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Foods -- Dairy Products

What is kefir?

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Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated in southeastern Europe. It is like yogurt, but is more fluid. Streptococcus and Lactobacillus bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid giving the drink its tartness. Lactose fermenting yeast produces a small amount of alcohol. Globules of yeast organisms float to the top and give it a grainy look. It is used as a drink, and as a substitute for yogurt in quick breads, casseroles, soups, etc. Once you have kefir, you may make more just as you would use yogurt to start another batch of yogurt.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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