Yogurts and Kefir (all types) simple recipe... and tibits.
Keeping it Simple.
1. one spoonful per 8 ounces of milk (for Milk Kefir) or Water / Juice for Water Kefir.
2. No sugar necessary for Milk Kefir
3. use one spoonful of sugar per 8 ounces of WATER
When using fruit juices, or syrups / honey - which contains natural sugar - the sugar content should equal 5-10%. You can use a Hydrometer or a Brix. Or just use 1/2 spoonful of sugar and adjust on your next batch.
~ Time and Temperature always play a role in all ferments.
the warmer the faster the ferment. The longer the Time the more it ferments
~ a pH between 2 and 4 is optimal. A low of 2 may prevent any fermentation and may cause the grains to "dissolve". A pH of 5 means your ferment has died or is dying.
~ Milk ferments are generally as thick as a thin milkshake. To thicken don't stir. Add some buttermilk, powdered milk, or evaporated milk. The more common "cooked" yogurts are made when the milk is heated to reduce some of its water content. Warming the milk will also increase the Thermophilus (95-107F) and Bulgaricus (109-114F) species of bacteria that are the primary fermenters of yogurts. Warming the milk also denatures the milk so the milk proteins set together rather than form curds.
~ Greek Yogurt is made by spraining to remove Whey. Which thickens and sweetens the yogurt. If one leaves their yogurt over-ferment it separates into curds (the white portion) and whey (the clear part) Except at this time the curd is sour as well. The whey is generally the bitter and more sour portion. The separation should be while the ferment is still sweet. The same applies to making cheese. You could say Greek Yogurt is somewhere between Plain Yogurt and Cheese.
~ Caspian Sea Yogurt (Matsoni) may contain as many as 173 strains of lactobacilli.
~ Yogurt typically contain colony forming lactobacillus units of 1 x 10 8 CFA per million
~ per 100 gram 97 calories, 9% protein, 5% fat and 4% carbohydrates, including 4% sugars vitamin B12 (31% DV) and riboflavin (23% DV), phosphorus and selenium (14 to 19% DV)
~ Lactose-intolerant individuals may tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products due to the conversion of lactose to the sugars glucose and galactose, and the fermentation of lactose to lactic acid carried out by the bacteria present in the yogurt
Kefir is a symbiosis of many beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts which form grains of pop-corn like structures. True functional food that helps rebalance and re-establish a healthy flora. During the fermentation process (usually 12-24 hours) the Kefir Grains changes normal milk into healthy living food. A Probiotic many times the factor of store bought yogurt, kefir or probiotics in capsule form. It is not recommended to take Kefir at same time that one takes antibiotics, as kefir (pro; in favor of, biotic: life) will weaken the overall effect of the antibiotic (anti; against, biotic; life). Kefir and other probiotics are highly recommended right before and right after any antibiotics or vaccinations.
The gift of the Prophet, as people from the Caucasus referred to these grains as they enjoyed a full life expectancy between 110 - 150 years old. Kefir is also known as Snow lotus and as the Tibetan mushroom. which may cause confusion for some folks as the kombucha mushroom is also known as the Tibetan Mushrooms as well as the Manchurian Mushroom (and a host of other names). our Kefir grains are similar to - but not the same as - Japanese Water Crystals, or Tibi, Water Crystals, California Bee’s, etc., all produce a refreshing healthy beverage using just water (or juice) and sugar.
Caspian Sea Yogurt (Matsuri) is a similar yogurt as kefir but smooth and bland. The nice part of CSY is that there's no need to retrieve any grains. Just save abit (spoonful) for the next batch. CSY, and these yogurts and Kefirs do not require any cooking or special equipment. No cooking or messy preparation is required. Plain water, juice, sugar and assorted fruit pieces or Cold milk right from the fridge may be used and all one needs to do is to strain the kefir. The strained part (kefir) is then drunk or eaten. Flavor freely with fruits and cereals.
The other part is re-capturing the Kefir Grains. To do this the kefir when ready is simply poured through a strainer. Being careful not to lose the baby kefir grains down the drain. We offer extra large muslin culinary bags that the kefir grains can be suspended in and then just pull out and place in a fresh glass of milk :)) The Kefir Grains are then added to a new glass of fresh milk and covered for 17-24 hours. kefir is fermented at a extremely wide temperature range - between 39 F-10° F 4 C to 40 C) However, a consistent reliable temperature is optimal. At warmer temperatures the Kefir reproduces much faster. Our 17 watt heating mats are ideal for this :))
For Diabetics or Low Carbohydrate watchers or those lactose intolerant there is a no-fridge method. This is achieved by storing freshly strained kefir in a sealed container and left at room temperature to ripen [or mature] for a few days. Similar to how kefir was stored by the original kefir-cultures of Caucasus, This method produces kefir with lots of FIZZ! Caution as Fermenting Glass jars may explode. Should not be done where small children are present. Freshly strained kefir may be placed in a clean glass [or plastic] bottle, stored at room temperature for up to one week or longer in cool climates, or for up to 3 to 4 days in warmer climates.
Depending on the fermentation process, fermentation temperature, time and type of culture used, the alcohol content of Kefir will vary from 0.06 % (Marshall 1984), up to a maximum of 3% alcohol. The average alcohol content in home brewing is around 0.5% with a loose lid and 1% in an airtight jar. Shaking the fermentation container during the fermentation time also results in higher alcohol content. Using a cloth or paper covering reduces the alcohol amount.
Milk Kefir supplies high-quality protein and calcium, rich mineral content and lowered salt content which may help reduce the chances of bone fractures, strokes and osteoporosis, which are major causes of elderly people becoming bedridden. The Vice President for Education at the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded "The thousands of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds) in whole foods act synergistically together to create a more powerful effect than the sum of their parts, producing a result which cannot be recreated by supplements." - like our Kefir and Caspian Sea Yogurt and to a lesser degree our Kombucha Mushroom Tea.
Below is a list of Microflora in Kefir
Encyclopaedia of Food Science, Food Technology, and Nutrition  [pp. 1804-1808] Edited by R. Macrae, R.K. Robinson, M.J. Sadler
note: this list does not mean that your particular or any particular yogurt or kefir contains ALL of the following. The better example is the Mean Range of 66% Bacilli, 16% Streptococci, and 18% yeasts. note also that the range of Bacilli and Streptococci may vary, but one does want to hold down the percentage of yeast which here in yogurt world is more a nuisance.
Typical Kefir contains; Bacilli 66, 62-69%, Streptococci 16, 11-12% and Yeast 18, 16-20%
List of bacteria commonly found in Kefir.
Most important aspect is the ratio or domination of which species.
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. kefirgranum sp. nov *
Lb. parakefir sp. nov *
Lactococci lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis var. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Streptococci salivarius subsp. thermophilus
Kluyveromyces marxianus var. marxianus
K. fragilis / marxianus
Saccharomyces subsp. Torulopsis holmii
Debaryomyces hansenii **
Zygosaccharomyces rouxii **