Fermented and cultured dairy products, i.e. dairy products fermented with lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Lactococcus and Leuconostoc, have been produced since around 10,000 BC and can be found all over the world. The fermentation process increases the shelf life and improves the taste and digestibility of the milk.
There are several ways to make yogurt at home. I personally have not purchased any equipment for this.
To produce yogurt, warm milk is inoculated with a starter culture and turned into yogurt in about 8 hours at 35° C. As starter culture I either take a few tablespoons of already existing yoghurt or I use a freeze-dried mixture of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.
The culture mix
I like to mix the freeze-dried cultures with milk powder and prebiotic powder (inulin). This makes dosing easier - my scales do not weigh half a gram - and the yogurt is firmer, creamier and richer in fiber. I give 4 gr. yoghurt cultures to 50-60 gr. carrier powder mixture.
Make your own yoghurt
- 1000 ml milk
- 2 tsp culture mix
- Glass jars with screw cap in portion size (e.g. empty jam jars)
- Sterilize the screw-top jars along with the lids with boiling water and allow to dry.
- Bring milk to a boil and reduce to hand temperature, about 40° C.
- Remove from heat and stir in culture mix.
- Pour the inoculated milk into the prepared jars and screw on the lids.
To keep warm, I wrap the still-hot yogurt jars in towels, which I place in a cool bag ( thermo bag) with 1-2 freshly filled hot water bottles. After about 8 hours, I take out the jars and put them in the fridge for 10-12 hours.
It is important that the glasses are not moved during incubation, otherwise the yoghurt will not become firm!
Make your own sour cream
I love sour cream! I found out how to make it myself through a failed yogurt attempt. The plan was to make cream yogurt. So I mixed 800ml of milk with 200ml of cream and made yogurt following the instructions from above. Unfortunately, I put it in too cool a place and it remained all runny. To avoid having to dispose of the result, I put the yogurt in a muslin cloth and hung it over a bowl to drain overnight. The next morning I had lovely fresh sour cream in the muslin cloth and drained whey in the bowl below.
- 100ml cream *
- 400ml milk *
- 1 tsp culture mix
- large glass jar with screw cap (e.g. empty pickle jar)
- muslin cloth or cloth diaper
* You can also use pure cream or adjust the ratio of milk to cream. However, the ratio should not be more than 4 parts of milk to 1 part of cream, otherwise it will no longer be a sour cream.
Like yogurt, where the whey is removed in the aftermath. It is even possible to make sour cream from milk with cream content if you do not keep your ferment too cool, if you just let the whey drain for 12-16 hours after preparing the yogurt.
Milk kefir is triple good. And then even more.
- For drinking.
- To make cheese from it.
- For whey production.
Milk kefir, like yogurt, requires a culture to transform the lactose. These kefir cultures are called kefir grains (or kefir mushroom, Tibetan mushroom) and look like small, white or light yellow cauliflower florets. They originate from the Caucasus and consist among other things of the lactic acid bacteria Lactococcus lactis and acidophilus as well as the yeasts like Candida utilis, Saccharomyces fragilis, Candida kefyr and Kluyveromyces lactis. The yeasts ensure that a low level of carbonic acid and alcohol is produced during fermentation. The alcohol content of the finished beverage can be 0.2 - 2% depending on the duration of fermentation.
Make your own milk kefir
- 1 tbsp kefir grains
- 500ml milk at room temperature
I take the least processed milk from the cow I can get. My jar is a glass with a lid, which I just put on loosely. Or a fliptop glass without a gasket. A screw-on jar with a loosely closed lid would also work.
- Put the grains and the milk in the glass and close the lid.
- Leave at room temperature, protected from light.
- Leave to ferment for 16 - 36 hours, depending on how you like the kefir best.
- Stir from time to time or move the glass as you pass by
- Strain the kefir grains and pour the kefir into a glass bottle and place in the refrigerator. It keeps there for about 1 week.
- Either prepare the next batch immediately, or store the grains in a glass with milk and a loose lid in the refrigerator until the next use.
How to store kefir grains
Kefir grains can be kept in milk in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. If you want to take a longer break from milk kefir production, you can freeze the grains in fresh milk. I have done this several times, once even for 7 months. Freezing was completely unproblematic and only required a certain amount of regeneration time for the grains. I could not drink the 1st and sometimes also the 2nd batch of the milk kefir, but I booked it under resuscitation time.
There are some people who recommend rinsing the grains with water. I have never done this before and it does not make sense to me why I should wash off the bacteria and yeast.
The best temperatures for fermentation of milk kefir are between 10 and 25 °C.
Are milk kefir grains allowed to come into contact with metal?
I would also like to say something about the fairytale with the plastic strainer.
- Yes, due to the acid the kefir can dissolve metal ions from the surfaces of metal vessels.
- Yes, in the long run this can lead to inhibition of the microorganisms of the grains.
- No, short-term contact with a metal sieve or metal spoon during straining does not harm the grains and in no way justifies the use of plastic.
Thanks for the attention.
P.S. Kefir grains live and change over time. They multiply, grow larger or decay again. If you take good care of them, you will enjoy them for a lifetime. And if you give away the leftover kefir grains, you will have good karma as well.
Strain milk kefir grains
My favorite cultivated dairy product 🤍 I make fresh cheese from milk kefir, labneh style cheese balls and semi-hard sheperd's cheese myself, all other cheese I buy. So far.
By the way, the drained liquid when making cheese is whey, which I either use immediately for another ferment or keep in a swing-top bottle in the refrigerator.
Whey is a watery, milky, cloudy liquid consisting of 94 % water and 4 to 5 % lactose and is virtually fat-free. If the milk has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria, it is called sour whey, as is the case with milk kefir grain.
Whey is fabulous. In fact, whey can be used to make naturally carbonated lemonade.