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Caspian Sea Yoghurt

Caspian Sea Yoghurt

Makes 1 Litre
In a 1 litre glass/ ceramic bowl / jug mix 900mls milk and 100mls of Caspian Sea Yoghurt from a previous batch.
Blend together by stirring well with a fork or whisk.
Cover with a loose cloth. (Masking tape across the bowl will stop the cloth falling in if the bowl is wide.)
Leave for 12 - 24 hours at room temperature until thick and to your taste.
Store in the fridge uncovered for up to 2 weeks.

Ideally to keep your culture strong, make the yoghurt once per week, however the occasional 2 week lapse will be fine.

The hardest part about making Caspian Sea Yoghurt is remembering not to eat it all and to keep back at least 100mls to make your next batch.

You can use Caspian Sea Yoghurt to culture cream. The cream version of Caspian Sea Yoghurt is a wonderful substitute for sour cream or crème freche. This is a great way to reintroduce healthy bacteria back into pasteurised milk, but of course starting with raw is nutritionally better.

Caspian Sea Yoghurt is believed to have been introduced into Japan in 1986 by researchers returning from a trip to the Caucasus region in Georgia. This variety, called Matsoni, is started with Lactococcus lactis subsp, cremoris and Acetobacter orientalis species and has a unique, viscous, honey-like texture. It is milder in taste than other varieties of yoghurts.
Caspian Sea Yoghurt is ideal for making  at home because it requires neither special equipment nor unobtainable culture. It can be made at room temperature (20–30°C) in 10 to 15 hours. In Japan, freeze-dried starter cultures are sold in department stores and online, although many people obtain starter cultures from friends.

Dairy Kefir

This is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating milk with kefir grains.

Makes 1 litre
1 litre milk
2 tablespoons kefir grains

Place grains and milk in a ceramic or glass bowl
Cover with a loose cloth. (Masking tape across the bowl will stop the cloth falling in if the bowl is wide.)
Leave at room temperature for 1 - 2 days stirring occasionally.
Taste periodically and when to your liking strain through a sieve, collecting the liquid.
Store the liquid in the fridge and use as required.
Rinse the grains (optional)
Make another batch
Store the grains in a small amount of milk in the fridge, replacing the milk weekly.

Grains will slowly increase in size and quantity over time. Grains will multiply faster if you do not rinse them and use them continuously to make new batches i.e. do not store them in the fridge.

Variation – Kefir Cheese

Leave the grains in the milk until the whey separates out
Strain through a sieve
Put thick kefir liquid (not the grains) into muslin and hang to drain over night
Add salt and herbs to taste

dairy kefir granualsKefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars that look like cauliflower. Today, kefir is becoming increasingly popular due to new research into its health benefits. Many different bacteria and yeasts are found in the kefir grains, which are a complex and highly variable community of micro-organisms.

Kefir has antimutagenic and antioxidant properties, and can possibly be used to prevent mutagenic and oxidative damage in the human body. One can change the nutrient content by simply fermenting for shorter or longer periods. Both stages have different health benefits. For instance, kefir over-ripened (which increases the sour taste) significantly increases folic acid content.

You can buy dry kefir culture and use to create kefir drink, however nutritionally this form of kefir is inferior.

Dairy Kefir is similar to yoghurt, but with a wider range of bacteria and yeasts, and a slightly tarter, yeastier flavour. It can be an acquired taste, but most people like it in smoothies.

For more information on kefir visit: Dom’s kefir website


Makes about 2 litres

3 litres filtered water
1 cup sugar
4 tea bags of organic black  or green tea (do not use Earl grey)
1/2 cup kombucha liquid from a previous culture
1 kombucha mushroom (sometimes referred to as a SCOBY Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeasts)

Note: Use white sugar, rather than honey or rapadura and black tea, rather than flavoured teas, give the best amounts of glucuronic acid. Non-organic tea is high in fluoride so always use organic tea bags.

Kombucha tea
  • Bring filtered water to boil
  • Add sugar and simmer until dissolved
  • Remove from heat
  • Add tea bags
  • Allow tea bags to soak until water is completely cooled
  • Remove tea bags
  • Pour cooled liquid into a 4 litre glass or ceramic bowl. Bowl should ideally be wider than it is taller. A large glass salad bowl is ideal.
  • Add 1/2 cup kombucha liquid from a previous batch
  • Place the mushroom/scoby on top of the liquid
  • Cover the bowl loosely with a cloth or towel (Masking tape across the bowl will stop the cloth falling into the bowl.)
  • Place the bowl in a warm, dark place, away from contaminants and insects. If ants are a problem place bowl in the middle of a baking dish filled with water thus creating a moat to keep ants out.

