Kerfir Cheese in the making...
Our family began making Kefir Cheese a few years ago. As a mom, it seems I’m always looking for ways to help our family with eating healthier. I read several articles from Donna Schwenk from www.culturedfoodlife.com about the benefits of Kefir milk and gut health. So we decided to give it a try! Thinking outside the box as a homeschool parent always provides us with wonderful opportunities to learn and teach our children. And so began Health class 101 and how to make Kefir milk. While Kefir ferments on your countertop it creates healthy enzymes and good bacteria for your gut. Donna provides great videos and directions with step by step directions.
Head on over to Donna’s website and search for the article on “How to Make Kefir.” I typically make mine with organic whole milk. Fear not if you can’t tolerate whole milk, non-dairy milk like coconut, almond, cashews, oat, flax, and more may be used! Add the Kefir grains to a glass Mason jar with the organic milk, cover with a reusable beeswax wrap from Jenny Joy’s Soap and wait about 2 days. The summer time temperatures can speed up the fermentation process causing the Kefir to ferment more quickly, so if you want to slow it down, simply place it in the refrigerator for a day or so.
When the contents of the jar begins to thicken it’s typically time to process the Kefir. Strain the Kefir and milk over a plastic strainer sitting on a large glass mixing bowl. Don’t use metal objects while working with the Kefir. Glass or plastic is best. Once the milk is strained, place the Kefir grains back inside a clean jar and add organic milk or that of your choosing.
Line the strainer with a coffee filter or 100% cotton fabric. Place it on top of the glass measuring bowl. Pour the Kefir milk on top of the filter and then cover with a reusable food wrap. Leave it on the countertop for about 24 hours and then take a peak. You’ll notice the whey will separate to the bottom of the glass bowl. When you remove the food cover the Kefir will have thickened to the point in which I like to call it Kefir cheese. Simply lift the coffee filter out and transfer the cheese to a glass covered bowl and refrigerate. Toss the used coffee filter in the compost bucket and clean up is finished. If you use the fabric method I would recommend washing it out seperate from the rest of your laundry and adding a small amount of vinegar while washing to sterilize it.
Don’t ask me how long it’s good for in the fridge, because at our house it’s gone within two days! Once our friends and family began to eat it the bowl was emptied quickly. We like to use it on eggs and potatoes in the morning or as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad. Simply add mustard, chopped pickles, bell peppers, salt and pepper to the tuna salad and you have an amazing lunch served on a bed of lettuce. It a great way to add probiotics to your diet naturally without supplementation. Oh, did I mention I used it to make brownies one day when the recipe called for cream cheese. No one knew the difference. Let’s keep it our little secret!
For helpful directions and more recipes, go to Donna’s website where you’ll find more about the healing benefits of Kefir milk and other fermented foods for your gut health. To learn how to make your own DIY reusable food wraps with Pinon pine resin from Jenny Joy’s Soap check out our blog.