The first thing to know before you want to consume kefir is: you will not find it in stores. And it is not just the fermented and ready-to-drink beverage that cannot yet be purchased in Brazil, as kefir grains are also not available in stores or shops.
So, if you are planning to insert the drink in the routine, you need to find a donor , that is, someone who does the cultivation and gives you a quantity of the culture.
There are sites that register donors and indicate those closest to the location of those looking for them. In addition, social networks have several groups of exchanges, donations and product information.
After purchasing your beans, it is time to start home cultivation.
The materials needed for this are a glass container, a light cloth or gauze, a sieve, another container to put the kefired liquid and the milk or water with some sugar.
Some basic tips for both crops – water or milk:
- Do not use metal or steel materials (containers, strainers, sieves or spoons);
- Sanitize and dry the containers before starting production (wash with hot water and allow to dry well);
- If possible, separate the equipment used only to prepare the kefir (this will reduce the risk of contamination from other products and the kefir itself);
- Prefer milk and water at room temperature so that the fermentation time is not changed (low temperatures or using cold liquids make the fermentation be slower);
- Never heat the beans or put them in hot water or milk;
- Once strained, you can store the liquid for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Water does not have fermentable properties, so it is necessary to add some component to it. In general, sugar (white, brown or organic), fruit, brown sugar or molasses are used.
To start, heat about 250mL of mineral water and add 1/4 cup of the chosen sugar or fermentable food (about 4 spoons). Stir well to dissolve and then add another 750mL of unheated water.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the liquid to the glass container and add the kefir grains, measuring 2 to 4 spoons for each liter of water.
As you produce and test the flavor, you can change that amount (the more grains of kefir, the more acidic, sour and accentuated the flavor).
Cover the container with gauze or light fabric (so that it is not completely sealed), securing it with an elastic band.
The warmer the environment, the faster the fermentation. In regions with an average temperature of 22º, the fermentation time is between 24 hours and 72 hours.
Remember to store the container in a place protected from light and sudden changes in temperature.
After this period, strain the liquid and store it in a jar or tightly capped container in the refrigerator.
The drink will have a variable color, depending on the sugar or fermentable product (brown sugar will make the drink darker than white sugar), but the result is usually a tea-like drink and always slightly fizzy or fizzy. .
The strained grains must be returned to a new container with fermentable water, starting the process again.
Which sugars to use in the fermentation of water kefir?
The most recommended sugars to add to the water are:
- Organic sugar;
- Raw sugar;
- Brown sugar;
- Refined sugar;
- Crystal Sugar;
In addition to these products, it is possible to use fruits, honey or molasses to provoke fermentation.
However, some nutritionists and researchers point out that these components can alter the fermentation process of the drink, resulting in a less probiotic, less nutritious and therefore less functional liquid.
On the other hand, even if the fermentation is less, using these variations of sugars, you give different flavors to the drink.
The preparation of the drink is very close to the water kefir process, but it is not necessary to heat the milk beforehand. In addition, there is no need to add any other product to the liquid, as the lactose itself undergoes fermentation.
Place 1 liter of milk at room temperature in a glass container and add between 2 and 4 tablespoons of kefir.
Cover with gauze or a light fabric, securing it with an elastic band. The glass must be stored in a dry place, protected from light and temperature variation.
It is worth remembering that if you want to opt for vegetable milks (whether due to lactose intolerance, vegan diets or the taste), it is necessary to use the water kefir. Since vegetable milks do not contain lactose, the milk grains will die.
During fermentation, you may notice a division between the whey and the milk. The process is natural and you only need to stir it a little so that they mix again. When straining, you will notice that the milk has a thicker consistency, similar to that of yogurt.