The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - FOOD DRINK -

There are two kinds of ke­fir – dairy and wa­ter. The wa­ter kind is es­sen­tially a fizzy drink made by fer­ment­ing sugar wa­ter or fruit juice, and it has a good blend of yeasts and bac­te­ria. But it’s dairy ke­fir that has health gu­rus ex­cited, with three or four times as many dif­fer­ent yeasts and bac­te­ria as wa­ter ke­fir, mak­ing it a mega mi­crobe mix for your gut. Dairy ke­fir – gen­er­ally just called ke­fir – is a thin, yo­gurt-like drink, with a faint fizz. It’s made us­ing a mix­ture of bac­te­ria and yeast (like kom­bucha), which form into “grains” that look a bit like cot­tage cheese but have a rub­bery tex­ture. Car­o­line Gil­martin is a ke­fir and fer­ment­ing ex­pert and holds classes in Bris­tol (ev­ery­ She finds that ke­fir works with all kinds of milk, al­though ide­ally full fat for its creamy tex­ture. “Goat’s milk ke­fir is run­nier than cow’s milk but it is de­li­cious,” she says. “A mixed nut or nut and oat milk is best for ve­gans.”


Ke­fir grains – ask a friend to share theirs, look on shar­ing apps such as or buy them on­line from fresh­lyfer­, from £6.40 in­clud­ing p&p.

Milk (cow, goat or sheep)

A jar with a glass or plas­tic lid A plas­tic sieve milk. Put the lid on and leave the jar at room tem­per­a­ture for 24 hours. The next day, strain the mix­ture through a plas­tic sieve – this ke­fir is ready to drink or use in a recipe in place of yo­gurt. Put the “grains” in a clean jar and add more milk to make your next batch. Ke­fir too thin? Line the sieve with muslin or kitchen pa­per, place it over a bowl and tip in the ke­fir. Leave it to drip for an hour or so un­til you have a con­sis­tency you like. You can add the whey to smooth­ies.


If the slightly cheesy taste of ke­fir doesn’t ap­peal, add a lit­tle grated lemon zest, or make smooth­ies:

Blue­berry: blend 100ml ke­fir with half a ba­nana, 100g blue­ber­ries, and 100ml milk.

Mango spinach: blend 100ml ke­fir with 50ml milk, 100g frozen mango or pineap­ple and a hand­ful of spinach. Add more milk if it seems too thick. The com­pany has won Great Taste awards for its the mother – in the non-re­ac­tive con­tainer. Add about 750ml wine or cider (di­luted if nec­es­sary). Cover.

Leave for three weeks or so, then taste: if it has be­come vine­gary enough then you can start us­ing it, ei­ther spoon­ing it from the jar as you need it or ladling it off and pour­ing into bot­tles. Top it up with more al­co­hol as and when it suits you. 225ml ap­ple cider vine­gar or white wine vine­gar

200g caster sugar

3 bay leaves


If us­ing whole pomegranates, re­move the seeds and whizz to juice in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve and set 500ml of it aside.

Gen­tly heat the vine­gar, sugar and bay leaves in a pan for a few min­utes, just un­til the sugar dis­solves.

Take off the heat and mix with the pome­gran­ate juice.

Leave for a cou­ple of hours, and then lift out and dis­card the bay leaves. Pour the shrub into a ster­ilised bot­tle and put in the fridge for five days be­fore us­ing.

The shrub will keep for at least a month so long as it is stored in the fridge.

The Vine­gar Cup­board by An­gela Clut­ton (Blooms­bury Ab­so­lute, £26) is pub­lished on March 7

GOOD BAC­TE­RIA Ke­fir is a mega mi­crobe mix for your gut; fer­mented veg­eta­bles such as sauer­kraut are ver­sa­tile

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