Logan, you're the star of a blog again!
Logan is a good friend of mine, and one of the several people who have told me that they can't post comments. Luckily for me, she has my email address! So I am going to share her wonderful kefir tips with you! After a good hour conversation with her, and studying these tips, I seem to have my kefir working properly. We switched to using local organic pasteurized milk for milk kefir for the time being since I was having so much trouble and didn't want to "waste" my good, expensive raw milk. But I just did a batch with raw, that's how confident I am in my technique now. THANKS LOGAN!!! YOU ROCK! (By the way, Logan is the proud mother of 5 -yes, 5!- children under the age of 4, so the fact that she found time to have an hour long conversation with me AND send me this wonderful email is amazing!)
Hey Britt, Here are the complete troubleshooting tips that came with my
kefir. They have the range of things that can go wrong. I also don't
care that much for straight up plain kefir, so I mix mine with flavored
stevia drops. They are kinda expensive but a little goes a really long
way so its more economical than on first glance. All italicized comments
below are mine. (The Red is me-Britt)
Kefir is too fluid or Sweet
Possible causes: The kefir grains were old; Fermentation temp was
too low; The Milk was too hot and the ferment was damaged; Fermentation
time was too short; inhibition of the microorganisms; or it was exposed
to too much air.
Tips: Use grains more frequently and store properly; Observe temp
and times carefully; rinse equipment with clear boiling water before
use; keep container closed as much as possible.
Taste is too sour
Possible causes: Fermentation temp was too high; the lactic acid
bacteria develop faster and dominate. The yeasts are inferior which
results in an absence of CO2 production. I suspect this is the problem
you are having, a hard to remedy one too in the summer, I suggest next
time you go too long just let it go a bit longer until it separates and
make kefir cheese *see below or make smoothies with it where you can
hide the taste with sweet fruit
Tips: Carefully observe fermentation time indicated in order to allow the yeasts to promote the metabolic process sufficiently.
Unusual taste and/or surface mold
causes: The undesired breakdown of the milk components due to the
possible presence f foreign microorganisms resulting from unclean
working procedure. Sources of contamination: Insufficiently heated
milk, water, air, unclean equipment.
Tips: Prepare kefir under sanitary conditions to prevent
contamination by foreign bacteria. Rinse equipment with boiling water,
avoid long exposure to air. If this happens dispose of batch! Do not
consume defective batch. Start a new batch with clean grains. (whoops! This is exactly what I did! Good thing I got new grains!)
Separated into curds and whey
Possible causes: Fermentation temp was too high. Fermentation time was too long.
Run through a cheesecloth and make kefir cheese. Kefir cheese is one of
the best tasting soft cheese in my opinion, I think the closest tasting
to store bought cream cheese, we throw ours in the food processor with
garlic, salt, dill, to make a yummy spread. I agree- I like to make mine into ranch dip, which is very similar, only I add a tablespoon of homemade mayo, and some onions or onion powder as well.