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Kefir Chemistry

Kefir Chemistry

By: Sylvia Smith on October 9, 2013
 

Are you tired? Do your nerves sing every time you feel a twinge of anxiety? Has school and work got you down? Then try a glass of kefir, a nutritious drink from the East. It's tangy, filled with B vitamins, and just plain healthy.

Kefir comes from the Caucasus Mountains, and is believed to have originated in a cow's stomach. Traditional kefir people made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway. Anyone passing through the doorway would have to knock the bag to keep the grains well mixed. Kefir is a mix of bacteria and yeast in a mixture of proteins, lipids, and sugars. A complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can therefore be found in the grains. Kefir grains can grow as big as walnuts. They are rich in minerals and vitamins -- vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, D, K2, folic acid and nicotinic acid can all be found in kefir.

Kefir's nutritional profile depends largely on the type of milk that it was fermented in. This includes the concentration of vitamin b12. Those who are lactose intolerant can safely and happily drink kefir.

Kefir is similar to viili, the yogurt-like mesophilic fermented milk that originated in Scandinavia. It's ropey and has a refreshing sour taste.

Kefir grains cannot be generated from scratch. You'll have to pair up with another kefir-loving student in order to get some. Russian prepare kefir by the two-fermentation method. During the first step they incubate the milk with grains, the grains are then removed by filtration and the resulting liquid mother culture if added to milk which is then fermented for 12 to 18 hours. One can change the nutritent profile of kefir by fermenting for shorter or longer periods, possibly adding nutrients at each stage. What's more, kefir has additional microrganisms that may be able to colonize the intestines and benefit health by protecting the intestine against bacteria that cause illness.

 
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