The New International Encyclopædia/Kephir

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KEPHIR, or KEFIR, kĕf′ẽr (Caucasian, from Turk. kaif, delight). A fermented beverage made from milk, and similar to koumiss (q.v.). It is made in the Caucasus, and has been introduced into Europe and America, where it is prescribed for invalids. In the United States cow's milk alone is commonly used, although a mixture of milk and buttermilk is sometimes employed. The true kephir fermentation is induced by kephir grains, which are hard, yellowish aggregations about the size of a pea, and contain several yeasts and a number of different forms of bacteria. At the proper temperature the fermentation is completed in two or three days. Frequent shaking prevents the rising of the cream and later the formation of lumps of curd. A part of the milk-sugar is broken up into alcohol, carbonic-acid gas, and lactic acid; but the casein is apparently not changed as it is in the case of koumiss. Good kephir should be effervescent. It contains about 0.75 per cent. of alcohol and 1 per cent. of lactic acid, together with the constituents of normal milk in slightly diminished proportions.