simple ingredients. I like making things myself and believe that homemade anything is better than store-bought everything. I like to reduce waste in my kitchen and in my landfill. So you might think that something like a powdered kefir culture wouldn’t make it into my kitchen on a regular basis, at least not when milk kefir grains are available. Right now I actually have both milk kefir grains and powdered milk kefir culture creating quarts and quarts of probiotic goodness. I’ll get to the reasons I’m a fan of this powdered kefir culture in a minute, but first let me tell you something else that I recently figured out. I’m sure I’m the last person to have thought of this, but just in case I’m not, here’s how I am making way more milk kefir than I initially thought I could get out of a single packet of kefir starter. Generally speaking, powdered kefir culture is cultured and then used as the culture to make subsequent batches. Eventually the culture goes weak or something infiltrates it and you are no longer culturing kefir. You’ll notice a change in consistency or smell and then you open up a new packet and start over. In this way, assuming you end up making four quarts from a kefir culture packet, you would get maybe four gallons of kefir from an entire package, assuming it comes with four packets (a rough average). This is actually a significant amount of kefir and well worth the price, when you consider what you might pay at the store for sub-par kefir. This might actually be plenty of kefir for you, so you wouldn’t even consider making more. If you have a larger family, or just drink a ton of kefir – both of which are realities in our home – then you may want to try to make even more kefir at a time. I sure did. In order to make more kefir from a single culturing I simply take two quarts of fresh goat milk and add the recommended amount of kefir to each quart. So on the second culturing I am getting a half-gallon (or more!) of kefir. You could actually do even more than this, but I find that keeping the quarts separate helps. So you could realistically get a gallon of kefir for each subsequent culturing. Going with the analogy above, we would then get 16 gallons of kefir from a single package of starter, which is four times what I initially assumed I could make! The main issue is then either consuming the kefir in time or having enough storage space in your refrigerator to store as much kefir as possible. One final tip that I have found helpful is that the powdered kefir cultures I have worked with seem to give you more subsequent culturings when the kefir is used immediately to make the next batch. So, as soon as a batch is done culturing and is tangy and thick, I plop that into 2-4 new quarts of milk for my next culturing. Somehow the lack of refrigeration and time spent since the initial culturing seems to result in a stronger culture. I should also mention that the reason that I really like the powdered kefir culture is that it is really simple to use, especially in times of stress or flux. With a new baby entering our home soon, I am glad to have something on hand that is simple enough to use – with no possible “killing” of the mother culture – which will provide for some deep nourishment during an intense and blessed time of transition for our family.
More from the Cultures for Health Blog
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