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Kefir, keefir, or kephir (/kəˈfir/ kə-FEER),[1][2]
alternatively milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk
drink made with kefir "grains" (a yeast/bacterial
fermentation starter) and has its origins in the north


Caucasus Mountains.[3] It is prepared by inoculating cow,
goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains.[4] Traditional kefir
was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the
bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the
doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well

1 Etymology

Alternative milk kefir, búlgaros

2 Overview
3 Nutrition


3.1 Nutritional composition
3.2 Probiotics
4 Research
5 Production
6 Milk types
7 Consumption
8 Culinary uses
9 Possible origin of kefir grains
10 See also
10.1 Other fermented dairy products
10.2 Other fermented beverages
11 References
12 Further reading
13 External links

milk, kefir grains (bacteria, salt,
yeasts, proteins, lipids, sugar)

Cookbook: Kefir

Media: Kefir

[3] Even successive batches of kefir may differ due to factors such as the kefir grains rising out of the milk while fermenting. which results in acidification of the product. as well as room temperature. Other substances that contribute to the flavor of kefir are pyruvic acid. break lactose down into ethanol and carbon dioxide. which use shorter fermentation times. For this reason.[7] Kefir has become the most commonly used term.[10] The slow-acting yeasts.[8] Kefir grains. which imparts a creamy texture and feeling in the mouth. The composition of kefir depends greatly on the type of milk that was fermented.2–0. carbonated. acetaldehyde and amino acids resulting from protein breakdown. Depending on the process. Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour. the sugar present in milk. Lactose.[9] Kefir grains contain a water-soluble polysaccharide known as kefiran. late in the fermentation process. a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts The kefir grains initiating the fermentation are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins. Lactobacillus species are always present. The grains range in color from white (the acceptable color of healthy grains). diacetyl and acetoin (both of which contribute a "buttery" flavor). existing in the Russian language since at least 1884. result in much lower ethanol concentrations of 0. a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains although some predominate. A portion of lactose is converted to Kefiran. acetic acid. slightly alcoholic beverage. and this symbiotic matrix. is broken down mostly to lactic acid (25%) by the lactic acid bacteria. which is indigestible by gastric digestion.[3] Propionibacteria further break down some of the lactic acid into propionic acid (these bacteria also carry out the same fermentation in Swiss cheese). citric acid. but may be known by other names in different geographic regions.3%. and in some cases larger. the latter is the outcome of leaving the grains in the same milk during fermentation for longer than the optimal 24-hour period. including the concentration of vitamin B12. (or SCOBY) forms "grains" that resemble cauliflower.Etymology The word kefir. or curds forming around the grains. ethanol concentration can be as high as 1–2% (achieved by small-scale dairies early in the 20th century). and continually doing so over many batches. changes in composition of nutrients and other ingredients occur. with the kefir having a bubbly appearance and carbonated taste. lipids. to yellow.[6] is probably of North Caucasian origin. Grains may grow to the size of walnuts. Overview Traditional kefir is fermented at ambient temperatures. During fermentation.[7] although some sources see a connection to Turkic köpür (foam). with a consistency and taste similar to thin yogurt. Most modern processes. generally overnight. and sugars. .

