Posted on 12/20/2017 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
Dr. Lisa Metzgar:
Kefir is a yogurt-like drink that can be made from diary or other non-dairy options like coconut milk, or nut milks. It is a fermented drink that is an excellent source of probiotics providing sometimes 3 times more gut friendly bacteria than yogurt.
Kefir starts with little rubbery balls of probiotics called kefir grains that look like rice kernels. These grains start the fermentation process and multiply to create the gut healthy drink.
To make kefir, start with your milk of choice. If you are lactose intolerant, you can still use diary because the kefir grains eat up the lactose during the fermentation process. The longer you ferment the kefir, the more lactose will be fermented. Once you add the kefir grains to your milk, let it ferment for 12-48 hours out of direct sunlight. The longer you ferment, the thicker and more sour the product gets. The fermentation process also increases the number of gut friendly bacteria.
After you ferment, then strain your kefir. You can reuse your kefir grains to make more or share some with your friends. If you don’t use them right away then pour a small amount of milk over the grains and store in the refrigerator.
You can let your product “ripen” further by leaving it out on the counter for a couple of days. In this step, you can add a vanilla bean to cut down on the tartness. This will further the creation of more healthy bacteria as well as digest the rest of the lactose in dairy.
There are many yummy things you can do with the kefir. Try blending fruit and flax seeds for a smoothie, use it thicker for a great alternative to buttermilk in salad dressings, or make it really thick for your own cream cheese. However you enjoy it, it provides so many health benefits due to the abundance of healthy gut-friendly bacteria.
Fermented foods are some of the best superfoods for balancing your gut flora but not everyone enjoys the sour taste of these foods. EpiCor can be a healthy alternative to boost your microbiome without the sour taste and in one small 500 mg capsule. Of course, you can always do both, you can’t overdose on supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut!
Here are a few recipes you might want to try with your homemade kefir. As you can see, it is a very diverse food you can make many tasty foods with.
Gluten-Free Kefir Muffins
- 3 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 To 1 Baking flour (or gluten-free flour of choice)
- 2 cups milk kefir
- 2/3 cups honey or maple syrup
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 4 Tbsp. melted butter or melted coconut oil
- 1 handful of add-ins of your choice (diced apple, chocolate chips, raisins, orange zest, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Mix together gluten-free baking flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Add milk kefir, lightly beaten eggs, honey and melted butter or oil and mix.
- Add any additional desired ingredients such as raisins, chocolate chips, diced apples, etc.
- Spoon batter into a muffin tray that has been buttered or lined with paper liners. (Silicone muffin trays are especially handy!)
- Place in preheated oven and bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin.
Blue Cheese and Walnut Kefir Dip
- 2 cups strained kefir (consistency of sour cream or slightly thicker)
- 4-ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours prior to serving, to allow the flavors to meld.