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Kefir

What is Kefir?

Kefir (the second syllable is stressed, “keh-fear”) originated from the North Caucasus mountains in Russia, and has been enjoyed for over 2000 years for both its delicious flavour and gut-friendly health benefits.

Kefir is a cultured milk drink made by adding Kefir ‘grains’, a range of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, to milk which under the right conditions causes it to ferment.

During fermentation, the bacteria and yeasts consume most of the lactose in the milk, resulting in the pleasant taste and texture of Kefir. This means that Kefir is naturally lower in lactose, making it a great option for people who struggle to digest lactose.

Biotiful Kefir is made with cow’s milk and naturally packed with essential vitamins and minerals (including B12 and B2), is high in protein and calcium and free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Where does Kefir originate from?

Kefir originates from the North Caucasus mountains in Russia where cow, goat or sheep milk was naturally fermented using Kefir grains. The grains were passed from one batch of milk to the next to pass on the beneficial and tasty bacteria and yeasts.

Kefir has been consumed for over 2000 years because of its delicious taste and health benefits.

What is the difference between yogurt and Kefir?

Kefir and yogurt are similar in terms of taste, but Kefir often has more, and a wider variety of, beneficial bacteria and contains yeast while yogurts generally contain only a few bacterial strains. Kefir is also generally thinner in consistency so is often sold as a beverage while yogurts are more of a spoonable snack. Kefir is sometimes called the ‘champagne’ of milk for these reasons.

What are cultured milk drinks?

Cultured milk drinks are made by fermenting milk with beneficial bacteria, which gives the milk a thicker texture and slightly tart, yogurt-like taste.

Biotiful Kefir

Which bacteria strains are in Biotiful Kefir?

Our Kefir contains over 40 strains of gut-friendly bacteria, including but not limited to Lactococcus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These are all naturally occurring bacteria in milk and grow best when fermented in milk. This is why a milk-based Kefir is going to give you the greatest benefits from these cultures.

Do you make your Kefir from pasteurised milk?

Yes, we make our Kefir from pasteurised milk, and this is done before fermentation.

Pasteurisation of our milk is vitally important for the safety of our products, and is also required by UK law when sold for public consumption. Pasteurisation kills the pathogenic bacteria (the bacteria that will likely make you sick) in the raw milk, which is particularly important for Kefir because of the necessary fermentation process once the Kefir cultures are added; if we didn’t kill all of the pathogens before fermentation, there would be a risk of growing bad bacteria instead of our good ones!

What allergens do Biotiful products contain?

None, except for cow’s milk (naturally!). This means that our Kefir, Kefir Protein and Kefir for Kids range are all vegetarian, gluten-free and preservative-free.

How long are Biotiful Kefir products fermented for?

It is over 10 hours with the specific, grains-based cultures that we use.

Is your Kefir made from Kefir grains?

Yes, our Kefir is made from superior, perfectly balanced authentic kefir grains (which are freeze-dried and powdered for transportation). The quality of the grains and milk that we use mean our Kefir has a beautiful taste and texture.

Why is your Kefir not fizzier / bubblier?

Some Kefir have a tingling taste as the cultures have a higher percentage of yeasts than bacterial cultures. We select the very best quality and variety of Kefir cultures with the perfect balance of yeasts and bacteria, then closely monitor our fermentation to achieve a naturally smooth finish.

What is the difference between Kefir and Baked Milk Kefir (Ryazhenka)?

The main differences between Kefir and Baked Milk Kefir (Ryiazhenka) is how the milk is treated and the types of Kefir cultures used. With Baked Milk, we gently heat the milk before fermentation, which gives it a naturally sweeter taste with no sugar added, before adding the cultures and fermenting. This provides a slightly thicker, creamier texture than our Original Kefir. As for the cultures, Baked Milk contains a Ryazhenka culture that’s not included in the Original Kefir recipe.

What is Kefir Protein?

Biotiful Kefir Protein is the world’s first ever combination of Kefir, the 2000 year old bio-active drink, and Quark, a high-protein fresh cheese. This brand new, unique product is best described as somewhere between strained yogurt and fresh cheese. It has a pure, natural taste and a delightfully thick and creamy texture. Packed with billions of gut-friendly bacteria and naturally high in protein, Kefir Protein boasts a wealth of health benefits.

