Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A creamy drink made of fermented cow's milk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fermented milk drink from the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An effervescent liquor like kumiss, made from fermented milk, used as a food and as a medicine in the northern Caucasus.
  • n. A sour fermented milk drink, used in various regions of Asia, made by addition of Streptococcus or Lactobacillus cultures to cow's or goat's milk; it is considered by some as a form of yoghurt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An effervescent drink prepared from the fermented milk of cows: used by the natives of the northern Caucasus region, and now extensively used elsewhere as a food for. invalids. It contains from 1 to 2 per cent. of free lactic acid and from 1 to 3 per cent. of alcohol. The original ferment used is a particular fungus called kefir grains (which see).

Etymologies

Russian, probably ultimately from Old Turkic köpür, (milk) froth, foam, from köpürmäk, to froth, foam.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From North-Caucasian languages via Russian кефир (kefír). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But kefir is fermented with more and different types of bacteria, in addition to yeast, which means the final product has more of the beneficial microorganisms, or "probiotics," that first made yogurt a popular health food.

    How Good for You Is Kefir?

  • But kefir is simply not lactose-free, any more than yogurt is.

    Kefir Contains Lactose. Somebody Tell the Pentagon

  • One of the benefits of both ayran and kefir is that the process of fermentation sees milk's natural sugar, lactose, broken down, used as food by the bacteria.

    Yoghurt, Ayran, and Kefir: Traditionally Turkish

  • If kefir is not available in Mexico (anywhere at or near Costa Allegre) I can make my own, but would need to import kefir corns, if legal.

    Kefir?

  • Men's Health Editor in Chief David Zincenko recently touted a product called kefir as one of summer's six essential flat belly foods.

    Leslie Goldman: The Flat Belly Food You Don't Know About: Kefir

  • Lifeway Foods, the Morton Grove, Ill., maker of a probiotic dairy beverage called kefir, reported that first-quarter earnings nearly doubled as revenue climbed 24%.

    M/I Homes Slides; Saks, Tenet Advance

  • Among the nomadic tribes of northern Europe and central Asia who did not even cultivate grain, milk was fermented into the drinks called kefir and koumiss.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • Unlike other fermented milks, in which the fermenting microbes are evenly dispersed, kefir is made by large, complex particles known as kefir grains, which house a dozen or more kinds of microbes, including lactobacilli, lactococci, yeasts, and vinegar bacteria.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • Another remarkable fermented milk little known in the West is kefir, which is most popular in the Caucasus and may well have originated there.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • MORTON GROVE, Ill., Aug. 16, 2011 , a leading supplier of cultured dairy products known as kefir and organic kefir, today announced results for three and six months ended June 30, 2011.

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