Streptococcus thermophilus. such as Kluyveromyces marxianus and Kluyveromyces lactis.[3][12][15] The significance of probiotic content to nutrition or health remains unproven. leucine.[14] Typical of milk. tryptophan.e. iron.[11] For the preparation of the present factory-produced kefir. Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens. and lemon juice) for a day or more at room temperature. threonine. and zinc in amounts that have not been standardized to a reputable nutrient database. and Kazachstania unispora. People with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate kefir. goat or sheep milk. such as calcium. manganese. Nutrition Nutritional composition Kefir preparation Kefir products contain nutrients in varying amounts from negligible to significant content. provided the number of live bacteria present in this beverage consumed is high enough (i. vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). fermentation has proceeded for adequate time). lysine. molybdenum. the so-called kefir mild. Bifidobacterium bifidum. Research . vitamins. allowing the flavor to be kept constant. but a precise composed mixture of different bacteria and yeast.[12] in amounts similar to unfermented cow.[13] Kefir is composed mainly of water and by-products of the fermentation process. as well as strains of yeast that do not metabolize lactose. isoleucine. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. cysteine. the nutritional significance of these strains is unknown. including dietary minerals. vitamin B1 (thiamine). Torulaspora delbrueckii. essential amino acids. and conjugated linoleic acid. vitamin C.. potassium. vitamin B2 (riboflavin). It has also been shown that fermented milk products have a slower transit time than milk. sodium.[13] kefir contains vitamins in variable amounts. phenylalanine.[14] as for any milk product. including carbon dioxide and ethanol. kefir often contains strains of yeast that can metabolize lactose. including vitamin A. and vitamin E.[16][17] Lactobacilli in kefir may exist in concentrations varying from approximately 1 million-1 billion colonyforming units per milliliter and are the bacteria responsible for the synthesis of the polysaccharide kefiran. including Saccharomyces cerevisiae. vitamin B9 (folic acid). and they vary markedly from kefir in both appearance and microbial composition.[14] Essential amino acids found in kefir include methionine. magnesium. vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).[14] Also similar to milk.[3] however. several dietary minerals are found in kefir. and Leuconostoc species. Lactococcus lactis. vitamin B3 (niacin).[13] Probiotics Several varieties of probiotic bacteria are found in kefir products such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. kefir grains are no longer used. Lactobacillus helveticus. Water kefir (or tibicos) is grown in water with sugar (sometimes with added dry fruit such as figs. vitamin D.[4] In addition to bacteria.As a result of the fermentation. copper. phosphorus. and valine. very little lactose remains in kefir. which may further improve lactose digestion. Variations that thrive in various other liquids exist. tyrosine. bulgaricus.

Milk types Kefir grains will ferment the milk from most mammals. The first step is to prepare the cultures by incubating milk with grains (2–3%). which is traditionally agitated one or more times a day.A 2003 study found that consumption of the polysaccharide kefiran by human adults with lactose intolerance led to a significant decrease in flatulence. Raw milk has been traditionally used. After a period of fermentation lasting around 24 hours. . each with varying organoleptic and nutritional qualities. and coconut milk. coconut water. goat. allowing room for some expansion as the carbon dioxide gas produced causes the liquid level to rise. A portion of the resulting kefir can be saved to be used a number of times to propagate further fermentations but ultimately does not form grains. and eventually split. which can be stainless steel or food grade plastic and reserved as the natural-starter to once again ferment a fresh amount of liquid. used in recipes. If the container is not light proof it should be stored in the dark to prevent degradation of light sensitive vitamins. and will continue to grow in such milk. It is not filled to capacity. and a fresh culture must be obtained. The grains are then removed by filtration and the resulting liquid mother culture is added to milk (1–3%) which is fermented for 12 to 18 hours. and sheep. Kefir grains will also ferment milk substitutes such as soy milk. the kefir grains may cease growing if the medium used does not contain all the growth factors required by the bacteria. The Russian method permits production of kefir on a larger scale. as just described.[19] Kefir can be produced using freeze-dried cultures commonly available as a powder from health food shops. the grains are removed from the liquid by straining using a non-corrosive straining utensil. ideally at 20– 25 °C (68–77 °F). Today the leather bag is replaced with a suitable non corrosive container such as a glass jar. Typical milks used include cow.[18] The grains will enlarge in the process of kefir production. beer wort and ginger beer. This process further sours the liquid and through bio-synthesis by certain micro-organisms folic acid and some other B vitamins is increased. the shelf life is up to thirty days. However. and uses two fermentations. or kept aside in a sealed container for several days to undergo a slower secondary fermentation. rice milk. as well as other sugary liquids including fruit juice.[12] Production Production of traditional kefir requires a starter community of kefir grains which are added to the liquid one wishes to ferment. 90 grams of kefir grains The fermented liquid-kefir which contains live micro-organisms from the grains. Without refrigeration. The traditional. or artisanal method of making kefir is achieved by directly adding kefir grains (2–10%) to milk in a sealed goatskin leather bag. may now be consumed as a beverage.

