Kitchen Utensils for Making Kefir - The Fermented Foody

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Kitchen Utensils for Making Kefir

Ittttttt’sssss Friday!!!!

kitchen utensils

Okay, so yesterday we talked about the types of kefir you can make.  

Today we’re going to gather the kitchen utensils.

And it’s soooooo simple! (I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief already. 😉

Here’s the low-down:

 

1. You’ll be using either kefir grains or starter culture powder:

If you’re using grains, you’ll need:

  • Plastic spatula or spoon
  • Sieve
  • Bowl (or jug)
  • A long spoon (for mixing kefir in your jar – I use a plastic spoon that is used when brewing beer)
    • I use a 2 litre jug to sit my sieve on – (see the photo) – because it allows me to pour contents from the jug wherever I need it, with ease. Use a bowl and you can lose some of the liquid.  I did that at first.  And lost a lot!
    • I’m the Queen of Mess in the kitchen. If there’s an accident to be had, you can be sure I’ll have it, so I’m always looking to reduce that potential outcome!
    • Plastic utensils are best, but I’ve read of people experimenting and using metal utensils with grains over a period of months without harming the grains. If you go that way, I would recommend using stainless steel, which is known to be relatively safe.  Do choose plastic if you can.  However, if you don’t have it to hand, don’t worry.
    • The one thing you do need to bear in mind – always – for any fermentation, is never to ferment in a metal vessel.  Just that the acid in ferments can react with the metal to leach chemicals, so metal is not a good choice.
    • For Kefir Starter Powder Culture you just need:
      •  The long spoon
      • A little glass with a teaspoon, in order to mix the powder with a drop of milk.

 

2. A glass vessel is a great starting point when you’re looking for kitchen utensils to use for making kefir.

  • It’s all I’ve used to date and think it’s all I will probably use in future.
  • The reason for this is that I like to watch my ferments
  • See how they’re behaving
  • Watch for changes in colour and texture.
  • Ceramic can be used and other materials such as food grade plastic, but I’m not comfortable with my ferments in plastic after I was gifted a miso in a bucket and an inch of the top of the ferment turned extremely mouldy overnight.  Metals are to be avoided.  Stainless steel is considered to be safe enough, but not recommended.  The acidity in ferments can cause metals to leach harmful chemicals.

 

3. With the above  in mind, I have loads of glass clamp down jars and have also branched out to glass jars with lids.

  • So long as there is a good rubber seal, allowing you to create an ‘anaerobic environment’ (i.e. a space without oxygen) you’re rocking and rolling.
    • The benefit of using glass jars is that they:
      • Are easy to use.
      • Make it easy to watch the ferment mature.
      • This means you can see any changes as they happen.
      • All rather tippedy top!

 

4. If you’re making your own milk (we’ll cover this soon!) you’ll need a high speed blender.

But don’t panic!  We’ll start with a can of milk. That way, the only kitchen utensils you will need is the stuff listed here (all featured in the photos).  

Plus your muslin bag (if you decide to make your own milk, further down the line.)

Make it with bought milk first, get confident with how it tastes, then move onto making your own milk if and when you’re ready.

  • There are plenty of models.  Established ones.  And newer companies emerging in this market.
  • Read up.  And choose your favourite.
  • There are many different price points, but from my experience using a top of the range blender … and reading about the less pricey  models that have become more visible in the market place since I bought my blender … a basic machine will do the jobs you need in the kitchen just fine.
  • The main difference is that a less pricey model may take a few seconds longer to complete a task .. and perhaps some chopping/mixing won’t be quite as fine.
  • But on the whole, it’s not going to make any meaningful difference to your end result.
  • Go buy, or start savin’.  I dare you!
    • Why?
    • Because this is an investment in your long-term health.
    • You want that new TV?
    • Fancy outfit to wear to your friend’s wedding or summer dance?
    • Checking out flights to your next holiday destination?
    • Add a high speed blender to your list.  You won’t regret it.  (They can do soooo many things, that once you have one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.)

 

5. If you’re making milk from scratch, you’ll need a muslin bag.

It can be made from synthetic material or cotton.  Don’t worry about being purist.  I’ve used both.  They’re both fine.

  • Here’s a basic muslin bag.
    • I find them fiddly because you have to hold the bag open with one hand while you pour the milk from the jug with the other.
    • How do you then use your palate knife to scrape out excess milk without any free hands? With difficulty!
    • So I use a muslin kit designed with jam making in mind.  I just got fed up with trying to have multiple hands, was searching for alternatives and had this idea.  Look for a plastic tripod set up, with a muslin bag attached.  Search under jam and you’ll find something that will work for you.
  • One other thing:
    • When it comes to kitchen kit, I always invest the most money I can in equipment.
    • Anything super cheap tends to be less durable, so:
      • Blenders
      • Food processors
      • Juicers
      • Even the muslin set up
      • Think about how much you are likely to use it.  Consider what you’re able to spend.  If you ‘can’ afford the best, go that route.  If not, start up with a cheaper model (do your research thoroughly – read online reviews, but also ask for advice from friends who are into kitchen kit and ask for their personal favourites) and buy the best model you can within your own budget.  Just don’t walk away from this because you don’t have the money.

The most important message today is this:

Please don’t allow ‘not having the right kitchen utensils’ to stop you from making kefir.

Before this series is done, you will be confident enough to start working your magic with grains or powders and won’t believe how easy it is!

I started with the wrong kitchen utensils.   I messed up with my grains.  Thought I’d killed a batch.  Blah blah.  But you know what?  I got through it.  And I learned from every mishap.

Check out a little more about what kefir really IS. (It’s such an interesting subject!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

I’ll talk you through all the things that happened to me on my kefir adventure.

See you on the fizzy side! (That’s the side where you join me in drinking this scrumptious, probiotic, health-giving beverage. 🙂

Cheers to that!

See you tomorrow …

 

KISSES - CBemail-signature1

About the Author Sarah Jackson

I love to experiment with food, write poetry, read, walk in nature, take iphone photographs, sing, cycle, watch good movies, documentaries, dramas and comedy.

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2 comments
Judy says

I can’t wait to read the next episode Sarah. When I was at uni I was fascinated by the process of making cheese; how different types of microbes are involved in the process. As it goes along, rather like a chain reaction one type of bacteria creates the substrate required for another to grow. I wonder if the process is anaerobic or rather limited by the amount of oxygen present at the beginning? .

Reply
    Sarah Jackson says

    Thank you Judy. 🙂

    I’ve only made cream cheese to date, but will be moving forward on cheeses in future! I’ve just put some coconut kefir in the fridge which will drain through a coffee filter, placed in a 4 legged sieve, into a jug.

    I ferment my kefir’s in an anaerobic environment (although I’ve seen a video where someone used the muslin or coffee filter method (covering the top of the jar with one or the other, then a rubber band around it) .. There seem to be no rules, but I’ve always shut the lid on mine!

    The cream cheese is left in the fridge without cover.

    There seems to be no scientific evidence yet as to whether bacteria morph themselves during the fermentation process, produce a substrate for another to grow (as you suggest) or are replaced by something completely new. It’s quite fascinating though!

    I work with both cow’s and coconut kefir in the main, but have played with nut milks (more soon!) … My kefir grains have now started to clump and are getting quite sizey. They can grow huge. I find it totally fascinating!

    Reply
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