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Where to find kefir culture versus grains or starter kit in GTA???

I'm interested in making kefir but have read that if it's best to find the "culture". The question is "where"?

I read this on a site on the subject:

"The easiest way to obtain some kefir culture is to get some from a friend who is making kefir. Try to obtain kefir grains, not just a "starter", which is sometimes sold. Kefir grains can be used "forever", whereas "starters" can only be used 7 times or so."

I'm completely confused now... Is it culture, grains, starter?? Help!!!!

I know Noah's sells a starter kit, but if anyone else can offer some direction on where I can find these magic beans that apparently resemble "cauliflower", I'd be grateful.

Thanks.

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  1. I'm also hoping to make my own kefir. I was hoping I could use some store-bought product as a culture. Hopefully, someone with experience will respond.

    3 Replies
    1. re: garlicscapes

      I'm quite surprised that there haven't been any responses, but I did some more research and found this link... Seems there's an international organization or kefir grains... I contacted several on the list and will let you know if I have any luck.

      http://www.torontoadvisors.com/Kefir/...

      1. re: Moimoi

        Can't you just buy plain kefir at the store, preferably made from organic ingredients and use some as a starter for making your own homemade batch? You'd probably have to have fresh starter each time, but if you're making it regularly, you can use a bit of your homemade as a starter for each subsequent batch, just like you would with yogurt.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          I make my own yogurt, so I thought that as well... I use part of my last batch to start my next batch.... makes sense. Then I started doing some research, and either there's a kefir culture conspiracy out there, or you can't do it. Here's my thinking now, based on what I learned... Kefir culture or grains look like cauliflower florets. I think once the fermented kefir is separated, they REMOVE the cultures/grains from the kefir, leaving it infertile, so to speak... at least that's my kooky theory. No one seems to really clearly explain it online. Let's see if someone else comes along and helps us on this. I just broke down and bought the starter kit from Noahs and will be trying it on the weekend.

          p.s. "fresh starters are expensive, and not worth it if you have to buy a new package each time. Kits come with three envelopes at $6.00... When I make my yogurt, I make four litres for $3.99. I don't want an extra expense every time - it defeats the purpose for me, which is healthy, but also economical.

    2. The kefir and yogurt made with the startes sold at Noah's are very sour.
      One time, I used to buy the starter for "Caspian sea yogurt" on ebay - that was delicious...

      2 Replies
      1. re: carissima

        I have a starter kit as well, that I bought from Zehrs/Loblaws in the refrigerated area of the health food section. The brand is Yogourmet. I also bought a yogurt starter kit as well (same company). I haven't tried either one yet. I was hoping to experiment with goat milk. It says on the box that the starter is freeze-dried. It doesn't say anything on the package about having to remove the starter at any point from the kefir that is produced. It also says nothing about being able to use a current batch of kefir to "start" another batch, though why would they want you to think that you won't ever need their product again? It may be absolutely possible.

        I agree that it will be a pricey project, at least the first few times, until I get it right. But, if a small portion of a good batch using the commercial starter can be used as the starter for the next batch, and so on, it could wind up being more economical if a number of batches can be produced from a single original packet. Of course, this means making kefir regularly, but if it's good, that might be the goal anyway.

        I might have to try it this weekend. When I do, I'll report back. Good luck, Moimoi.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          Try and get some of the grains from that website posted above. I did and it is amazing! It makes yummy kefir for very little money. The commercial starters are not the same. Good luck with your kefir adventures!

      2. In the interest of pooling info here is a site that helped me understand the different states and differences between the cultures and the seeds. You can buy the "live" seeds from them, but they don't mail to Canada.

        http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/

        Hope this helps.

        1. What part of the city do you live in? I make kefir at home with grains that I received from someone else who makes them that way. I am happy to give some away...the reproduce like crazy. And BTW kefir is by its nature sour :)

          1. Sometimes people give the grains away on freecycle. It's a bit weird picking up live cultures from a stranger off the internet but hey. If anyone is looking for grains, they could try posting a wanted notice on freecycle.