Cultured food, as you may have notice, makes up a large part of the GAPS Diet. It’s oh so important to get those good bacteria back in to your system and while taking probiotic pills can do it, there’s nothing quite like the broad spectrum of goodies you get from eating food au naturale and crème fraiche is a very delicious way to do that.
I can sense your hesitation, I was ginger too. Dairy is for so many of us with IBS, the enemy. For some, it’s the lactose that gives them dreadful diarrhoea. For me, it was the casein, the protein in dairy, that when consumed in bulk, would render me crippled with agonising abdominal pain. The beauty of the GAPS Diet though is that it heals dairy intolerances and many who could not eat dairy before find that after being on GAPS for a while, all of a sudden they can- no problems. While I haven’t yet had the courage (the guts?) to try drinking milk, I have slowly introduced crème fraiche, butter and even yoghurt and to my delight, have found that I am no longer experiencing the disabling symptoms I used to.
Crème fraiche literally translates to “fresh cream” which is ironic because that is precisely what it isn’t. Ok, well it is cream, but it sure aint fresh! Just as yoghurt ferments when cultures are added, turning it from plain old milk into a thick, delicious treat, crème fraiche is just crème that has been fermented and it’s so easy to make.
Dr Natasha suggests you first begin by making your crème fraiche with a yoghurt starter before progressing to kefir as the bacterial strains in the former are likely to cause fewer die-off reactions (the uncomfortable symptoms experienced when the bad bacteria in the gut are dying- they will put up a fight!). I however, have never had any luck making my own yoghurt and, unable to find a commercial yoghurt starter, I decided to skip straight to kefir.
My first batch was made using a commercial kefir starter, basically a powder that you stir into the cream. It worked out quite nicely but I felt as though I hadn’t quite achieved what I’d set out to. I wanted the real thing but to make real kefir, you need kefir grains- clusters of microbes that eat the sugars in dairy and give off an awesome array of probiotics. I found a lovely lady on eBay who sells live kefir grains and posts them anywhere in Australia, her username is Tumbletree.
Once I had my kefir grains, it was simply a matter of making a cup of kefir and stirring it through some fresh cream. A word of warning: do not add kefir grains directly to cream. You won’t be able to fish them out and not only will you lose your lovely grains (they are re-usable) you won’t be able to enjoy the cream either as it will have microbial clusters in it! Not pleasant.
Kefir Crème Fraiche
Stuff You Need
- Kefir grains – about 1 Tbsp
- 1 cup (250ml) organic, unpasteurised whole milk
- 500ml organic whole cream
- Sterilised jars
- Rubber bands or string
- Fine metal sieve
- Large bowl
- In a sterilisied jar, combine the kefir grains and milk. Place a square of cheesecloth over the top and secure with a rubber band or some string.
- Place your kefir mix in an out of the way corner and leave to ferment for a few days. If it starts to separate into curds and whey, it’s ready!
- Give your kefir mix a good stir and pour through a fine sieve into a large, clean bowl.
- Do not discard the grains! – Put these back in the original jar with another cup of milk and start again for your next round of kefir.
- Add 500ml cream to the kefir in the bowl and combine thoroughly.
- Pour or spoon cream mixture into a sterilised jar, top with a fresh piece of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band or a piece of string. Do not put the lid on, we want the creme fraiche to be able top breathe! Now just leave your jar somewhere out of the way, at room temperature, and allow to ferment for a few days.
- Once the cream has achieved the tangy taste you want, simply place a lid on the jar and store in the fridge. Simple!
Kefir crème fraiche is tasty with so many things, sweet and savoury. Use it in place of yoghurt, fresh cream and sour cream. I’ll be having it on top of my chilli con carne and with strawberries for dessert- yum!