Can you cook kefir?

This brief article will address the query “Can you cook kefir?” Also, we’ll focus on how kefir can be cooked, what kefir is, what the nutritional content of kefir is, and if eating kefir is healthy. 

Can you cook kefir

Yes, kefir can be cooked, in the sense that it can be homemade, and it can be used as an ingredient in preparing other dishes. 

As a dairy product, it can substitute milk, butter, and water in some recipes, and conveys a distinct, slightly acidic taste to foods prepared with it  

Kefir can be used as salad dressing, for marinating, and as an ingredient in baking, and the making of dairy-based desserts. 

How can kefir be cooked? 

Homemade kefir can be prepared with; kefir grains (that are commercially available), milk (dairy or non-dairy), a container, a paper coffee filter, a plastic strainer, and by following these few outlines:

To prevent the growth of other bacteria that may cause illness, it’s important to sanitize the area beforehand, and carefully wash one’s hands. 

Once clean, the container where the kefir will be prepared should also be thoroughly washed with dish soap and running hot water. To prevent dust (which also contains bacteria and other microorganisms) from settling in, it should be placed upside down and air-dried. 

After the container has completely dried, the milk can be poured into it, along with the kefir grains. One teaspoon of kefir grains should be added to every cup of milk, though it should be noted that the container should not be filled to the brim, as the mixture will expand during fermentation. 

The container should then be covered with the coffee filter and held tightly in place, generally, this is done with a rubber band or fastened thread. 

The closed mixture should then be left to ferment at a temperature of 21°C (70°F), for 12-48 hours, and avoid being exposed to direct sunlight. 

After the aforementioned time has elapsed, and the mixture has thickened, it can be poured through the plastic strainer and emptied into another thoroughly cleaned container.

This batch should be covered tightly (to prevent any airborne microorganisms from setting in) and will last up to seven days in refrigeration. 

It’s important to note that store bought kefir has a longer shelf life due to being prepared in sterile conditions and being pasteurized.  

In the case of cooking with kefir, there are various recipes in which kefir can be used to replace butter, milk, and even water. 

Namely, kefir can be used to prepare ingredients such as flour and grains for baking, used as a condiment in salads and pasta, for marinating meats and conferring an acidic taste before cooking, and as an ingredient in dairy-based desserts such as smoothies, popsicles, and ice cream. 

What is kefir?

Kefir is (usually) a dairy product made by fermenting milk with kefir grains, which themselves, are granules made from combined bacteria and yeast. When these granules are placed in milk, the bacteria and yeast begin to metabolize (feed on) the sugars present in milk, such as lactose. 

While it is similar in taste to drinkable yogurt, kefir may be a little fizzy, as the yeast and bacteria will have produced gasses that are suspended within the beverage. 

The kefir mixture itself is often made with combinations of microbes such as Lactococcus, Lactobacilli, Streptococcus, Acetobacter (which are all different types of bacteria), and Saccharomyces (yeast). This combination is what makes kefir different from yogurt, as the latter is made of only lactobacillus and streptococcus. 

Kefir beverages nowadays can be made from different types of milk (dairy, or non-dairy), and can even be made from other drinks such as fruit juices and sugar water.  

What is the nutritional content of kefir?

A 2017 study published that on average, milk kefir is made up of: 

  • 90% water
  • 6% sugars (none  added)
  • 3.5% fat
  • And 3% protein

Also, milk kefir is a source of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as various vitamins B, calcium magnesium and potassium, 

Is eating kefir healthy?  

Consuming kefir is good for one’s health as its probiotic content may stimulate digestive health, help lower bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, commercially available formulations of kefir may have added sugars for flavoring, which in some patients, may be more detrimental than beneficial. 

It’s important to bear in mind the total amount of sugar in store-bought products and consume them in accordance with our nutritional needs. 

However, store-bought kefir is a safer alternative for some groups such as pregnant women and immunocompromised patients, as the pasteurization process carried out guarantees that kefir is innocuous, and harbors no pathogens that may cause disease. 

Conclusion

In this brief article, we’ve addressed the query “Can you cook kefir?” Also, we’ve focused on how kefir can be cooked, what kefir is, what is the nutritional content of kefir, and if eating kefir is healthy.

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318353#what-is-kefir

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/milk-kefir/using-kefir-in-everyday-recipes/#:~:text=Milk%20kefir%20contains%20beneficial%20bacteria,the%20bacteria%20will%20be%20killed.

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/milk-kefir/how-to-make-milk-kefir/

https://www.webmd.com/diet/kefir-good-for-you#:~:text=Scientists%20have%20found%20that%20the,kefir%20may%20support%20cardiovascular%20health.&text=Fermented%20foods%20like%20kefir%2C%20yogurt,may%20lower%20your%20cholesterol%20level.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/too-much-sugar

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.