I've heard of people easily making home made Greek yogurt and kefir, and I was wondering whats the best way to start or a good source of the active cultures for both?
I do live in VA so I can't buy raw milk but I can get grass fed organic whole milk/half and half/cream. I can also buy fage full fat Greek yogurt.
So what has everyone tried and whats a good start? For any homemade fermented food actually, but Kefir is the one I am most interested in.
Kefir is ridiculously easy to make; you just pour milk over kefir grains (not a grain, but a culture of bacteria and yeast), and let it sit overnight with a covering that lets it breathe but keeps bugs out. I make it every day, and it does wonder for my family's digestion and health. The only trick with kefir is that, unlike yogurt, you need to stay up on it and make it every day or two, otherwise you will kill your culture.
Kefir grains multiply a little bit with each batch, so you want to find someone around you who makes it, and they should be able to give you some after a while. (I wish you lived in the Bay Area: every month or so I have kefir grains coming out my ears that I need to get rid of!)
@ScottMGS: Yogurt tends to be runny if it isn't heated to 160 F before adding the cultures. That one step proved too much for my to deal with, so now I make kefir :)
Kefir is so much easier that I never make yogurt anymore. I use grains that I got from Cultures For Health a year ago. I make it once a week, add the grains to the raw milk, let it set for 24 hours. Next day, strain the grains out with a plastic colander and store the grains in some fresh milk in the frig until the next week. I blend the kefir to give it a smoother texture before drinking. It can be drained through a cloth to get a thicker product.
Several years ago I made my own yogurt for a month or so. I used regular 4% milk (industrial) and plain yogurt with live cultures (Brown Cow brand, I think). I put a bit of yogurt in with a bunch of milk in a container that I put in the oven overnight - gas oven with a pilot light for warmth. I can't remember how long it took to make but it wasn't that long. I then used some of that batch of yogurt to seed the next batch. If I recall correctly, the yogurt was pretty runny several batches down the line but I don't know if that was starter fatigue or some other failure on my part.
I'm sorry but I know nothing about kefir.
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