I have discovered that I like kefir. The taste took some getting used to at first, but now I like it, probably because it makes my poor finicky stomach feel so good.
It is really good for David, too. Actually it would be good for anybody.
I've been buying the Lifeway brand, and it is delicious: white, thick, creamy, smooth, tangy with a little hint of fizz. However, it is $3.69 for a quart, which comes out to about $0.93 per serving. I can buy the strawberry flavored kind at BJ's for less; I believe they have it for $4.99/two quarts, which, if I am correct, would be $0.63 per serving. But I don't like all the crud they put in the sweetened, flavored kind, and that is still pretty pricey, anyway.
Anyhow, with me drinking it, and David, and trying to get the other people in the family to enjoy its health benefits, I was starting to feel the pinch in my food budget, and I was starting to wonder if this is something you can make at home. Then I ran into a post about kefir on Tammy's blog.
I read the post, and studied the comments and the links. Her kefir looked like the Lifeway kind that I buy. Her little kids like it. Her instructions sounded easy. I decided to try to make kefir.
First, I tried to follow the link she posted to the woman from whom she got her kefir grains. I guess I'm just not that good at computers, and in the end, I couldn't get through to that woman's "shop." But on this site, there are lots of people selling kefir grains, so I ordered from somebody else, somebody in Colorado. The product arrived in just two or three days.
It came double wrapped in two ziplock bags. I opened it up and sniffed. It had a pleasant yeasty smell, a little bit sweet. I put my kefir grains into a clean canning jar and followed Tammy's instructions.
Now, I know Tammy says the first couple of batches won't be good. And so did the instructions that came with my grains. So I was prepared for this. The first batches have not been good.
Someone said they fed their failed batches to their dogs. Since Schubert has had a skin infection and been on an anitbiotic for over 20 days, I figured he needed a probiotic anyway, so I tried the kefir out on the dogs. They do like it, but you can only give them a little at a time.
(This is Schubert, depressed, on Thanksgiving. He had to wear this funnel on his head for 2 and 1/2 weeks. He says, "Funnels are not fun.")
In the meantime, I have all this yucky kefir.
This morning I made pancakes with it, and I thought about the irony. Usually I make Jonathan eggs or whole grain toast with natural peanut butter for his breakfast. We try to be healthy, you know. And now that I am trying so hard to be healthy that I am trying to make my own kefir... I made Jonathan pancakes with white flour, topped with high fructose corn syrup flavored with chemicals and artificial maple flavoring. The heat to cook the pancakes probably killed all the good probiotics and stuff in the kefir, too. Doesn't it just figure? However, Jonathan said of the pancakes, and I quote, "Wow, these are really quite good." (I did not mention to him that they had kefir in them. Also, for Jon, at 6:45 in the morning, that was inspired verbosity.)
In the meantime, my third batch of kefir is brewing on the counter. Third one's the charm, right? This is the one I am nervous about. This is the one that is supposed to turn out.
Up to now , the batches have been thin with clotted kefir curds floating around in them. The thing that scares me is that much of what I read on the internet seems to indicate that this is a normal consistency for kefir. I like the thick, smooth, creamy, store-bought Lifeway stuff.
Aaaugh. I didn't need an extra source of stress in my life right now.