separating kefir

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separating kefir

Postby GertieG on Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:54 pm

I got my dairy kefir grains from the kefirlady. They were raised in goat milk. I put them in my jar, added milk, and 24 hours later it was still thin and runny. Drained off the milk and added more. Within 8 hours, I had curds on top and clear whey on the bottom. I thought maybe they needed to acclimate to cow milk, so got a can of goat milk (evaporated) from the store and put it in the jar. 24 hours, beautiful kefir. I drained off about half of it, added cow milk (whole, pasteurized) to make up the difference. 8 hours later, curds on top but not quite all whey on the bottom. My house is between 75 and 77 degrees, my jar is a 1 qt mason jar with a coffee filter lid held by a rubber band. I'm doing everything right, I think, but why won't it be creamy throughout without curds? I don't care for the curds, even when I mix them back in it's lumpy. Any suggestions?
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Re: separating kefir

Postby Algoldor on Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:10 am

Hi GertieG,
it seems to me, that you have actually quite a question here. I've never done goat milk kefir so I can not help there but I've been fermenting cow milk with milk kefir for many years.
First I would say that your temperature is good for kefir, maybe I would suggest bigger oscillation of temperatures so more microbes with different temperature optimums get a chance to live happy life and keep strong in the culture (day/night t difference generally does the trick, I would not recommend one set temperature brewing in this case). Warmer it is, faster is the coagulation and to my knowledge or memory it would be more compact. If you lower your temperature to 45-50°F(7-10°C) for example, than the fermentation will take longer and to my experience it would coagulate in more smooth and less strong matrix. Longer you let the brew ferment, especially at higher t, more compact the coagulate gets and more whey you will have. By the way the taste of the ferment is better if done at lower temperature, at least that is my experience and it applies to nearly anything fermenting as long as it ferments, kimchi, probiotic beverages etc. I'm sure if you search a bit that there are some articles out there which would give you clear answers about the process of coagulation, I'm sure that yogurt coagulation is for sure described in a very detailed way at least for cow milk which should be very similar.
So I hope that at least part of what I've wrote may help you but I'm quite pretty sure that after few weeks of experimenting you will get your answers by yourself.
PS Any special reasons for choosing goat milk by the way? And by the way the culture may be first hibernating when you used it either by lack of food or because being stored in low temperature. If that is the case, it needs some time to wake up and after that it goes at a usual speed.
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Re: separating kefir

Postby GertieG on Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:34 am

Thanks for your reply. I had no reason for choosing goat milk kefir, it's what the kefirlady was selling and how they were raised.

I have little control over room temp. I am at work all day and husband, who is ill, tends to keep it warmer than normal. I often come home to 80 degrees and he's cold, as an example. Since he is terminal, I want him comfortable and leave it alone.

I have reduced the number of grains in the jar, saving the rest in the refrigerator. This has helped some, but I still have only 8 or 9 hours before it starts to separate. As long as I can catch it when it just starts, I can put it in the refrigerator until I have time to strain.

You are right, it must have been somewhat dormant at first, since I am having good success now as long as I watch the timing. I drink about a pint per day, using it as a meal substitute in my attempt to lose weight. As I have to cook for DH when at home, I only do this for when I'm at work.

Again, thank you for the response. I was starting to worry that no one would.
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Re: separating kefir

Postby irie1029 on Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:08 am

My two cents... I routinely have kefir segregate. I just shake strain the grains and bottle in Liter soda bottles. then store in fridge. I routinely make 2 gallons at a time and just shake bottle before chugging down the fizzy ferment. Scroll this site for example of "48 hour ferment".

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Re: separating kefir

Postby GertieG on Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:24 am

I have read that when the kefir separates it is because the acid level has risen. This higher acid level means there is no more milk left to feed the grains. So, I prefer to strain before it separates and do a second ferment with the strained kefir.

I had removed some of the larger grains and then fermented a quart jar 2/3 full of milk. I started it at 5 yesterday morning and strained shortly before 7 last night--beautiful batch of kefir. I put my grains in a clean quart jar, filled it 2/3 with fresh milk and put a coffee filter as a lid. I then set it in the fridge, pulling it out onto the counter this morning at 5. Hopefully I will get the same result tonight.

I had a spoon of honey to my strained kefir, stir it up and then cap it tightly. I leave this on the counter for several hours, then refrigerate it overnight. I drink some in the morning, leave the container out (in my lunch box) until lunchtime when I drink the rest. In the evening, I eat a normal supper.

I am doing this in an attempt to lose weight. I have lost 4 pounds in the last week or so of doing it and hope to continue this routine until I lose 15 pounds total. My only issue is weekends. My DH is ill and doesn't like to eat when I'm 'hungry' (drinking kefir to him means no food at all). to keep him happy and nourished, I eat on the weekends when he does. I hope to get him on kefir eventually, but he's a stubborn old man and rarely tries anything new.
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