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Chocolate Spice Kefir, How I Make Kefir and What is a Second Ferment?

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I haven’t done a specific post of kefir yet mostly because there are so many out there, mine would be just one of many, but I thought I would show you my process for making kefir.  Kefir is my favorite ferment mostly because it is the easiest.  I do like my other counter top yogurts but kefir is even simpler.  There is no need to keep a mother culture  with pasteurized milk.  I can just toss my grains in milk fresh from the fridge.  No worries about my kids eating the mother culture either.  I did accidentally blenderize and eat a batch of kefir grains once when I forgot to strain them out but luckily I had some spare grains.  And beside the ease of kefir, it’s is more biodiverse than any other ferment that I know of.  Here is a list from Culture for Health that shows a list of what is normally found in kefir (it can vary from one person to another):  Compostition of Milk Kefir Grains

Directions to Make Kefir

To make kefir, I simply drop about 2-4 tbsp worth of kefir grains (just guess) in a quart of fresh milk.  Set at room temp for about 24 hours or until the kefir pulls away from the side of the jar when you tip it.  I usually give the jar a gentle shake occasionally.   If I don’t my grains seem to take longer to culture all the milk.  If you see your kefir has started to separate, don’t panic, stay calm, it’s perfectly fine.  It freaked me out the first time it happened to me and I thought the kefir was bad.  It’s not.  It just does that. Please don’t throw it out thinking it’s gone bad.  I usually make mine in a wide mouth mason jar and use a stick blender to mix it all back together and make it smooth again (after you remove the grains!).  I don’t like chunky kefir.  If it separates again in the fridge, just give the jar a good shake.

 

Kefir
Using a strainer like this strainer from Cultures for Health, gently pour the kefir in the strainer and tap it on the edge of your bowl (or large measuring cup like I use).  I put the grains straight into a new jar to start a new batch right away.   Once all the grains are separated from the kefir, I pour the kefir back in the jar and get them ready for a second ferment (see below).

If you don’t want to use your kefir grains on a continual basis or need a break, you can put them in enough fresh milk to cover and set in the fridge for up to a week.  If you need longer than a week, you can put them in the freezer for a few months.

Second Fermentation

In many of my posts, you’ll hear me talk about a second ferment frequently. I do a second fermentation on beverages like kombucha, dairy and water kefir, and kvass.  The first fermentation is when you first inoculate the milk or sugar water with the culture.  The second fermentation happens after the first.  There are a few reasons that I do this.  The first is for flavor.  Many cultures like kombucha and kefir might be damaged by the addition of certain flavorings.  I don’t add any flavor to the first ferment just to avoid damaging the SCOBY’s.  Some flavorings are fine for certain cultures but I would rather be safe than sorry (like many add ginger and/or lemon to the first ferment of water kefir).

And regardless of the flavoring added, second fermenting kefir just tastes better to many.  It’s less sour and more pleasant tasting to me at least.  I actually didn’t care for kefir and would just choke it down because I knew it was good for me but now I enjoy it and drink it because I want to.

Also during the second ferment you can fix flavors.  If your beet kvass tastes too much like dirt (words heard from my husband), you can add juice like orange juice or apple juice and let set for another 8 hrs to improve the flavor.

The other reason to do it is for even more nutrition.  The second ferment increases the B vitamins even more.  Think of it as a B vitamin boost.

During the second fermentation, dairy kefir tends to separate even more.  Remember, this is fine. The kefir is still good.


Chocolate kefir
See the bubbles?  This was blended 6 hours earlier.  The bubbles are from the ferment!  Soda milk anyone?
Chocolate Spice Kefir

  • 3 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 quart kefir
  • sweetener to taste (stevia, honey, rapadura)
Gently whisk cacao powder into the kefir and add spices.  Return to the mason jar and let set another 8-12 hours.  Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and blend kefir to make it smooth.  Add sweetener to taste.

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