In about 7 to 10 days (depending on the room temperature, possibly longer during the winter if inside temperatures drop below 20 degrees) the kombucha will be ready. It should be rather sour and possibly fizzy, with no taste of tea remaining. Pour the kombucha into covered glass bottles and store at room temperature if you would like to make your klombucha a little fizzy. Chill prior to drinking. (Note: Do not wash kombucha bowl in the dishwasher.)

Storing kombucha  in old beer bottles (you will need a capper) is a great idea. During warm weather tightly sealed bottles may explode, so during high temperatures it pays to store in the fridge.

When the kombucha is ready, your mushroom may have grown a second spongy pancake. This can be used to make other batches or given away to friends.

Store mushrooms with one cup of kombucha liquid in the refrigerator in a glass container - never plastic.

A kombucha mushroom can be used dozens of times. If it begins to turn black or if the resulting kombucha doesn't sour properly, it's a sign that the culture has become contaminated. When this happens, it's best to throw away all your mushrooms and get a new clean one.

A word of caution: Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to kombucha. If you have allergies, start with a small taste to observe any adverse effects. If you react badly, use beet kvass for a few weeks to detoxify and then try again.

Water Kefir

3 Tablespoons water kefir grains
2 Tablespoons sugar
1.5 Cups filtered water
½ lemon (if not organic, take the skin off first)
A dried fig or a tablespoon of raisins
Sea shell (optional but adds minerals which the grains benefit from)

Ginger Beer Kefir

Water kefirAs above plus:
2 - 4 teaspoons of fresh ginger root juice. (Pound or chop finely about 60g fresh ginger root and blend it to a mash with half a cup of filtered water. Strain through a cloth, squeezing out the juice. Or, boil 1-2 tablespoons of ginger powder with 1 cup of filtered water. Strain through a fine cloth. Cool this liquid before adding it to your brew.

Make the kefir in a lidded glass container. Leave at least 3 centimetres at the top to accommodate the carbon dioxide gas produced by the fermentation process and to avoid explosions!

As your kefir grains reproduce, adjust the ratios of ingredients for a bigger batch, or make more batches.

Strain and rinse the grains under clean running water
Place grains in a jar with the other ingredients
Stir mixture until the sugar dissolves
Attach lid firmly to jar
Leave jar at room temperature for contents to ferment
Stir after 24 hours and as often as you like after that
Brew until the raisins (or dried fig) float to the surface and the liquid is a bit fizzy. (Approximately 48 hours, but takes less time in warmer weather.)
Scoop the lemon and raisins (or dried fig) off the top of the liquid
Strain the grains from the liquid
Rinse the grains thoroughly under cold water ready to use again or store
Squeeze the lemon into the liquid
Pour the liquid into bottles or jars and seal
Chill and drink now or
Leave to ferment for another day or so (second fermentation), then chill and drink

Store the grains in a lidded glass container, in a sugar water solution (1 tablespoon of sugar to 1 cup water), in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can also freeze kefir grains in plastic ziploc bags for 2 - 3 months.

Sugar: The grains do best on less-refined, more mineral-rich sugars, though any kind of cane sugar will do (refined white sugar, golden sugar, muscovado, rapadura).

Water: The grains do best in hard, highly mineralised water. If you are using soft or distilled water, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per 6 cups of water to keep the grains healthy.

Fermentation time: One of the main reasons why water kefir grains become sick and stop propagating is over-fermentation. In general, they should be brewed no longer than 2 days, though they may need 3 days in colder conditions. During the summer, daily brews might be needed to prevent over-fermentation.

Experimental Brews: Use surplus water kefir grains to make experimental brews using honey, herbs, or fruit juices. You can also try adding these other ingredients to the brew for the secondary fermentation.

Always keep a batch of water kefir grains brewing or at least 3 tablespoons of water kefir grains in storage.. Use only surplus grains for other recipes, as some ingredients may cause the grains to lose their vigour and stop growing.

For more information and recipes, go to:
Dom's kefir site or
Eat Fat Loose Fat by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig