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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making Kefir in the Summer

I must confess. I love where I live. We chose this house because we love the outside more than the inside, though... (we're renting, so at some point I am sure we will have to re-evaluate this issue!)

The kitchen leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. It has an impractical sink - it's a double sink, but the second side is really shallow. (It must be designed for fruit and vegetable washing?) The fridge and the dishwasher both open into the same space (they are at a 90 degree angle to one another) and I find that completely impractical. Imagine cleaning up after a meal, you're trying to wrap up perishables and stash them in the fridge, while the kids are loading the dishwasher, but only one of them can open at a time! It's like a see saw, up and down, up and down, open and closed, open and closed...

The only oven in the room is directly above the dishwasher, so it also opens into the same space as the fridge, and it is smaller than most of my baking pans. It is also one of those weird combination microwave/convection ovens. I had to buy an oven that is big enough to accommodate my baking pans, and I put in the laundry room - that's down one full flight of stairs! And that combination oven? I don't use it.

One more thing - no trisim on the windows! So in the late afternoon, if you are standing at the stovetop or using the counter (say, chopping up vegetables), you get blinded by the sun. (I guess I could go get shades, but that would mean I would have to actively do something to fix the problem, and I'm just not there yet!)

Oh. And no A/C unit in the kitchen. Can you say HOT?

I mean seriously, it is too hot for making kefir in the kitchen. Kefir is supposed to culture at room temperature. But I think they mean normal room temperature. Not 95 degrees Fahrenheit, as far as I know! A few kind readers gave me some tips, but I'm not installing an A/C unit and running it just to keep my Kefir going, and I don't have any cabinets that would qualify as "cool".

As I told you previously, I decided to use the cooler bag with an ice pack to maintain a somewhat steady temp for my culturing jar, until I figured out a better solution.

But that IS the solution! I have been getting perfectly wonderful Kefir, ready in 24-36 hours using this method. My grains are even growing! So, my temporary solution has become my permanent solution. No more stashing the culturing jar in the fridge, unless we are going away (ha! when will that happen?!)


And in case you were wondering, we don't love plain kefir. But we love smoothies, so we blend up kefir with any less than perfect fruit we want to use up, and then everyone enjoys a healthy smoothie! I love being able to feed my family healthy food that they think is a treat (and probiotic rich foods like kefir as really great for your body!)

4 comments:

  1. You should use the combination part of the oven - it can cut cooking time considerably - I used to have one of these years ago... sorry it broke - it lasted about 10 years and since then I have had a continual stream of microwaves that just do not last

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    Replies
    1. my normal oven has a convection setting, and I'm perfectly happy with it. This weird combination oven also was used by people who didn't keep kosher and to be honest, I just didn't feel like trying to figure out how on earth to kasher it. Plus my pans don't fit inside. So, I just ignore it. I mostly use my large size toaster oven with a convection bake setting anyhow for chalavi, and it works just fine and doesn't use a lot of energy!

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  2. What a smart solution!
    But it sounds like you are really unhappy with your kitchen.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Henya! and yes, I hate the kitchen in this house. Too bad for someone who actually likes to cook and bake. It is just draining me of creative cooking energy, though.

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