Step 1 — Kefir
Now, I make 2 cups of kefir ever day with two pecan-size florets of kefir grains. My room temperature is 74F, and it takes about 24 hours for milk to ferment. I gently stir milk 2 or 3 times during that period to disturb the cloud of fermented milk that is forming around the grains as they eat, so they have access to more lactose in the rest of the milk. Another jar with 2 cups of milk and 4 kefir grains florets is stored in my vegetable refrigerator at 45F. Kefir grains are supposed to be barely active there, and I change milk for them every 5 days. At the end of the fermentation process, I strain kefir and refrigerate it. What is not consumed as a drink during the week, becomes an ingredient for fresh cheese.
I am very grateful to all artisanal kefir enthusiasts, who generously share the culture “grains” and their knowledge and experience of using them with everybody interested!
Step 2 — Kefir Fresh Cheese
Traditionally, raw milk is placed in a warm place (24-26C/75-78F) for 24-48 hours to ferment by naturally present lactic acid bacteria. To start the process of fermentation in pasteurized milk, we need to add mesophilic Lactococcus starter cultures. To make kefir cheese, add kefir grains to a room temperature milk. When fermented, slowly heat kefir in a water bath to 50-55C/122-131F to coagulate (curdle) milk proteins. Strain separated whey, and your cheese is ready to eat. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Kefir cheese or tvorog can be used as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. For desserts, sugar, vanilla, and raisins are often added to the cheese. To enjoy authentic flavors, try serving it as is with a little bit of good honey on top.