Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that originated in Turkey. When I was having some health problems, a friend of mine suggested I make and drink fresh kefir. To tell you everything that is great about this wonderful stuff would take too long so here is a link to learn more (http://www.kefir.net/intro.htm). I learned about it, and then sent for some kefir starter and made my own. I had problems with keeping the milk, temperature right. Everyone suggested I buy a yogurt maker, and that just didn’t happen. I came across and made a Wonder Box for a whole different purpose. It keeps hot things hot long enough to cook them, and cold things cold, (stay frozen for 4 + hours). So I figured that the Wonder Box would keep the milk at just the right temperature without problems. It worked. The best kefir is the Kefir that is fresh made in your own home. So here we go on making homemade Kefir.
Pour the milk into the sauce pan. Turn the stove top element heat onto medium low.
Heat the milk until it reaches 92° F. If you don’t have a thermometer, just stick you impeccably clean finger in the milk, if it don’t feel any temperature (not hot, not cold, so skin temperature) it is at the right temperature.
Open the package of starter and add it to the warm milk.
Stir until the starter is dissolved.
Make sure the jar and lid have been sterilized in boiling water and allowed to cool, with the lid on, to prevent unwanted yeast etc. from entering the jar.
Pour the milk with the starter into the Mason jar. Screw on the lid.
Put it in the Wonder Box,
and put the box lid on. Note the time. The milk will need to stay in the box for 14 to 24 hours. During this time the bacterial and yeasts from the starter, will ferment the milk, and produce wonderful things like, probiotics for digestion and vitamins and minerals that help your immune system. Before today’s jar of Kefir is three days old, you can take 6 Tbs. from it and add to a new quart of warm milk. You can do this 7 times, then it is time to use a new starter.
Sometime between 14 hours and 24 hours, remove the jar from the Wonder Box and take a look, it is thick and clumpy and you can see gas bubbles (this is CO2).
Take a smell, it smells a little sour. I poured some into the blender for my morning smoothie. Store it in the refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process.
Put the date on the jar so that you can keep track of how old it is. There are lots of ways to use it. Just drink it, add a sweetener (like flavored stevia, or honey, or fruit) if you like. You can leave it out on the counter and create Kefir cheese. Add it to smoothies, or it can be used to make dips and dressings, (just Google “Kefir Recipes”). Enjoy!