Thanks to my fermentation friend at work, I now am the proud owner of kefir “grains.” Kefir is a wonderful fermented milk product that is made with the help of a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Sounds disgusting, right? But it is kind of like yogurt, except it has healthy yeast in addition to the good bacteria for your gut. And sometimes it carbonates.
Kefir comes from Russia and is pronounced kə-FEER (no matter what they insist on calling it at the farmer’s market!) According to Sandor Katz, the guru of fermentation, the story of kefir includes feats of espionage and intrigue. You can probably just buy your grains online, though, or find someone on craigslist who will share them with you for free.
Once you have the grains, it is a simple matter of adding them to milk, letting them sit for a few days until the taste is sour enough to your taste, and enjoying it. It has the consistency of thick milk, and we especially enjoy it in smoothies, as the sour flavor amps up the sweetness of the fruit. You can also make kefir cheese, which I’m looking forward to trying soon. In the meantime, here is the main link I used to get started.