Kefir Protein is great on its own or with toppings, such as fresh berries, nuts, dried coconut flakes and almonds. It works well as a light breakfast and our snack pots (available in Original, with Compote, and Topped with Seeds) are ideal for a post-exercise high-protein snack.

Does Kefir contain alcohol?

Kefir contains around 0.2% alcohol due to the presence of the yeasts in the cultures and a natural result of the fermentation. This is a miniscule amount, and is not an alcoholic drink by definition. To put this into context, a banana naturally contains approximately 0.5% alcohol.

What types of proteins can be found in Biotiful Kefir?

All milk contains a combination of both casein and whey proteins. Both nutritionally complete and naturally occurring in milk.

What breed of cows do you get your milk from?

Our milk is produced using milk from a range of different breeds of cows including, but not exclusively, Jersey, Holstein-Freisian and Hereford.

Biotiful Dairy products contain milk from farms that are Red Tractor assured. What does this mean?

Our conventional (non-organic) milk is produced at a ‘Red Tractor Assured’ Dairy, meaning it has to follow strict guidelines on the welfare of the herds and the quality of the facility itself.  If you would like to read more into the Red Tractor guidelines, please see them online. We go a step further: our herds are grass fed and we insist all cows have access to grazing, however it’s kinder for the cows to be inside during very hot or cold weather.  Grass would be the main source of feed all year round, but would be supplemented in winter with additional nutrients.  We also source all our Conventional milk from farms within a 25 mile radius of our Dairy in Dorset, and our Organic Kefir is made from organic-standard milk, most of which is from the Dairy’s own herd.

Biotiful is ‘Soil Association’ approved. What does this mean?

The ‘Soil Association’ is an organic certification body that has approved our factory that produces our organic products. This means that our products are not only certified organic but held to high animal welfare and quality standards.

Is Biotiful Halal or Kosher certified?

While we’re not currently Halal or Kosher certified, our Kefir is suitable for vegetarians because the only ingredients in our Kefir are the fruit puree, live cultures and Red Tractor certified or Soil Association approved milk. Furthermore, our Kefirs and Kefir Proteins (Quarks) do not contain any animal derived products other than Dairy. Some of our fruit Kefirs contain grape juice, so may not be suitable for a Kosher diet.

Consumption

How much Kefir should I drink daily to feel its benefits?

Kefir is first and foremost a natural, every-day food that has existed for around 2000 years; therefore, there is no recommend daily intake. Our single serve Kefir contains 250ml, which is about one glass, but our 500ml bottle is available in our most popular flavours if one serving is not enough!

Can I drink more than 250ml of Kefir in one day?

Kefir is first and foremost a natural, everyday food that has existed for over 2,000 years. We typically say a normal portion is 250ml but provided you have it as part of a healthy balanced diet there is no reason to say you can’t have more than that. If you have any lingering concerns we’d always suggest speaking with your GP for medical advice and peace of mind.

How important is it to refrigerate Kefir, and how should I consume it?

It is very important to keep our Kefir refrigerated. Because it contains so many active bacteria, if the product gets too warm it will allow the bacteria to multiply and change the Kefir taste/texture. Ideally our Kefir should be kept between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.

For a smooth, consistent product, give the bottle a shake before you drink it. For more ideas on how to consume our Kefir, check out our recipes page.

Why can’t I use Biotiful Kefir products for more than three days after opening?

Our product is free from preservatives and full of live beneficial bacteria, so there’s a risk of excessive bacterial growth once the product has been opened. While it is not dangerous to consume our product passed it’s ‘Best Before’ date, we just can’t guarantee the product will be at its best.

Can I cook with Kefir? Does heating Kefir make it lose its beneficial qualities?

The beneficial bacteria in the Kefir grow best at their fermentation temperature (approximately 30’C), when they are chilled, they slow right down so we can ensure product quality. When they reach your gut, they quickly warm up to their preferred temperature so they can grow. Temperatures of around 70’C will disable these bacteria.

Can you freeze Kefir?

Yes, Kefir can be frozen, but due to the activity of the bacteria it should not be frozen for more than a few weeks. It should be thawed in the fridge, not at room temperature or with any kind of heat and once defrosted should be consumed within 24 hours.

