www.kefirlady.com. Here's a picture of what they look like. Kind of a yellowish cottage cheese curd. The instructions said the kefir grains will grow and if you get too many you can always eat them. So I gave one a try. Tasted like a chewy, yeasty dough but with a slimy texture. I know, Mom Hogan, this is really grossing you out isn't it? To get started, I poured 4 cups of milk over the grains, secured a light cloth over the top and set it out on my counter for 24 hours.
What a huge difference from the powdered version! The first batch I made of kefir with cow's milk I used Yogourmet's powdered kefir starter. Part of the reason I'm using the kefir is because I'm lactose intolerant and the kefir is an inexpensive type of yogurt drink with lots of probiotics that's easy on the stomach. Well, over the course of a day I worked the quart of yogourmet's kefir into my diet. Not a good idea. I was sick for 24 hours because the powdered version didn't devour enough of the lactose sugars in the milk. With the kefir grains, I didn't have to boil the milk and within 24 hours I had kefir I could use right away. I have now had three quarts with no side effects, and I'm finding I really like the flavor. It's very mild, although the texture isn't as creamy. But I think the lighter texture is also because I'm using 1% milk versus the goat's milk I used for the hot cocoa recipe earlier. Haven't tried to make this into hot cocoa yet. I haven't drank milk since I was a kid. Now what am I going to do with all of those $2 Silk coupons you gave me Maridith? :-) I've been drinking the kefir straight with meals and also using it to replace both the soymilk and yogurt in my smoothies. The kefir grains from Marilyn also came with great recipes on how to use it to make sourdough, since the kefir beverage can replace the yeast in the recipe. So something else to try.
Now the only problem I'm having is that my kefir grains are converting one quart of milk every day. I'm using 1% milk but that's still way more dairy fat than I'm used to and it will start to get expensive. I haven't figured out how to handle this. I put it in the fridge to slow it down but apparently that doesn't make the kefir grains very happy. So if anyone wants to buy freshly made kefir beverage from me, I will have a few quarts available each week. Bring your own container and I'll only charge you $2 a quart to cover the expense of the milk. I'm pretty sure that's much less expensive than you'll find it at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. When the kefir grains start to double I'm happy to share those for free.