Other variations of kefir soups.[20] Additionally. Culinary uses As it contains lactobacilli bacteria. Australia. It is also useful as a buttermilk substitute in baking. followed by culture on the surface of Lithuanian kefir-based cold borscht (šaltibarščiai) milk.Milk sugar is not essential for the synthesis of the polysaccharide that makes up the grains (kefiran). although they will change in appearance and size due to the differing proteins available to them. and studies have shown that rice hydrolysate is a suitable alternative medium.[21] Consumption Kefir is a popular drink across Eastern and Northern Europe. and other foods prepared with kefir are popular across the former Soviet Union and Poland.[25] See also List of yogurt-based dishes and beverages Other fermented dairy products Ayran Buttermilk Chaas Chalap Doogh Filmjölk . and the United Kingdom. Kefir is one of the main ingredients in cold borscht in Lithuania. kefir can be used to make a sourdough bread. Possible origin of kefir grains Kefir grains may be produced by using pasteurized milk inoculated with sheep intestinal flora. it might have been introduced by one of the various waves of migrants from the former Ottoman Empire and migrants from Eastern Europe. granola or milkshakes. Kefir may be used in place of milk on cereal. the United States and Europe.[22] In Chile. it has been shown that kefir grains will reproduce when fermenting soy milk. but is now becoming popular in Japan. and kefir can be found in pasteurized form in many stores and supermarkets. where it is known as "yogur de pajaritos" (little birds' yogurt). such as kefir-based okroshka. The alleged health benefits of kefir have recently been popularized in North America. kefir has been regularly consumed for over a century. followed by a biofilm created by the adherence of additional bacteria and yeasts to the granule exterior. It was consumed in Russia and Central Asian countries for centuries.[23][24] Other studies indicate small kefir granules may form initially from aggregations of lactobacilli and yeast.

(1997). "Kefir and health: a contemporary perspective". Kok-Tas T. ISBN 978-0-07-110231-5. Retrieved 19 November 2014. p. version 21. " 3. "A review on traditional Turkish fermented non-alcoholic beverages: microbiota.13938. Nisa M. F. search EFSA for other opinion reports on probiotics" (PDF). Handbook of Fermented Functional foods. Int J Food Microbiol 167 (1): 44–56. doi:10. Khan ST. 12.13938. vol. PMID 23859403. Seydim AC (March 2011). Lactobacillus helveticus LA 102.1590/S1517-83822013000200001. 2014. (2011). V. Edward R (4 April 2005). Brit J . Rijkers GT. Cheese and Fermented Milk Foods. Heperkan D (October 2013). I.reference. "Origin of KEFIR". Nutritiondata. F. "The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language – kefir". Agronomie. Retrieved 20 December 2014. Kowsikowski. Edward R. Silva JT. 17. Greene AK. Lactococcus lactis LA 103 and Streptococcus thermophillus LA 104 and reducing intestinal discomfort pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 (example. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 53 (5): 422–34. Kowsikowski. Harley. 15. Conde Nast.ijfoodmicro. 13. "Kefir – a complex probiotic" (PDF). Ahmad A. PMID 24294220. 5. Braz J Microbiol 44 (2): 341–9. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 51 (3): 261–8. V. Miguel MA. 10.1016/j. doi:10. European Food Safety Authority. 16. Daskaya-Dikmen C.1080/10408398. Wang Y. PMC 3833126. Peixoto RS. Food Science & Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods 2 (1): 1–17. one US cup. Afreen A (2013). Biotechnologie. doi:10. "Health benefits and health claims of probiotics: bridging science and marketing". de Oliveira Leite AM. Veronique Ninane. Prescott. Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods 2 (1): 1–17..). "Review: functional properties of kefir". "Nutrition facts for fluid sheep milk. London: McGraw–Hill. EFSA Journal 2013.016. 2nd Ed. doi:10. Farnworth. (2005). Microbiology (7th ed. 3rd ed. ISBN 0-9656456-0-6. 2008. 1040. 11. 14. Klein. PMID 23391011.2010. 7. Retrieved 2012-11-08. Altay F.reference. fermentation process and quality characteristics".Kumis Leben Labneh Lassi Matsoni Mursik Shubat Skyr Viili Yogurt Other fermented beverages Boza Ginger beer Kombucha Tibicos References 1. Conn. "kefir" (http://www. Oxford Dictionaries. doi:10. 9. Farnsworth. technological and therapeutic properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage". 4. Gilbert Berben. kefir (http://dictionary. Standard Reference. Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.11(2):3085. Ahmed Z. Westport. USDA Nutrient Database. 2.1616/1476-2137. et al.1616/1476-2137. Paschoalin VMI (October 2013). "Variability of the microbial abundance of kefir grain starter cultivated in partially controlled conditions" (PDF). Rosado AS.540360. Farnworth. Edward R. Jean-Michel Romne and Robert Oger (2005). Société et Environnement 5 (3): 191–194.2013.06. CRC Press. and Mistry. Ahmad H. "Kefir-a complex probiotic" (PDF). Guzel-Seydim ZB. Karbancıoglu-Güler F. PMID 21390946. "Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to a combination of Bifidobacterium longum LA 101. 245 ml". 6. Editor.

