I've started fermenting milk kefir again. I took a break from milk kefir back in the warmer months when it was fermenting so quickly. (I tried freezing some grains, and refridgerating some in milk, and neither really came back... probably from neglect... so I bought some more grains from here). They way I do it is, I put the grains in milk (organic or goats milk, depending on what I have more of) in a Fowlers Vacola Jar with a Fowlers Vacola Snap On lid, which provides a fairly firm seal (read more about the controversy of using such jars here, here and here). I leave the jar in a warm spot on my kitchen bench, for about 48 hours, as it is Winter here and they are quite 'slow' at the moment. I know when it is ready because you can see it start to thicken, it smells and tastes tangy/ sour, and you can even see a little seperation between the curds and whey (in Summer, it would get to the seperated point very quickly!) The substance that forms is called a 'kefir yoghurt', or some call it a 'kefir cheese'. Then I stir the mix up a bit, and remove the clumps of sticky grains, and put them into a new glass container and add some fresh milk (which starts the brewing process again). With the thick & tangy milk 'kefir yoghurt' I have, it then gets strained. I use a coffee filter in a small sieve, which sits on top of a bowl. After straining like this overnight in the fridge, I then have a thicker yoghurt in the filter, and of course, a small amount of whey in the bowl. The whey is useful for many purposes, such as soaking leftover bread scraps for the chooks, or making lacto-fermented foods. I did try Wild Fermentation (read this) and perhaps at the time, our kitchen didn't have enough 'wild' bacterias floating around (or maybe it was because I was a complete novice, not having even eaten sauerkraut, so had no idea what it should become like). Since having whey available to me, I add it to my lacto-fermenting foods and find it works every time.
In Winter, when my favourite lacto-fermented salsa is out, but I still crave the lacto-fermented goodness in something tangy, and something crunchy, I thought I would try something I'd read about and been interested in since I started this whole lacto-fermenting adventure... LF Carrot Sticks! I don't have an exact recipe to give you, but mine was sort of based on this one and this one. I used himalayan salt crystals, garlic, ginger, little bit of chilli, dill & dill seeds from the garden, and organic carrots. I used the whey, and topped up the mix with filtered rainwater (chlorine and fluoride free). It lacto-fermented in my small Pickl-It jar for about 6 days. They were certainly very tangy, still crunchy, salty, and overpoweringly garlicky and dilly. Oooh, very nice. Whilst I could eat a lot of them, I think it would be coming out in your skin (and breath) for days. A few on a salad, or add some crunchy condiments to the side of a dish might be safer.