Kefir is a liquid yogurt made by placing milk Kefir grains into milk and allowing it to ferment for at least 24 hours. What you get is a delicious and creamy product which has many Kefir Health Benefits. Kefir contains probiotics such as Leuconostoc, Torula kefir, Streptococcus species, Acetobacter species, Lactobacillus Caucasus and Saccharomyces kefir. It can be found in most grocery stores in many different flavors. If you wish to make Kefir, you can buy it online as well as many local farms.
Health Benefits of Kefir
1. Improves Lactose Tolerance
Since the live culture in the Kefir feeds off lactose and excretes lactic acid as a by-product, it decreases the level of lactose in the milk. This makes it easier for lactose intolerant persons to digest the milk.
2. Reduces Cholesterol
It is thought that the probiotics found in Kefir play a role in how the body produces cholesterol and therefore lowers cholesterol.
3. Assists In Gastrointestinal Health
The probiotics found in Kefir may fight off bad bacteria in the stomach and intestine thus aiding eliminating or preventing infection.
4. Aiding In Weight Loss
It has been found that one cup of Kefir Yogurt per day aids in weight loss.
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How To Make Fresh Mozzarella Cheese With Citric Acid
About Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
You have probably read my previous posts for making Homemade Mozzarella using live cultures and perhaps you figure using cultures is my preferred method. However, there are those whom would rather use citric acid or maybe even lemon juice as an alternative. Both ways are acceptable and here in the United States, most mozzarella cheeses are made with citric acid. Ever wonder why mozzarella cheese at Publix or other grocery stores tastes kind of salty?
I have listed below how each method works because I believe that is important for you to understand the entire process to make a good cheese on a regular basis.
How To Make Fresh Mozzarella Using Citric Acid
To begin with, it is necessary to use citric acid, lemon juice or other substances such as cultures to lower the ph to at least 5.2 because the pH needs to be at this level to stretch the cheese. Anything above 5.4 pH is difficult to stretch and anything below 5.0 will tend to be too soft and fall apart too easily during the stretch. I like my pH to be around 5.1 because it makes a softer cheese and is quite juicy after it’s done. However, this can be quite subjective and most people like a range of 5.2. So, when using the citric acid method, you were basically putting a certain amount of citric acid into the milk to lower the pH of 5.2 immediately. The entire recipe only takes about 2 hours.
How To Make Fresh Mozzarella Using Cultures
Basically, when you are making fresh mozzarella cheese using cultures, what you are doing is placing a certain amount of thermophilic cultures into to the milk and over time, these cultures will ferment the milk and lower the ph. This can take anywhere from 4 to 20 hours, depending on how much cultures that you placed in the milk and how well they ferment. Thermophilic cultures thrive on the warmth and therefore ferment the best in warm and dark environments. I personally prefer using kefir, because it creates a great taste and is easily accessible. You can find kefir at many local farms.
Health facts related to Homemade Mozzarella
Being that fresh mozzarella contains milk, it contains calcium and iodine. These substances are responsible for building bone structure and making bone stronger. Milk also contains Vitamin A which is responsible for strengthening your immune system. Therefore, mozzarella cheese as with any of the cheese may be fattening, but certainly has certain health benefits.
First off, I tell you what equipment that’s necessary.
One 2- 3-gallon stainless steel cooking pot Buy Now
Either raw milk or non-homogenized milk: I’ll cover this later in the instructable.
10 Simple Steps on How To Make Fresh Mozzarella
I have listed some simple instructions on how to make Homemade Mozzarella using citric acid.
Pour 1 gallon of cold milk into a steel pot and dump 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid in the milk and stir. Warm the milk slowly to 88 to 90°.
Once reaching the desired temperature, take the milk off the burner. Dilute 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet into ¼ cup of purified water and pour it into the milk and stir for 30 seconds. Make sure the milk maintains 88 to 90° and if it doesn’t, place back on the burner a little longer. Once stirring the rennet in the milk, cover and let it sit for 1 hour.
After one hour, test the milk for a clean break by pushing your index finger through the milk. If it is ready, it should feel like jello and it will leave a hole. If it is still soft and does not leave a whole, cover it up and let it sit for another 30 minutes and try again.
Take a sharp knife and cut the milk into 1/2 inch squares or take a whisk and chop it up, but don’t get carried away.
Warm the squares slowly to approximately 105°, take the pot off the burner, cover and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Uncover and the curds should have sunken to the bottom. Pick up several of the curds and if they are ripe, they should not be falling apart and be somewhat firm. If they are falling apart, let them sit for another 15 minutes and try again.
Once the curds are ripe. it’s time for the stretch. Begin by taking three large bowls and placing them on the counter. Fill one with slightly cool water and fill another bowl with ice and cold water. Leave the third bowl empty.
Fill a large pot up with water and heat to approximately 180°.
Place all of the cheese curds into the empty bowl and let them sit while waiting for the water to get hot
Once the water has reached 180°, pour 1 to 2 cups of the hot water on the outer ring of the bowl containing the cheese curds. Be careful not to pour the hot water directly onto that curds because it could ruin the product. Let it sit for about 2 minutes..
After 2 minutes, pour the hot water out being careful not to lose any of the cheese curds. Then pour 2 tablespoons of salt onto the cheese curds. Again, pour 2 to 3 cups of the hot water into the bowl containing the cheese curds and let sit for several minutes.
Take a wooden spoon and press them against the side of the bowl. If the curds are ready to stretch, they should be sticking together and not falling apart. If they continue to fall apart, the curds are not ready to stretch so wait a little longer.
Once ready to stretch, scoop the cheese curds up with a wooden spoon and let gravity do the work. Pull the cheese down and stretch approximate 3 to 4 times only enough to create a smooth texture. Stretching any more than this would be overworking the cheese and will result in a dry product.
Once you have stretched the cheese into a smooth 2-inch strip, fold a 3 to 4-inch strip over 2 to 3 times and push it between your index finger in your thumb. Then squeeze your index finger and thumb together and ripped off the bottom of the cheese ball.
Toss the finished mozzarella ball into the cool water. Repeat this process until all the mozzarella balls are finished. After 10 to 15 minutes, throw the mozzarella balls into the ice-cold water. They are ready to eat now and taste the best at this point.
There you have it, fresh mozzarella with using citric acid. They use this method as opposed to using cultures will result in a longer lasting shelf life. It should hold up to a week, and you should keep refrigerated at you make it.