Are cultured milk drinks safe to drink for children and expectant and breast-feeding mothers?

In a number of countries in Europe and Asia, expectant and breast-feeding mothers are recommended to drink Kefir – and many children grow up consuming Kefir, too. Kefir is high in calcium and vitamins to help healthy growth, and at Biotiful we pasteurise our milk before adding the live cultures. If you have any concerns, we’d always suggest speaking with your GP or midwife.

Nutrition

How does Dairy Kefir differ from non-dairy alternatives?

Biotiful Kefir is made with whole cow’s milk, not only because milk is naturally nutrient rich but also because our beneficial bacteria grow best in milk. This is because most Kefir were originally isolated from dairy milk.

What essential vitamins and minerals are contained in Biotiful Kefir?

Our Kefir is rich in many vitamins and minerals – all of which you can find more details on-pack. Our Kefir is naturally high in Calcium, vitamins B2 and B12, and phosphorous, which are all vitally important for a healthy and complete diet.

Are Biotiful Kefir drinks suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, absolutely. All Biotiful Dairy products are suitable for vegetarians.

Is Kefir gluten-free?

Yes, our Kefir is completely gluten-free. It contains naturally occurring beneficial yeasts, not the standard bread-baking yeast (which may well contain gluten!).

How much sugar is there in Biotiful Kefir, Kefir Protein or Kefir for Kids products?

We aim to minimise sugar across all our products, so there’s absolutely no sugar added in our Kefir, Kefir Protein or Kefir for Kids range. The base recipe of all of these contain only milk and cultures, so the only sugars contained here are natural milk sugars. Our flavoured products don’t contain any added sugar, either, though they do contain natural fruit sugars which gives the products their flavour (e.g. strawberry in our Strawberry Kefir). For more details on the nutritional content for each product, please check the packaging.

Health

Can lactose-intolerant people consume cultured milk drinks?

Cultured milks drinks are naturally very low in lactose as a result of the fermentation process, whereby beneficial bacteria consume lactose. This means it could be suitable for those who generally struggle with lactose digestion. If you have a severe intolerance to lactose, we would not advise consuming our products or speaking with your GP for guidance.

I struggle with IBS, can I drink Kefir?

Lactose is usually the main issue for people’s discomfort when eating or drinking Dairy, and Kefir is a great option for anyone looking to reduce – but not exclude – the amount of lactose in their diet. This is because Kefir cultures, which are added to Kefir before fermenting, break down the lactose sugars in the milk during the fermentation process. The result? A Dairy product that’s naturally lower in lactose. Additionally, Kefir contains enzymes that can help break down the lactose even further. This means that, even though it’s not entirely lactose-free, Kefir is easier to digest and gentler on stomachs

Packaging

What plastic do you use, is it safe?

We work with leading European packaging producers and the material used for our bottles is the highest quality food-grade approved HDPE and PP, meaning it is very safe. The packaging is also fully recyclable.

Why do you use plastic instead of glass packaging?

We’re committed to minimising our environmental impact whilst offering safe, high-quality Kefir products and recyclable packaging. We use plastic as it is the best current option to do this and are committed to using plastic responsibly and sparingly.

At the moment, a shift away from plastic packaging isn’t yet feasible for us, so we’re working closely with our partners to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging. So far this means:

  1. We’ve making our bottles lighter, reducing the amount of plastic used in each one.
  2. Our packaging contains minimum 30% recycled plastics, and we only use HDPE for our bottles and PP for our pots, which are among the most recyclable plastics. We’re working hard with our suppliers to source fully recycled plastic (of which there is a shortage for food packaging in the UK).
  3. We’ve introduced a card sleeve made from recycled board on our Kefir + Protein and Kefir Cheese packaging – as with all packaging you need to separate the card and the plastic before popping in the recycling bin, which we’ve made easy by having a tear strip on the card.
  4. We’ve introduced 500ml bottles of our most popular flavours, and one of our 500ml bottles contains 24% less plastic than two of our 250ml bottles. Perfect for families and those who love Kefir daily.

Whilst we’d love to switch to glass bottles, that would pose insurmountable operational challenges that would make our Kefir accessible to less consumers.