Kefir is made of kefir grains, the taste, consistency, and overall texture can vary from person to person. Some kefir grains are better quality, while some are less quality. You can also buy both dry and fresh grains, which can, in some way influence the taste.
Nonetheless, kefir’s taste isn’t something everyone loves. If you love yogurt and other probiotic beverages, kefir might be the right thing for you. Coupled with its numerous health benefits, kefir is a real deal!
Okay now. Without further ado, let’s see how your kefir should taste and look like.
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What Does Kefir Taste Like?
Let’s begin with the milk kefir first, since it’s most common. Milk kefir resembles a taste that’s very similar to yogurt. In fact, we can safely say that it can be quite a good substitute for this creamy dairy drink. Those who tried kefir say that it’s like the champagne of milk, which is anything but bad.
While the water kefir has almost the same taste, some compare it to Italian soda, which is essentially carbonated water with the mixed-in cream.
Thankfully, kefir isn’t something you’ll drink forcefully. Many healthy foods are great for our health but we don’t eat them gladly. The example being broccoli or beans. However, kefir is both healthy AND very delicious. Milk kefir can not only be a substitute for yogurt but can also be more delicious, depending on the other ingredients. Kefir can also be mixed with various flavorings, fruit or honey. This will enhance the flavor even more, making it more suitable for those who dislike this yogurty taste.
The coconut milk can also be used for kefir. We know that many of you don’t like coconut but it can make a pretty big difference in kefir. After all, it’s all up to you to decide. Kefir, mixed with anything but water or milk, has a taste similar to yogurt and that’s all about its taste.
What Kefir Smells Like?
The smell of kefir is a bit hard to describe. While it smells like yogurt for sure, it isn’t 100% identical to it. There is definitely a hint of vinegar here or even bread. Some people say it smells like cheesecake but we doubt that’s true unless you mix in some other ingredients. The smell can also depend on the ingredients, as we mentioned. Mixing in a lot of kefir grains in the small amount of water or milk will surely make the smell much stronger. All in all, kefir can have a mild smell that reminds of yogurt and a very sharp smell that reminds of cheese – specifically, cheddar.
What many people also noticed is that the smell can change depending on the temperature. During the winter time, the smell is mild and smells like bread. During the hotter periods of time, like spring and summer, the smell varies from cheesy to vinegary. If you’re worried that your jars might interrupt the smell, you can always wash them deeply, and there’s no better way of doing that than with some hot water and dishwashing agent or dishwasher.
Consistency of Kefir
Kefir can range anywhere from being completely water to being thick. If you’ve ever tried buttermilk, we can then compare it to that. Kefir will get thicker when it’s cold (in the winter) or when it’s refrigerated. Adding some cream or milk that’s higher in fat can also make it thicker. Despite the fact that it can be thick, it’s still not as thick as yogurt. On the contrary, it can be water when kept in the warm conditions, such as the room temperature in the summer. Adding some low-fat milk can also keep it from being very thick.
Why does this happen? Well, an ever-changing environment can alter its consistency, as well as flavor. Literally, anything can induce this change – anything from temperature change, climate change, milk change, etc. If you want to make delicious kefir, you’ll need an environment that’s not prone to extreme changes. For example, if it’s a couple of Celsius during the day and in the night it’s -20℃, that’s a drastic change. The worst time you can make kefir is during spring. At that time, one day can be very hot and the next day can be rainy and significantly colder.
If you live near the desert, you can also experience the desert climate, which is what we described just a second before. Whether it’s very hot during the day and freezing cold during the night. This change in temperature will alter the acidic curds in kefir, resulting in a gritty texture and different, sharper flavor. Sometimes, the grains can’t adapt to the temperature and you’ll need to work something out. Remember that anything below 21℃ and above 24℃ isn’t going to cut it. You can either move it to a hotter or colder place or simply preheat your room to the required temperature.
Changing milk or water is also going to change the flavor. Lactose-free milk is going to react differently than pure, full-fat cow milk. Remember that the temperature plays a huge role. With so many strains of bacteria and yeast in kefir, it’s pretty logical that temperature is very important. One strain of bacteria will sometimes respond very well, while the other will respond poorly. All of this can have a huge impact on the finished product and is not something to get mad about. It’s just a natural response to the temperature changes, which is the main characteristic of kefir grains.
As the kefir ferments, it will separate and that’s something that you can’t influence. It’s a natural way in which kefir is built. However, kefir can be drunk right before it separates and after it separates, which can also change its flavor. Usually, kefir can be drunk after 12-18 hours, until it’s not yet separated. For kefir to be fully separated, it can take around 24 hours, which is when most people consume it. Bear in mind that raw milk always take more time to separate and that’s perfectly normal.
In the beginning, you’ll see pockets of bubbles at the bottom of the jar. During the fermentation process, they will gradually move upward, meaning that there is a substantial amount of acidic by-products. These by-products help in separating proteins from curds and whey. The longer the fermentation lasts, the tarter your kefir will be. This is where it comes to the matter of personal preference. If you like tart kefir, you should wait until it’s fully fermented.
If you like a mild flavor, you can drink it after 12 to 15 hours of fermentation.
For those who had any doubt about kefir’s taste, we hope we helped in removing them. Kefir isn’t something that you’ll suffer while drinking it. Instead, its taste is similar to yogurt or any kind of dairy products, which is a taste that most people love. Having a huge amount of good bacteria and probiotic capabilities, kefir is a beverage that you’ll gladly consume every day.
If you’ve read our article thoroughly, you know that the flavor can depend on various factors and not only the ingredients. Be sure to keep your kefir in temperature between 21℃ and 24℃ and check regularly on it. If you use a regular cow or goat milk, be prepared to wait a little longer for kefir to be fermented.
Finally, if you want creamy, thick kefir, you’ll need to keep it in the cold place. For watery kefir, a higher temperature is always welcome. The difference between flavors is mild but it’s only a matter of preference.