M.1017/S0022029999003490.H. E. (1997). Chen.1080/19476337. doi:10. S (2004-08-25). A.. Journal of Dairy Research (Cambridge University Press) 66 (2): 327–333. "A review: chemical. Mazaheri.1017/S000711451100287X.. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1. 19. doi:10. S. microbiological and nutritional characteristics of kefir". Fooladi. 20. Fooladi. M. PMID 19528577. Chen.-J.2008-1669. Goltapeh. Arslan. Suzuki. . H. Zhu. Farkhondeh. doi:10.2012. M.18. PMID 22986190. M. J.. 24. M. H. "Structural characterization and biological activities of an exopolysaccharide kefiran produced by Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens WT-2B(T)". PMID 15315396. doi:10. Retrieved 2007-06-10. (1997). Farkhondeh. 21. Suzuki. doi:10. 25. N. (May 1999).. Goltapeh.2014. Kitamura. "Investigation of microorganisms involved in biosynthesis of the kefir grain". Retrieved 12 November 2013. 2008. doi:10. K. de Antoni..981588. Maeda. 23. T.1016/j. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology 13 (5): 579–581.M.3168/jds. Moazami. M..-H.07. Mazaheri. Nutr 106 (9): 1–6.-R. Liu. Seher (26 November 2014).1023/A:1018577728412. N. Graciela L. M. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology 13 (5): 579–581.1021/jf049617g. Retrieved 2007-06-09. Chen.... 22.001.. Abraham. Motegi. Journal of Dairy Science 92 (7): 3002–3013. doi:10.. Food Microbiology 32 (2): 274–285. A. CyTA – Journal of Food 13 (3): 340–345. "Microbiological and chemical properties of kefir manufactured by entrapped microorganisms isolated from kefir grains" (PDF). Sheng-Yao Wang and Kun-Nan Chen and Yung-Ming Lo and Ming-Lun Chiang and Hsi-Chia Chen and Je-Ruei Liu and Ming-Ju Chen (2012)... doi:10. et al. M. PMID 10376251.. "Fabrication of kefir".. Motaghi. K. Analía G. "Characterization of kefir grains grown in cows' milk and in soy milk". Moazami.-N. "Kefir production in Iran" (PDF). "Short Communication: Kefir production in Iran".1023/A:1018577728412. PMID 21861940. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (American Chemical Society) 52 (17): 5533–8. (2009).-J. X. E.







edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/factsheets/kefir.html). New International Encyclopedia. Margulis. 1905. Lynn.php?title=Kefir&oldid=718868215" . Scientific American Magazine. Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Cookbook:Kefir (http://www. August 1994. Death and Kefir.Further reading Katz. Sandor Ellix (2003). the free dictionary. p. Collier's New Encyclopedia. Look up kefir in Wiktionary. Nutrition. ISBN 1-931498-23-7.uga. from the National Center for Home Food Preservation "Kephir". "Kephir". Sex. Retrieved from " 1921. External links Fermented Foods: Kefir Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kefir. and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.wikipedia. Chelsea Green Publishing Company. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor. 96.

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