Author Topic: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter  (Read 5660 times)

Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« on: September 12, 2011, 07:43:21 PM »
Kefir has got a lot of bacteria and yeasts that can be used as starter bacteria. If you follow the thermophilic starter procedures and use Kefir instead of fresh milk, you would be getting a good and strong culture ecosystem.

Strain about 1 litre of Kefir (separate the gems) and use your yogurt maker or keep the temperature about 43C to 50C. This will eliminate most of the mesophilic cultures and some yeast.

When it is curdled like yogurt (about a day or 2) separate 500ml and mix it with 500ml skimmed pasteurised milk. Put in your temperature controlled yogurt maker and keep it 43C to 50C constant till it curdles again.

If you do this for 7 to 10 times, you will get a strong thermophilic ecosystem with lots of different thermo bacteria.

I wonder what type of yeast can be left active after this process.

The known types of bacteria in Kefir are listed below. The bold ones are thermophilic bacteria (if I am not mistaken).
LACTOBACILLI
•   Lactobacillus acidophilus
•   Lb. brevis [or Lb. kefiri]
•   Lb. casei subsp. casei
•   Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
•   Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
•   Lb. fermentum
•   Lb. cellobiosus
•   Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
•   Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
•   Lb. fructivorans
•   Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
•   Lb. hilgardii
•   Lb. helveticus
•   Lb. kefiri
•   Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
•   Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
•   Lb. parakefiri
•   Lb. plantarum
STREPTOCOCCI/LACTOCOCCI
•   Streptococcus thermophilus
•   St. paracitrovorus
•   Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
•   Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
•   Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
•   Enterococcus durans
•   Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
•   Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
•   Leuc. dextranicum
YEAST
•   Dekkera anomala t/ Brettanomyces anomalus a
•   Kluyveromyces marxianus t/ Candida kefyr
•   Pichia fermentans t/ C. firmetaria
•   Yarrowia lipolytica t/ C. lipolytica
•   Debaryomyces hansenii t/ C. famata
•   Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
•   Issatchenkia orientalis t/ C. krusei
•   Galactomyces geotrichum t/ Geotrichum candidum
•   C. friedrichii
•   C. rancens
•   C. tenuis
•   C. humilis
•   C. inconspicua
•   C. maris
•   Cryptococcus humicolus
•   Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis
•   Kluyv. bulgaricus
•   Kluyv. lodderae
•   Saccharomyces cerevisiae
•   Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
•   Sacc. pastorianus
•   Sacc. humaticus
•   Sacc. unisporus
•   Sacc. exiguus
•   Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
•   Torulaspora delbrueckii t
•   Zygosaccharomyces rouxii


Kefir Grains or AKA Kefir Gems


Kefir Gems are ready for next batch


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 10:16:41 PM »
Where do those "grains" come from? I've bought kefir powder and it doesn't look like that. I've also bought kefir to use as a starter and it didn't have anything like that in it.

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Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 11:03:15 PM »
Hi Boofer,

Kefir Gems are the polysaccharide structures created by the symbiotic relationship between the cultures and yeast. The "gem" is the real thing that ferments the milk at room temp. They grow and multiply if looked after then you can share or freeze or eat them etc.

It is also mentioned here in this post.

BTW, the commercial kefir powders are not the real thing and they may not have all the bacteria mentioned above.

Offline mtncheesemaker(Pam)

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 11:07:41 PM »
Boofer, you have to get them from someone. They kind of grow with use and then you can split them and share. I make kefir at least every other week to keep them alive.
I've never used kefir as a cheese starter, but have wondered what it would be like.

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 08:21:04 AM »
Gürkan: that's quite a lot of characters in that mix. What cheeses have you made with kefir as starter? How did they taste? It looks like there are enough mesophiles in there for a mesophilic cheese, have you tried that?
This looks pretty interesting. I'm thinking that this would give a more complex flavor profile when using cheap milk like I do? Pav, any help?
Dave in CT
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Offline Sue (aka Leah's Mom)

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 08:37:32 AM »
Here is a source to get the Kefir Grains:

  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/milk-kefir-grains.html

I have not tried them but was going to order some a couple days ago and got side-tracked.  There are probably other places as well, besides getting some from someone who is already using them from their batch as I understand that they multiply quite prolifically and can be shared.  I heard of someone getting some from a college newspaper classified ad when someone's grains had multiplied to the point that they were giving some away to anyone that wanted some.  (Kind-of like sour dough.)

Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 05:16:42 PM »
I have done Feta, as some of the recipes tell me to use a mixture of meso and thermo; I kept the brine strong though to prevent any yeast from growing. The taste was not that different

I made full kefir cheeses (somewhat like chevre) couple of times because I was lazy to strain it for a week and the whey separated. I kept it in the humidity chamber like a cam once and it was about to walk by itself. Smelled like  :-\ I can not really explain...

The problem is after lactobacilli finishes off with the energy sources, yeasts take over and not one but many strains. It is still alive unless you use vinegar, heavy brine, salt etc to keep them on the bay.

I didn't try the thermo side yet. If you take something like parmesan, romano recipe as a base I am sure there may be some different flavours are hidden there.

Given that it has a lot of yeasts, may be even cam/brie or morbier, reblochon types may come out.

It is just a matter of trying I guess.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 05:19:13 PM »
Quote
This looks pretty interesting. I'm thinking that this would give a more complex flavor profile when using cheap milk like I do? Pav, any help?
Only use for fresh cheese that has an acid profile, like chevre frais.

If you're going to use it for starter, puree the grains, culture the milk, and thermize them repeatedly over 5-10 generations (inoculate, culture, thermize, use portion for next batch) to create a proper thermophilic starter free of yeasts and mesos.

I've had kefir cheese from multiple places. It's always been terrible.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 05:24:55 PM by linuxboy »
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 05:23:41 PM »
Thanks for the advice. I'll stick to my old reliable cultures for the present.
Dave in CT

Offline cheeseymama

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 06:08:00 PM »
I make kefir everyday, the grains (or gems as some call them) grow pretty fast, at least they do, when you change the milk they "eat" that often. By pretty fast, I mean a quart of grains turns into around four quarts by the end of a season for me. I've tried using freshly strained kefir for cheese starter and never had success, even soft cheese comes out way too sour for my taste. Never tried to isolate the thermo's from my kefir milk though, pretty novel and interesting idea. I'll have to try it. For those who would like to learn about getting a using  real kefir grains (instead of the manufactured powdered kefir) a good place to look is, Dom's kefir site the link follows:
 http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir-faq.html. There is also a very active yahoo group ...kefir_making, I believe it is called, which is a wonderful place to exchange info about kefir with other like minded people. Kefir is great stuff! ^-^
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 10:01:43 PM »
Thanks for the advice. I'll stick to my old reliable cultures for the present.
That was my decision too after making a kefir Gouda. I think there was too much going on in there.

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Offline Mix spanish cheese

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2011, 09:57:06 AM »
this thread help me , with my question of kefir , but open a new ways

to see how kefir can be for hard cheese too

Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 04:29:15 PM »
OK, here are the results.

I drained some kefir and put it into my 1 litre yogurt maker. At 43 degrees celcius most mesophiles died off. I have done this at least 5 generations to strengthen the flora; inoculating the skimmed milk with previous batch of kefir yogurt. At the end, I filled into ice block trays and frozen.

First trial was with feta and mixed culture of Flora Danica and Kefir used. Results were too good. Fresh Jersey milk is used. The feta did have some irregular holes and taste was awesome. Acidity increased too fast, and actually if I use it for toasting, it melts and stretches but if you eat just straight from brine, it is creamy, and has a pleasant aroma. I am very happy with the results.

The second was haloumi and that one was also awesome. Fried nicely without loosing its shape. My wife gave the ranking of "best cheese I have ever made"  ^-^

I have used it in two other experiments (Comte and another hard washed rind type (improvised recipe) and will see the results in about 6 months.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 08:29:47 AM »
Kudos to you, Gürkan, for your success.

Have a cheese for your experimentation, inquisitiveness, and for sharing.  :)

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Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Using Kefir as Thermophilic Starter
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 04:03:21 PM »
Thanks Boofer  :)