1. Health & Lifestyle

Kefir: The next generation drink with the healthiest bacteria’s

Prity Barman
Prity Barman

A fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt made from kefir grains is known as kefir or kephir.The beverage originated in the Eastern Europe and Russia, where it is prepared by inoculating kefir-grained cow, goat or sheep's milk.

Fermentation process:

Kefir is a mildly acidic beverage that is bitter, carbonated, with a consistency and flavour similar to drinkable yogurt. At ambient temperatures, traditional kefir is fermented, usually overnight. Owing to the quality of the fermentation outcome, the use of freeze-dried starter culture has been popular in recent years. 

Lactose, the sugar found in milk, is primarily broken down by the lactic acid bacteria into lactic acid (25 percent), which results in the liquid being acidified. Pyruvic acid, acetic acid, diacetyl and acetoin (both of which give a 'buttery' taste), citric acid, acetaldehyde, and amino acids arising from protein breakdown are other compounds that contribute to the flavour. 

Due to various factors such as the kefir grains growing from the milk during fermentation or curds developing around the grains, as well as temperature, the microbe flora can vary between batches. 

The structure of the Tibetan kefir varies from that of the fermented drink of ke-fir in Russia, Irish, Taiwanese, and Turkey.

Nutrition Factors of Kefir

Kefir products contain nutrients, including dietary minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids and conjugated linoleic acid, in concentrations ranging from small to major, in  such quantities which is equal to the unfermented cow, goat or sheep's milk. Kefir is primarily composed of water and fermentation by-products, including carbon dioxide and ethanol, at a pH of 4.2 - 4.6.

Just like milk, kefir contains many minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc tc. In suh amounts which is not specified in a reliable nutrient database. Kefir also includes vitamins in various quantities, including vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E, close to milk. Kefir's essential amino acids include methionine, cysteine, and tryptophan. 

Steps to make Kefir: 

  • Kefir is usually produced by adding kefir grains to milk at a grain-to-milk proportion of 2-5 per cent. 

  • In order to avoid loss of light-sensitive vitamins, the mixture is then put in a corrosion-resistant bottle, such as a glass jar, and ideally kept in the dark. 

  • The grains are strained from the milk using a corrosion-resistant (stainless steel or plastic) utensil after a time of 12-24 hours of fermentation at a moderate temperature, preferably 20-25 ° C (68-77 ° F), and stored to produce another sample. 

  • The grains enlarge during the fermentation process and gradually separate, producing new groups.

  • The resulting fermented liquid can be drank, used in recipes, or preserved in a sealed jar for a secondary fermentation duration. 

  • The drink should not be kept in reactive metal containers such as aluminium, copper or zinc because of its acidity, as they may leach into it over time. The unrefrigerated shelf life is up to thirty days.

The milk from most mammals will be fermented by Kefir grains and begin to expand which is the most important step in making keifr. Cows, goats, and sheep, each with distinct biological value (flavor, scent, and texture) and nutritional qualities, are traditional animal milks that are used for its preparation. Traditionally, raw milk was used. 

Milk alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk, as well as other sugar liquids, including fruit juice, coconut water, beer wort, and ginger beer, can also be fermented in Kefir grains. However, if the medium used does not contain all the growth factors needed by the bacteria, the kefir grains can cease growing. 

For the synthesis of the polysaccharide which makes up the grains (kefiran), milk sugar is not necessary and rice starch is an effective alternative medium. Additionally, when fermenting soy milk, kefir grains will replicate, but they will vary in shape and size due to the various proteins available to them. 

Kefir’s uses: 

  • Kefir can be used to make sourdough bread because it contains Lactobacillus bacteria. 

  • In baking, it is also useful as a buttermilk substitute.

  • Kefir is one of the main components in Lithuanian borscht, also known as Lithuanian cold soup in Poland and other countries.   

  • Kefir are used with cereal, oatmeal, milkshakes, salad dressing, ice cream, smoothies, broth and in place of milk as well.

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