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I have been making Kefir at home for a month now, and it has become very easy to make larger and larger quantities. I usually just drink it, or strain it and spread it on bread. Would any of you want to suggest other uses? Thanks!

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(in response to flags) - I am leaving this question open because I think it does meet our culinary uses guidelines. For any disagreements, please use vote-to-close or open up a meta discussion. –  Aaronut Feb 5 '13 at 0:28
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5 Answers 5

Most of mine I make into smoothies and drink as you said. This is also the only way I saw it consumed in Russia.

It can be interesting in baked goods. The same places you would use buttermilk you can use kefir. It gives an interesting yeasty flavor that works well in some recipes.

For some time now I have been meaning to try straining it, sweetening, and churning in my icecream freezer. I'll bet the carbonation would make an interesting texture.

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+1 - I was about to add the buttermilk substitution to my answer until I saw it in yours. –  justkt Sep 14 '10 at 15:44
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Kefir is often used as the agent in soaking grains, if you believe that soaking has health benefits (which is debatable). Even if you don't, soaking grains provides a unique texture to your baked goods. There are recipes for soaked bread, muffins, crackers, cookies, and more available on health food blogs. If you want to learn how to adapt favorite recipes for soaking, here is a tutorial. Note that it is from a very pro-soaking point of view.

Kefir can also be a base for a smoothie if you want to dress it up as a drink.

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Interesting idea- I'm going to try that next time I use wheat. –  Sobachatina Sep 14 '10 at 15:47
    
Thank you, I never knew about this before. –  Adam C Sep 15 '10 at 17:11
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@Adam - I'd be careful going whole hog into the soaking thing, at least from a health perspective. Some people indicate that if you eat any grain without soaking (unless it's white flour), you are going to feel absolutely awful. If you research this, you'll realize all the supposed health benefits come from only one book and there's no authoritative study out there behind it. –  justkt Sep 15 '10 at 17:38
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Serve as a drink along with potatoes fried on butter.

Peeled, sliced potatoes fried to golden-browns on a frying pan, optionally with some thinly chopped dill, and a glass of chilled Kefir is the traditional slavic country cuisine dish, and the drink of sour, cold, slightly chunky Kefir versus hot, fat, crunchy potatoes provide the perfect golden middle between the two tastes.

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I followed a recipe for homemade ranch dressing. Thickened kefir was used instead of sour cream. It's barely thinner than bottled and tastes so much better.

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You can also make Farmer's Cheese(aka Quark, a type of soft cheese) out of it. It will take a bit more watching than using regular cultured milk, but the end result is the same.

You do pretty much the same thing as you would with cultured milk. The flavor may be a bit different, but is otherwise the same (still tastes good). In fact, all of the commercial kefir producers in the USA also produce Farmer Cheese (to my knowledge). Basically, you cook kefir over a low heat for several hours until it curdles and then run the result through a cheesecloth until all liquid is draining. Salt/sweeten to taste.

If you use kefir smoothie, you may have more difficulty getting it to curdle. But it is possible (I've had both), though the color will be a bit off.

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