Kefir starters and grains

kefir

You can make home-made kefir with goat, sheep or cows milk and select your own live cultures for fermentation. It is also possible to make kefir from coconut milks and filtered water (not tap). Kefir needs to incubate for 24 hours or more so that the fermenting bacteria consumes all of the lactose and is therefore easier to digest.

Kefir grains or starters

Sometimes you can get the grains for free on GAPS or SCD mailing lists or social networks. The following places sell kefir grains:

Equipment

The following equipment is needed:

  • 2 wide mouth glass jars
  • 2 glass bottles with caps
  • Nylon mesh strainer (better than metal for the grains)
  • Funnel
  • Wooden spoon
  • Unbleached cloth such as calico
  • Elastic band or string

FAQs

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– by Callum Hann

Kefir starters

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasian Mountains near Turkey, where it was used for centuries as a healthy drink. Kefir is a probiotic – a source of beneficial bacteria and yeasts which help maintain a healthy digestive system. These include Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, and Saccharomyces kefir.

It is best to introduce homemade kefir after homemade yogurt, when healing of the gut wall has taken place.

Kefir starters are available from your local health food store, although it is best to ring and check they have some in stock first. They are sold as ‘grains’, even though they are not a grain. Alternatively, in Australia you can order direct:

If you are overseas look for:

If you don’t want to make your own kefir, you may like to try Babushkas Kefir which comes in plain, strawberry and honey.

Yogurt starters and yogurt makers

You can make home-made yogurt with goat, sheep or cows milk and select your own live cultures for fermentation. It is also possible to make yogurt from coconuts, soy and nut milks. Yogurt needs to incubate for 24 hours or more so that the fermenting bacteria consumes all of the lactose and is therefore easier to digest.

There are two ways to start off making yoghurt at home. The first way is to use a store bought yogurt and the second is a yogurt starter.

Yogurt

This yogurt is suitable for your first batch:

  • Farmers Union Greek style natural yogurt (contains bifidus)

Yogurt starters

Yoghurt starter contains cultures of bacteria that are used to inoculate the milk and begin the fermentation. The bacteria to look for in a yoghurt starters are:

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (optional)

Here are some of the safe yogurt starters available in Australia:

Here are some of the safe yogurt starters available overseas:

Yogurt makers

Your yoghurt maker needs to be designed to maintain the ideal temperature for making SCD and GAPS yoghurt. It also needs to be able to ferment for 24 hours. There are two suitable yogurt maker available in Australia:

Some people use their dehydrator to make yogurt.

If you are overseas look out for the Yogourmet electric yogurt maker (available from Amazon with starters, or Lucy’s Kitchen Shop).

Note: If you are following the SCD, then it is sometimes recommended to avoid the Bifidus strain as it may cause a strong die-off reaction.