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Kefir Kombucha Hybrid

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Kefir is a thick cheesy dairy beverage similar to buttermilk or yogurt, like kombucha made with milk.
This is the easiest way I know to preserve milk without refrigeration.

Mongolian "airag" may be the same thing.
I learned about kefir from Russians. They say "kee-fear", rolling the 'r' just a bit. Both syllables last a bit longer than you'd like and are accented equally.

Kefir will not "breed true" without a "mother". Also called "kefir grains".
That's a distinct colony which looks (and feels) like a little brain floating in the yogurty stuff.
You save and transfer it from batch to batch, like Kombucha.
The mother grows slowly from batch to batch. Kefir with no mother will not generate one.

The mother contains a diverse population of microbes that get along well. They can out-compete the wild organisms and don't need the milk scalded first.
Whereas yogurt needs to be held at certain heat to yogurtize properly, kefir can be brewed at room temperature or even saddlebag temperature.
One of the nice features of Kefir is that if it separates and settles, leaving clear whey, you can stir it up and it won't separate again. Yogurt by contrast will settle again.

My dad got a mother from Russian friends at his Orthodox church.
He's given me mothers a couple of times. Other Russian friends have given me mothers also.
I can't seem to keep them alive.

So there I was stranded with no starter. So I bought some commercial kefir, innoculated a kombucha mother with it, and have been using that to make "kefir" for a year and a half now.
It's a little bit different from purebred kefir, but the mother is much more durable.

If you have a real Kefir mother and want to know how to "operate" it, skip ahead to step 3.
If you only have dried mother grains, find the activation info elsewhere.
 
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mameloche1 month ago

i have a jun scoby which is similar to a kombucha , if a jun/kombucha scoby cross contaminate with milk kefir , what should i look for ? changes in taste , appearances , brew differences ect? i would like to know since im not sure , my jun came in contact with a strainer that was used for kefir ect ? i would not want that and wanna keep those seperated , what to look for ? any infos would be appreciated.

mobilerik6 years ago
Hey Tim! I just started my first batch of "hybrid". I'm wondering... what variations have you tried so far? I couldn't tell if you were using sweetened or unsweetened kefir. It would seem to me that the kombucha mother would enjoy added sugar, so I dumped in a load as if i was making kombucha. I'm also concerned with leaving fatty milk out on the counter, so I chose non-fat milk. I noticed you didn't add any kombucha drink into the mix -- any reason why? (I love the taste of both mixed together.) I'm definitely looking forward to experimenting with this whole concoction! (I wonder what other little animals I can stick in there... )
Duhh mobilerik3 years ago
Please beware of ordering kefir from this link. He is VERY unreliable. He took me to the bank for more than $100. Other people in the Yahoo Kefir groups have also publicly complained. You have been warned. Nonetheless, his website is very helpful, with good information.
cloclo593 years ago
hello.
I own three, kombucha, kefir and water kefir milk. I'm no good if no one died, no one is oral because I have to take me wrong though now I am overwhelmed mother of kombucha.
In my glass jar for water kefir (fruit juice, sugar water or other) I equivalent of a mother who grew kombucha. White skin, flaccid, soft, smooth kombucka a mother but in kefir grains of water.
I did not throw, she's alive but I do not know what to do and what to think?

bonjour.
Je possède les trois, kombucha, kéfir d'eau et kéfir de lait. Je ne suis pas doué, si aucun ne meurent, aucun n'est buvable car je dois mal m'y prendre même si maintenant je suis envahie de mère de kombucha.
Dans mon pot en verre pour le kéfir d'eau (jus de fruit, eau sucré ou autre) j'ai l'équivalent d'une mère kombucha qui s'est développée. La peau blanche, flasque, douce, lisse d'une mère kombucka mais dans des grains de kéfir d'eau.
Je ne l'ai pas jeté, elle est vivante mais je ne sais quoi en faire et quoi en penser ?
dorapurple4 years ago
Can you please help me? I got kombucha for 6 months now and i'm brewing it with Green Tea ,recently i got kefir grains and i love kefir made with them -my question Is-do you think i should drink both things daily ? Could it be that 2.5 dl of each daily Is too much fermented foods in one's diet? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me-i hope you can help me best regards dp
Foaly74 years ago
Okay. Two questions for whoever can answer them. First: How do you pronounce Kombucha? And Second: Where do you find commercial Kombucha & Kefir?
Natural Foods store will carry a variety of Kombucha and Kefir. Check Whole Foods since they have both. Some Trader Joe's stock their own brand of Kefir only. Some big supermarkets will stock the Lifeway brand of Kefir. Just look for them next to the Yogurt Section.
I called it "Gum-Boo-Cha."

