Creme Fraiche, Buttermilk, Kefir recipes

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I've been promising to post this Crème Fraiche recipe, so here goes:

Put 1 tbsp. whole-milk buttermilk, good-quality commercial buttermilk, or Crème Fraiche from previous batch in 2 cups of heavy cream in wide-mouth mason jar. Place on the counter in a warm place until it thickens (about 24 hours). Place in fridge. Will keep for quite a long time. Use as a replacement for sour cream--it's better for you, and tastes better, too!

To make Whole-Milk Buttermilk:

Put 1/4 cup good-quality commercial buttermilk or buttermilk culture (leftover from making butter) into 4 cups whole milk and leave on counter at room temperature for approximately 12 hours until it thickens. Stir and put into fridge. Will keep for a long time.

Kefir:

First of all, what is kefir?

Discover the Incredible Health Benefits of Kefir: "Kefir, which means 'feel good' in Turkish, is an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your 'inner ecosystem' to regain health and rebuild immunity. Kefir's tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as the friendly 'probiotic' bacteria found in yogurt. When used regularly, the naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to replenish our intestinal flora and boost our immunity. Among its many restorative powers, kefir will:

* provide supplemental nourishment for pregnant and nursing women
* contribute to a healthy immune system and help fortify patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer
* promote a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and benefit many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
* help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence, create a healthier digestive system -- and is an absolute must after the use of antibiotics to restore balance to the digestive tract
* curb unhealthy food cravings by making the body more nourished and balanced

What if I'm Lactose Intolerant?

Unlike yogurt, the lactose in kefir is all digested by the time it is ingested, and some of the proteins have been broken down -- so even those with sensitivities to milk can use it."
There are a couple of ways to make kefir. I have not found another site on the internet that makes it the exact way that I do, but my way still works.

How I make it:

Originally, I started with powdered kefir culture. You can also start with kefir grains. Stir 1 pkg of powder into 2 quarts of whole milk in glass jar; cover. Leave on counter for 12-24 hours, until curds begin to form. Stir and place in fridge for 8 hours to stop the process.

After this, and because we go through so much at a time, this is what I do:

Put 3-4 cups kefir in 1-gallon glass jar. Fill with whole milk; cover. Leave on counter for about 24 hours, stir and place in fridge. We go through one of these every day and a half.

If the kefir separates into curds and whey, no problem--just mix it together before serving. It just means it was either left longer than necessary, or that the place it was fermenting was a bit warmish.

If you find your kefir is watery, you are probably not using milk with enough cream in it. I found this to happen when I was using some Holstein milk that had been skimmed. If you are using store-bought whole milk, this shouldn't happen, or if you make sure you do not skim your raw milk.

For more about how to make kefir, and it's benefits, and to order some kefir starter, please visit this page.