Awhile ago I started making kefir. I’ve learned a lot since then and have had the pleasure of learning alongside my good friend and roommate Mike, however, I’ve now moved up to Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood with my girlfriend and brought my half of the Bushwick kefir culture with me.
Instead of going out to eat for my move-out, we decided to have a good ol’ fashioned going away party and we wanted to make chicken and waffles…using kefir.
Unfortunately we didn’t have a waffle iron, but I’ve made kefir pancakes before, subbing the kefir for buttermilk, so following this same principal we found a buttermilk fried chicken recipe and ran with it.
We started off with a warm-up before getting into the chicken by frying zucchini slices. This photo is from my breading station (Mike was at the frying pan and my other roommate Jordan was coaching us through the frying process being the resident Texan of the apartment)
in the middle where the buttermilk should be is about 2 cups of kefir which was plenty for the zucchini, the kefir is flanked on either side by the flour/spice combination described in the linked recipe.
Once the zucchini were finished, salted, and put in the oven to keep warm, we started on the chicken. In all the 8 pieces of chicken took another 4 cups of kefir [6 cups total so far] in the breading process. Needless to say, this was a large undertaking, Mike and I saved up a bunch of second ferment jars in preparation.
Since we weren’t using a deep fryer, the process of frying proved to be intense. We had two burners going on our stove top for a large cast-iron pan. While it might not have been safest method, it was certainly effective.
The chicken took some doing, but fried without incident, was salted, and put in the oven along with the zucchini. Now I had to wash my hands and get down to pancake business. I used a pancake recipe as an outline for the batter, replacing the 1 and 3/4 cups of milk with 1 and 3/4 cups of kefir [putting our final count at roughly 7 and 3/4 cups of kefir for the meal]. The batter made about twelve medium-sized pancakes.
Jordan made the comment that the kefir, “gives the pancakes a slightly tangier taste,” and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve been using kefir for my pancakes for a long time now, it’s an easy way to start cooking with kefir and acts as a added protein to a breakfast item that usually doesn’t have much nutritional value. However, I can’t say the same for frying. While it was certainly fun to try, I don’t think it changed the taste that much or did much nutritionally once fried in vegetable oil.
The meal was amazing and I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off my years in Bushwick. Now, Mike and I will each have our separate cultures, I know I plan on continuing to use it in cooking and experimenting with foods. I’ve already tried to make cream cheese a couple times, but without real success. However, I’m just getting started and this feast is proof that kefir is a viable, delectable, substitute for dairy in recipes.
P.S: Thanks to Eric, our fourth roommate, for doing the dishes!