Thank you!
wokwithme4 years ago
You don't need to rinse the "real" Kefir Mother. That will slow it's inoculation process. Dom doesn't recommended rinsing unless you suspect the Kefir Grains are contaminated. The new milk  will rinse the Kefir Grains after you swirl it a bit when starting a new batch of Kefir Milk. The old curds from the Kefir Grains will help with building new colonies. If you rinse your Kefir Grains, be sure to use filtered water. That helps get rid of the chlorine. And rinse them gently. If do rinse your Kefir Grain, it's best to pour a little kefir milk in the jar as a starter. It's also a good idea to let the milk get to room temp before drop your grains in, since the cold milk temp will retard the kefir grains inoculation process.
Patrik6 years ago
Wow - nice job! I wouldn't have expected this to work, Since the main bacteria in the kombucha and kefir starters are so different (Acetobacter versus Lactobacillus), not to mention the environment they grow in.

However, both are a complex community of multiple bacterial species and yeasts, supported by some sort of polysaccharide matrix. Inoculating the Kombucha mother in store-bought kefir must have allowed some of the kefi bacteria to colonize and integrate with the better adapted bacteria in the mother - good thinking!

It'd be nice to see if your hybrid mother starts to take on more of the properties of a kefir mother after a few rounds. Alternatively, it may just "collapse" after a while, when the matrix of the mother runs out of some nutrient that the commercial kefir culture doesn't know how to make.

Of course, now I want to know whether you can do this the other way around as well: get some kefir grains, soak them in finished kombucha for a while, and see if you can use them to start a new batch of kombucha.

Hmm... I see on Wikipedia that there is also something called "water kefir", aka tibicos, which grows in sugary liquids. Sounds kinda like making kombucha using kefir grains, except that it seems to ferment much faster.

This is a great piece of applied microbiology - would make for a fun science experiment for schools. Except that you'd probably get sued by ignorant parents the first time little Suzy gets a tummy-ache after drinking a science experiment involving lots of unknown bacteria (and then eating two pounds of chocolate on the way home)...
It's might be possible to use Milk Kefir grains in Kombucha medium. Some people success in using Milk grains in Water Kefir grain solution(Sugar and Water). They say after they convert to the new environment they usually don't do as well in milk anymore. I've done a couple of batches and brought them back to milk. Haven't try my grains over a week on Sugar and Water yet. Definitely worth a try. Maybe I make it my next project after I brew some Coconut Kefir with my grains. I love the taste of Coconut Water Kefir when using Sugar Grains.  I'll probably do a Hybrid Water/Milk Grains in fresh coconut water. They both do okay after a batch or two.
ayc2005 years ago
If I have made enough kefir and want to rest the kombucha mother, how do I store it for later use?
chotii5 years ago
Could I have some troubleshooting help?

I put a piece of kombucha into a sterilized clean jar, poured commercial plain kefir over it, covered it with a clean cloth, and enjoyed that kefir as the flavor and odor changed over the next 3 days.

Then I removed the kombucha and 'rested' it in a tub for a day until I got some plain milk.

I put 1/2 gallon of organic milk over the kombucha (was this too much?) and covered it and have left it now for 3 days at room temperature. It has a faint sour odor, but has not clotted as in the pictures, and is not like kefir OR 'sparkly' like kombucha. I'm not sure it has worked at all. How many days should I wait before I decide this is a complete failure and/or unsafe to consume?
TimAnderson (author)  chotii5 years ago
Try mixing it around a bit. That's what asian nomads do with their milk cultures. Try tasting it and see if it seems like something good and something bad. Was it covered with a cloth (good) or something that sealed it (bad)?
How big was your chunk of kombucha mother? The bigger it is the better it is.
Pull it out and look at it. Probably there's some kefir-yogurty stuff gelling up on it.
It takes some time and experimentation to get this stuff the way you want it.
I stirred it this morning at your suggestion. There was a layer of yogurt-consistency stuff clinging to the underside of the 'mother' (which is about 5" across and 1/2" thick), which I scraped off and mixed in with the rest as a sort of 'seed'. The milk now tastes faintly sour, like yogurt when you've only been incubating it for about 4 hours. It doesn't seem to smell like it's going bad, even to my kid with the sharp sense of smell.  There does not appear to be anything nasty growing on the surface.

And to answer the last question, yes, I did cover it in cloth, not with a metal lid. I followed the instructions as closely as possible, though I cannot control everything (like, the quality of the kombucha, which was given me by a woman at a health food store from her own private culture).

How many days does it usually take to make this stuff? Does that depend on the quanitity?

Thanks!
chotii chotii5 years ago
The first generation, beginning with 1/2 gallon of milk, took 6 days to become sour enough to separate. I left part of the curds in with the Kombucha mother when I poured the new Kefirbucha off, operating on the theory that this would 'seed' the new batch more rapidly.

