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Old 02-11-2014, 05:27 AM   #1
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Yogurt or Kefir?

I make yogurt at home fairly regularly, out of full-fat organic UHT milk and either a couple of tablespoons shop-bought Greek yogurt, or the content of a probiotic capsule. The 1-litre yogurt maker is a lot like a small plastic slow cooker with just the on-off switch. I use it for 24 hours, then move the pot to the fridge where it usually lasts us about a week. It is thick and creamy, and we eat it both as a meal in itself (with added flaxseed, nuts, fruit or whatever) and added to cooking.

Now, I have never tried kefir, so my question is: how different is it from yogurt? Is it more liquid than creamy? Can you use it cooking? Could you make it in a yogurt maker?

I have read a lot about the health benefits of kefir as a fermented food, especially for the gut, but are they really stronger than HM yogurt?

Ultimately, should I replace yogurt with kefir, or maybe alternate weeks, or not bother at all?

All advice, opinion and experiences welcomed!
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:20 AM   #2
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Kefir is not really a substitute for yogurt. Kefir is more liquid and is more like buttermilk. You shouldn't use an incubator for it since kefir grain processes milk at room temperature, not at elevated temps like yogurt culture.

My mother uses kefir to make her sourdough bread.

I would not try to compare kefir and yogurt as far as what is stronger because we have no standard basis to compare, they are different cultures and affect people differently.

There is no reason you couldn't use both. Kefir processes very quickly, overnight, and can make a very milk milk drink, you can process it longer and make a buttermilk type beverage, I process my kefir till it separates and pour off the whey and use the cream for berry shakes. I would not eat kefir with a spoon like I would yogurt and I wouldn't "cook" with kefir the way I do with yogurt ( mostly dessert pies, yogurt is thicker can be drained super thick, ie. greek)

Kefir makes me feel good, literally soon after drinking, I consider it a fermented drink like kombucha.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:20 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for clarifying the difference. So, kefir is really a probiotic drink, rather than food. I'm tempted to try, but I'm afraid of adding a lot of carbs to my current regime. I suppose the longer you ferment it, the fewer carbs will be left in the final product.

How much would you drink per day to feel the benefit? A tall glass, a small cup, several shots throughout the day...?
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:23 AM   #4
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Well, I made a blueberry kefir shake for my BF with really long fermented kefir, and he drank like 4 oz and felt drunk, the bad kind of drunk he says. Then he never drank it again, so I say start out small and only do 1 or 2 day ferment and not several week ferments like I do.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:19 PM   #5
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Kefir has more probiotic strains than yogurt, and no special equipment is needed. You can ferment it a little longer if you want to be certain the milk sugars are consumed by the bacteria and yeast. I would think it wouldn't be any car ire than yogurt made with the same milk, although I'm not certain it would work with UHT.

Kefir takes attention every day or two (depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is)--you have to strain off the kefir and feed the grains fresh milk. It takes about 5 minutes, tops. I use a two jar system (one for storing finished kefir in the fridge) and one for fermenting. I swap out for clean jars only every week. If you have good, healthy grains it's very vigorous and hardy.

You can experiment to see if you like it. My husband drinks a glass every night. He recently took over the kefiring and he's building up a larger amount to try using it for spelt sourdough.
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