Difference between buttermilk and kefir
Buttermilk vs kefir:
Butter milk and kefir are both fermented dairy products that are known to contain probiotic bacteria because of which both these products offer a range of nutrients that are known as highly beneficial for health. However, the ways and means that the two beverages are produced, the various characteristics they manifest are very different. Kefir and buttermilk have varying nutrition levels as well because of which one needs to be educated regarding the differences between these two popular beverages in order to have an idea regarding the ways in which one can fashion their respective diets.
What is buttermilk?
Although there are many beverages under the label of buttermilk on the shelves of the local supermarket nowadays, originally, buttermilk was made and sold in farms just like ordinary milk. Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid that is poured off when the milk is set aside for the cream to separate prior to making butter. It is during this time that the lactic acid-producing bacteria in the milk ferment the lactose that is contained in the milk and gives it a certain tartness that can be tasted in buttermilk. It is during this process that the pH of the milk decreases and casein, the primary milk protein precipitates, causing the milk to curdle or clabber. However, the milk does not grow stale as the high acidity in the liquid prevents harmful microorganisms from forming. While traditional buttermilk is still seen in common in many Indo-Pakistani households, cultured buttermilk and Belgian buttermilk are readily available in the West.
What is kefir?
Derived from the Turkish word ‘keyif’ that literally translates as ‘pleasure’, kefir is indeed a pleasure to indulge in. it is a fermented milk beverage that has been prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep’s milk with kefir grains which was originally discovered by the people of the North Caucasus region who found out that when fresh milk is carried in leather pouches, it would usually be fermented in to a carbonated drink. These kefir grains, equipped with numerous bacteria acts as yeast as it is indeed packed with various sugars and proteins which aid the fermentation process. In the olden days, kefir was fermented in skin bags hung near doorways that are usually knocked by anyone passing by in order to mix the kefir grains and the milk together. Kefir is slightly effervescent in nature owing to this fermentation process which involves the kefir grains.
What is the difference between kefir and buttermilk?
Buttermilk and kefir share the same ground of fermented milk beverages which contain numerous beneficial bacteria that help the human immune system along. However, while kefir can only be produced with the aid of kefir grains, buttermilk is produced as a byproduct of churning butter. These kefir grains are either bought or donated by other growers. Kefir grains are yeast like substance that grows in to grains during the fermentation process of milk. Buttermilk, however, does not need to be artificially fermented as it is a natural byproduct of churning butter which does not need additional ingredients to be added to it.
Kefir and buttermilk has completely different microorganisms in them. Kefir is known to contain a whole variety of yeast cultures and bacterial strains while buttermilk is only known to contain just one type of probiotic organism. Kefir is often used as a digestive aid due to the probiotics present in it and it is also known to possess the ability of controlling candida infections of the gut. Buttermilk on the other hand is often used as a substitute for milk by lactose-intolerant people as lactose is often converted in to lactic acid by the bacteria present in buttermilk.
Both kefir and buttermilk have similar fat, protein and calorie contents with kefir being only 12 calories higher than buttermilk at 162 calories. The two beverages differ when it comes to the carbohydrate contents. Buttermilk offers 13 g of carbohydrates per 8 oz serving whereas kefir offers 15 g of protein per 8 oz serving. The difference is due to the presence of kefir grains in kefir as they generally add 3gs more dietary fiber, thus promoting digestion and increased feelings of satiety.
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