The 2nd generation began with 1 quart of milk. It became more sour in 3 days than the other was in 6 days. It also is more "sparkly".

I do not notice any change to the Kombucha mother. Shouldn't it be growing a new layer?
TimAnderson (author)  chotii5 years ago
Sounds like it's working well. sparkly is good. It's okay to mix your kefirbucha up. It won't settle out like yogurt will after mixing. My mother never grew at all in milk, but I can't keep a kefir mother alive at all. My dad gets good growth with raw organic milk.
albem5 years ago
Can anyone give more information about the up-/downside op making this remarkeble hybrid? Can the same kind of hybrid be made with the so called "Water kefir" instead of combucha? And how dit the first mothers started their lives. Must be possible to reproduce this evolution under the right circumstances. Anyone? Enjoyed reading it.
Ward_Nox5 years ago
voted the #7 grossest drink on cracked.com
http://www.cracked.com/article_17174_p2.html
I wish i had the guts to culture kombucha in my dorm room. I can jsut see myself contaminating it and not realizing until i had drunk a mug of agrobacterium or something...
If that develops, you'll know it soon enough - just sniff the pot. If it smells of paraffin (kerosene), then it's become contaminated. I had it happene a few times. You have to throw the whole lot away and sterilise the pot.......get a new "mother". Keeping the pot covered with a close-woven gauze helps to keep dust and spores out. (secure with a rubber band around the top).
if you check the pH when your brewing the chances of contamination are very low. For all food items, if the pH is below 4.5 it inhibits growth of mold and bacteria. Keeping things clean and washing all items, too, will reduce chances of contamination. It is a lot easier then brewing beer or wine.
Llewner6 years ago
So, what's next, Rawpalaeo?
myrrhmaid6 years ago
Very interesting. I didn't know you could kefir with a kombucha mom. I regularly make and consume kefir. It is one of the most amazing foods I have ever eaten. I never liked milk. I love kefir! I mix it with pomegranate juice or make smoothies with frozen blueberries & bananas. I also substitute it in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. It makes the best biscuits, pancakes and waffles! DROOL! Have a toothache? Kefir can make you pain free in, oh, about a half an hour. It happened to me!
lazlow696 years ago
This is exciting. I've been enjoying kefir for a while now, my body craves it like it does deer meat, kombucha and milk. I've been growing kombucha so now it's time to get the kefir going on my own too! I wonder how it will work with goat milk? I'll share my thoughts if I try that out. Kudos.
In my research on this subject, I found some great resources for folks to check out about kefir details and what not...
http://users.chariot.net.au/%7Edna/kefirpage.html - real thorough and in-depth
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir - great overview
http://www.torontoadvisors.com/Kefir/kefir-list.php - where to get kefir grains if you want to start your own.
Vendigroth6 years ago
So....for want of a better description, you introduced a new organism and a new food supply....and the result was in a new colony, performing the same basic process, but producing a completely different product? That's brilliant!
liddy6 years ago
brilliant!!!!
Fatvod6 years ago
What did I just read...........It looked absolutely disgusting. No offence lol.
oh it definitely is gross... when you think about it. I've never had kombucha AND kefir but i have had both separate and let me tell you, kombucha is the bomb. It tastes a bit like beer and as long as you dont let the slight vinegar-y smell put you off its delicious and better for energy than a double shot!
Wow - nice job! I wouldn't have expected this to work, Since the main bacteria in the kombucha and kefir starters are so different (Acetobacter versus Lactobacillus), not to mention the environment they grow in. However, both are a complex community of multiple bacterial species and yeasts, supported by some sort of polysaccharide matrix. Inoculating the Kombucha mother in store-bought kefir must have allowed some of the kefi bacteria to colonize and integrate with the better adapted bacteria in the mother - good thinking! It'd be nice to see if your hybrid mother starts to take on more of the properties of a kefir mother after a few rounds. Alternatively, it may just "collapse" after a while, when the matrix of the mother runs out of some nutrient that the commercial kefir culture doesn't know how to make. Of course, now I want to know whether you can do this the other way around as well: get some kefir grains, soak them in finished kombucha for a while, and see if you can use them to start a new batch of kombucha. Hmm... I see on Wikipedia that there is also something called "water kefir", aka tibicos, which grows in sugary liquids. Sounds kinda like making kombucha using kefir grains, except that it seems to ferment much faster. This is a great piece of applied microbiology - would make for a fun science experiment for schools. Except that you'd probably get sued by ignorant parents the first time little Suzy gets a tummy-ache after drinking a science experiment involving lots of unknown bacteria (and then eating two pounds of chocolate on the way home)... Haha, just kidding. But seriously, nice job, I kind of didn't understand anything that Patrik posted. Too hard for my smallish brain. :P