Today I made bread, moroccan stew, lacto-fermented dijon mustard, butter, kefir, quark, feta and colby cheese. Along the way, I helped milk a cow twice, cleaned the kitchen, filled the dishwasher, did a load of laundry, fed the sourdough starter, changed half a dozen diapers, fed animals, took a nap, brushed the cow, read a book with the kids, watched a few episodes of Timmy Time, skimmed off a supply of cream, finished up my first hard cheese (cheddar) from last night, made breakfast and answered business email. It was an average day for the way things are going right now. I took a few days to focus on finishing my book the first part of this week and fell behind on the milk supply. I had most of a week’s milking in the fridge this morning when I started out- which is close to 20 gallons. I’ve been feverishly trying to get that down over the past couple days. It occurred to me while I was making the kefir this morning that it would have been helpful if someone had posted some pictures of what the grains are supposed to look like when I first started out. So the next couple days I’ll be posting some pictures of what I’m doing in the kitchen…. butter, kefir, cheese, etc. For today, here’s kefir:
When you’re using raw milk, your kefir grains will be big and plump… kinda like tapioca. You won’t have to worry about them going through the typical strainer. If you use pasteurized milk, they tend to be really small and don’t multiply very much… generally you need some cheesecloth in addition to your strainer if you wish to keep your kefir separate from your grains. Note the texture on the kefir below. Mmmmm…. it’s almost a yogurt consistency, but still more of a liquid. I made this batch of kefir by pouring milk into a half gallon glass jar, adding the grains and then putting it on my mantle above the fire. I left it for 24 hours. You can stop at 12 hours if you’d like, but my grains and the temperature of my house give me the consistency I like at 24.
After you strain, you must rinse. Don’t use water from your tap if you’re on a city water supply that has chlorine in it. Instead you can use bottled spring water. I use tap because we’re on a well and I haven’t had any problem with my grains by doing it this way. I took some from this rinsed batch and put it in the next jar of kefir, currently sitting on my mantle. The rest of it I put in a mason jar and put in the fridge. It’s there if I need to make a big batch, or if I just want to share some with a friend.
It’s going to be another busy day here on the farm tomorrow. Carson has the day off and is planning on setting up his woodworking shop in the barn. I’m thinking about butterscotch and chocolate pudding, salty caramel ice cream and parmesan cheese as the main focus of my day. I’m tired, so I’m going to finish this glass of wine while I wait to put the next set of weights on my hard cheeses.
What did you do today?