Kefir - A Noble Drink
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter) and has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.
Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins.
First described by tribes in Russia, “kefir grains” are actually not grains at all, but are a delicate balance of yeast and bacteria. Able to ferment milk in around 24 hours, kefir grains can transform raw milk into a Superfood probiotic drink (kefir), a naturally-carbonated, refreshing beverage that has several key medicinal benefits. Rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, kefir also provides significant amounts of lactic acid bacteria and beneficial yeast.
For the lactose intolerant, kefir’s abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process.
Farmers cheese or tvorog, is a Russian dairy product which is known as a cross between cottage and ricotta cheeses in North America. It could be enjoyed on its own, sprinkled over your salads, used in desserts, stuffed into pierogis and much more. Tvorog is an extremely easy cheese to make at home, and a lot cheaper. It is commonly used in a variety of baked goods as well as eaten plain or with and berries.