FAQ - Kefir
- What is the shelf life of the Kefir Culture ?
- How should I store my Kefir Culture ?
- How much culture do I use ?
- Why do we send two Sterile Jars ?
- Does the Kefir Culture contain any dairy ?
- Does the Kefir Culture contain any allergens ?
- Can I use Soy or other milks ?
- What is the difference between Kefir culture and Kefir grains ?
- How can I keep my Kefir warm in the colder months ?
- Can I clone more kefir from the kefir I make with your Kefir Culture ?
- Why has my Kefir Culture started clumping together ?
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When stored correctly freeze dried lactic cultures are typically viable long after any date on the pack.
The Kefir Culture is freeze dried, and requires "long term storage" in freezer. The culture also readily absorbs moisture out of the air so should be kept in airtight containers which should only be opened at room temperature.
We supply two sterile jars for storage of the cultures. Please see the next FAQ for more information regarding this.
Since the sachet holds enough culture for 80 to 100 litres of Kefir, you only need a very small amount.
We recommend opening the sachet when you are about to make your first kefir. Bring the sachet to room temperature first, this should only take a few minutes, and reduces the effect of condensation causing some of the culture to stick to the inside of the sachet. Cut all the way across the top of the sachet, then concertina it and pour the culture into the sterile jar supplied. Estimate 1/10th of the contents, and place into the second jar, this becomes your "working supply", label both jars and store in the freezer.
Your "working supply", being approximately 1/10th of the original supply of culture, will make approximately 10 litres of kefir, and should be divided according to the batch size you are making. If making one litre then 1/10th of the 1/10th jar should be used
If you have the mini measuring spoons, place all of the culture in one jar, and spoon it across to the other jar ... try the Smidgen. Count the number of spoons and divide that into 100. If, for example you get 10 Smidgens, spoon one Smidgen back into the now empty jar. This becomes your 'working stock' and you should get about 10 batches of kefir out of that jar.
The two jar storage and dosing method helps keep the culture in the best condition, helping prevent cross contamination and helping with dose control. We recommend placing approximately 90% of the culture in one jar, rarely opened, and have another jar with a small amount of culture in, as your working supply.
When a cold item is taken from a freezer, moisture condenses onto it, out of the air. This is true of the opened sterile jar with culture inside.
With Kefir Culture requiring storage in a freezer and being so concentrated, the storage jar will be opened many times (if kept only in one jar) before being used up and it is impossible to keep the culture 100% dry.
This also has a side benefit of reducing the chance of the contamination of the culture. If the working stock does get contaminated, at least the main supply is still OK.
Sacco's cultures are grown on a dairy based medium. At the end of propagation, the starter culture cells are physically separated from this medium, then concentrated and freeze-dried. Very little, if any of the dairy component ends up in the final starter culture. However because people with allergies to dairy protein can be sensitive to parts per million (ppm) levels, Sacco cannot guarantee that such levels are not present in their cultures, and therefore declare that all of their cheese, yoghurt and kefir cultures may contain traces of dairy.
We have Allergen Declarations from Sacco, who supply our Kefir Culture.
This document is the dairy cultures allergen statement.
Yes! Our Kefir Culture works with soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and water, fruit juices and filtered or mineral water with added natural sugars.
We get people asking us all the time what the difference is between Kefir grains and Kefir culture. They both result in a fantastic, healthy drink, but how you use them is quite different.
“The Kefir grain is a symbiotic association of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB)…. imbedded in a resilient polysaccharide matrix composed of branching chains of glucose and galactose as a result of the microbial metabolism of milk lactose.” (Angulo, L., Lopez, E., & Lema, C. (1993). Microflora present in kefir grains of the Galician region (North-West of Spain). Journal of Dairy Research, 60(2), 263-267. doi:10.1017/S002202990002759X)
To put this into simple terns, the grains that you can see are not the actual micro organisms, but rather the house that they built to live and in from the raw materials that were available to them. They live in the house, so the grains are a combination of the house and its occupants.
The other building material used by the culture is protein. According to research “Generally, kefir grains contain a relatively stable and specific microbiota enclosed in a matrix of polysaccharides and proteins.”( De Oliveira Leite, Analy Machado et al. “Microbiological, Technological and Therapeutic Properties of Kefir: A Natural Probiotic Beverage.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 44.2 (2013): 341–349. PMC. Web. 1 Oct. 2018.)
Our Kefir culture is a blend of lactic acid bacteria and yeast in the form of a freeze dried powder. This is typically referred to as Kefir Culture. So the culture is the micro organisms without the house.
What this means to you is that you can use Kefir culture in any liquid you want, without having to worry about transferring grains from one type to another. For example, you might want to make dairy Kefir on Monday, but by Friday you are feeling like coconut water Kefir. If you had used grains for your dairy Kefir, you would not be able to take these grains and then put them into coconut water. However, if you were using the culture, you can change back and forth to whatever you want to use, whenever you want to.
In the colder winter months we stand our Kefir jar into some water that is kept warm with an aquarium heater
Yes you can clone your next few batches of the kefir you make from the kefir you make with our culture, although when cloning from a previous batch, you are cloning all of the bacteria present in the kefir, including any contaminants. It may be considered a false economy, risking the disappointment of failed kefir, to save 17 cents worth of culture.
The clumping is caused by the culture absorbing moisture. The moisture can be absorbed directly from the air and also from moisture condensing out of the air onto the inside of the storage container if opened while cold. So we always allow the culture to come to room temperature and we keep the jar closed as much as possible to minimise the amount of fresh air coming into contact with the culture. I also try to avoid making kefir on a really damp or humid day unless I run the air conditioner for a while to dry the air out. I also don't spend any time trying to judge 1/10th perfectly accurate, I just know to use an extremely small amount, making the time the jar is open probably less than 20 seconds.
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