At the recent NYC Fermentation Festival we samples some of our goat milk kefir. Singly pasteurized goat milk is available at a price at places such as Whole Foods. You can also buy raw goat’s milk if you are in a state the allows people to purchase raw milks from quality controlled, typically small family farms that know very well how to prevent contamination and diseases. Although goat’s aren’t breeding as much as when the Spring comes around some farms have a year-round goat breeding scheduled to make it available.
Our milk kefir grains are over a decade old. The amount we need to make a gallon of milk is about a teaspoon. In 4 to 5 hours and several vigorous shakes and burping along the way the kefir is just about to start separating out. At that point we strain the grains or SCOBYs out and start the second fermentation.
Second Fermentation or 2F is very important for the development of key nutrients, as well as the ongoing reduction of lactose. The bacteria and yeasts in milk kefir love the milk sugar lactose. As the eat over time they produce byproducts the flavor and unlock the vitamins. They will eventually make the kefir a bit more sour.
Our 2F process usually involves adding either a sugar source (raisins, dried figs, dried apples, fresh berries, and even fruit juice or raw sugar) and perhaps raw fruits, spices, herbs or vegetables. For example a 2F kefir with garlic, mint, pre-salted cucumbers, scallions and celery seeds is a great drink.
After 4 or 5 hours – unless it’s really cold – your kefir is done and it can be refrigerated. It will last at least few a weeks refrigerated, but burp then shake once a day and drink it when you can. Store your grains in good milk in the fridge. The grains like to be used frequently, especially with raw or singly pasteurized milk.
At the New York City fermentation festival we brought a gallon of a raisin, cardamom raw goat milk kefir. It was well received. We just finished making a few more gallons.