Dairy Dairies: How to Make Dairy Kefir Banana Creme Fraiche
by Ryan Roberts, 2019 Apprentice
Welcome back, it's Ryan again!
In our last conversation I shared a little about dairy kefir; the history, chemistry and process for making it. This time we'll talk about an exceptional use of dairy kefir - making banana kefir creme fraiche!
Velvety smooth and udderly delicious, this topping is ideal applied atop crepes, pancakes, granola. Next time you're making a pancake breakfast-in-bed for your bae, you can blow their minds with this yummy topping.
Here's the kicker: the bi-product of this process will yield a delightfully flavorful and intensely proteus “banana-infused” whey. I recommend drinking it straight or adding it to your morning shake to spike it with great flavor and a boatload of protein.
If at this point your finding yourself lost on the fundamentals of dairy kefir, check out my first installment of Dairy Diaries here, before proceeding to the next section.
So diving back into the science for a moment; Dairy kefir is a specialized symbiotic colony of organisms, favoring lactose sugars, and adapted to consume them, but this doesn't preclude it from utilizing what sugars are available. Bananas are intensely sweet, potassium rich and full of minerals, making it a fine fuel for your SCOBY friends. The process will break down and alter the banana, unlocking new flavors and heightening nutritional qualities.
This process will take you through the steps of making dairy kefir first, then walk you through separating your two products and processing them to completion.
- Whole organic milk
- Spoonful of dairy kefir SCOBY (or “grains”)
- Glass container for your next batch
- Two medium-sized bowls: one for your creme fraiche, the other for your whey
- Funnel (optional)
- Fine mesh strainer
- Hand blender or food processor (optional)
1. Sterilize your container, using boiling water for your first clean.
2. Chop bananas to your desired quantity and thickness. I chose to use three small bananas. Note that increasing the surface area of your banana by chopping it will make it easier for the SCOBY to access the sugars in the banana. In this step, I quartered the bananas then chopped them horizonally into thin pizza slices. Put the bananas into your container.
3. Put a spoon-full of dairy kefir SCOBY into your container.
4. Pour your organic whole milk into your container, taking care to minimize splashing.
5. Place a lid lightly over the container, creating only a light seal to allow CO2 to escape. Let sit for 12 - 24 hours depending on temperature. Warmer temperatures will yield a faster process. The goal here is to stimulate the mixture to self-separate into the whey on the bottom and the cream on top. It looks funky, but don't sweat it. The cream along with the bananas will become our creme fraiche and the whey, whatever you want to do with it.
6. Pour the whole mixture into a fine mesh strainer. Let the whey drip through the mesh, which will happen mostly on it's own because the cream is now chemically separated from the whey. Light stirring is ok, but seek to minimize the amount of cream that falls through the strainer!
7. Now hunt for your SCOBYs amongst the cream! The goal of this step is different from that of making plain dairy kefir. We want to recover our SCOBY, but we don't want our banana kefir cream to fall through into the whey, so we place our bowl under the strainer now. You may use a gentle scooping motion along the bottom of the strainer to find your grains. Whatever cream falls through should be added back once you've recovered your SCOBY babies. This step can be challenging and awkward.
8. Place your SCOBYs back into their home container, refill it with milk and lightly stir the milk with a clean spoon.
9. Now we have whey in one bowl, cream and bananas in the other and our SCOBYs happily in their new batch of milk.
10. The final step is optional and that is blending the mix. You can certainly enjoy the cream and banana bits mixture at this point, or you can thoroughly blend the bananas and the cream until you produce a uniform appearance. This final step is what yields your creme fraiche.
11. Keep refrigerated till consumption.
That concludes this little adventure into this novel dairy kefir product. Next installment, we'll be exploring a savory herbal cream cheese, YUM!
Have you always wanted to learn about SCOBYs, fermentation or brewing? Check out our upcoming workshops for anything that might be of interest!