3

I have trouble getting my Kefir to cleanly separate on a consistent basis, despite allowing it to sit out for multiple extra days, prior to refrigeration. As my house does not remain at the same temperature year round (nor day-to-day), I suspect temperature is a major contributor to the problem. I have tried heaters, and although I can get the room quite hot, the separation is minimal, just as without the heaters. Is there a special heater, etc. for this separation that would work for kefir cheese?

  • 1
    Just a general question, but don't you have to strain it through cheesecloth or something to make the cheese anyway? I've made plenty of soft cheeses, and in cases like kefir and yogurt, you generally hang the "cheese" and let it strain for a day or so. The remaining solids will be moist, so while it may help a bit to have better separation, you're going to strain it anyway. Is there a reason you need a stronger separation? Is the whey not dripping off? (If not, you probably need greater acidity, but healthy kefir should produce plenty.) – Athanasius Jun 13 '15 at 23:57
  • Yes, I strain it through cheesecloth then use a cheese press. However, even at high pressures, I only end up with something slightly harder than standard cream cheese. It can still be used as cream cheese, but I am trying to make a hard cheese that can be grated. – user35927 Jun 17 '15 at 14:19
  • 1
    Do you have experience making other hard cheeses, particularly with rennet? If you don't use rennet, it can take quite a bit of effort in pressing and drying over a period of weeks (or even months) to produce a stable dry cheese, and it may still be somewhat crumbly. Good advice on dried kefir cheeses here. In any case, as long as your kefir is acidic enough to cause the milk to firm up, it should allow separation of whey when drained and pressed. – Athanasius Jun 17 '15 at 17:51
  • Nope, this is my first type of cheese, and I have not used rennet for health reasons. Thanks for the link. – user35927 Jun 23 '15 at 23:07
1

With milk kefir, if you over-ferment it, you will see it break into at least two if not three layers. Slightly cloudy whey is one of them. Without that, you can strain out some grains, but getting a curd is going to be difficult. You can try acidifying the kefir with lemon juice or vinegar to coax out a curd, but it would be much easier if you let it over-ferment. That means patience (many days) if you have a cool ambient temperature or you can somehow keep it warm (say 30C) for a day. The type of milk matters too. Homogenised fresh milk tends to be harder to work with, and UHT tends to be easier.

You need to see a distinct layer of whey first before trying. It should not take more than half a day to strain out the curd. Salting the over-fermented kefir before straining also helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.