So if you’re here trying to figure out how to make milk kefir you are probably already aware of what it is. But if not I will just let you know that it is a cultured milk drink similar to yogurt but runny. It’s sour too. Runny, sour milk, gross! I’m not making a good case for why you would even want to eat this stuff am I? But its good for you. And if you are creative you can find different ways to eat it that actually taste good. And well some people do just like it plain.
Why is kefir good for you? Well like yogurt it has probiotics in them. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that you already have in your tummy. And from what I have gathered kefir has more of the strains of this beneficial bacteria than yogurt. Some people are even calling Kefir a superfood. Also people who are lactose intolerant can also eat the stuff because after the process of making the kefir there is only about 1% lactose left. Good News! You have probably all seen those commercials for yogurt promoting a healthy gut. Less bloating, gas, and a regular bowel movement, ect. Who doesn’t want that? It may sound disgusting but that is one of the main reasons my household even became interested in this stuff. Looking for solutions to fix our own irregularity problems. Eat better, NO! Eat less fast food, NO! We want a quick fix. Kefir was it!
Well actually, it wasn’t as you can guess, but what we are doing now is starting to take some steps to a healthier lifestyle. Drinking kefir regularly has been one of our first steps to making some more permanent changes in our diet. We are also working on eating less refined foods and less sugar. Especially the soda and candy. Today we drink a nice big bottle of bubbly water instead. A few steps forward, a few steps backward. This is hard stuff guys. I like my pizza and 2 liter bottles of pop. So baby steps. Kefir though is probably an odd beginning baby step, but we really like it. And we make it ourselves, which adds to the we are really healthy people feeling! We make our own kefir! Who does that? Hardly anyone I know and I’m not having any luck getting anyone on the bandwagon with me either. Showing them the stuff doesn’t help. In the words of my little girl, “that stuff stinks”!
I’m am no expert on kefir and I was actually quite intimidated by the stuff watching people on the web make it. It seemed a bit much and overwhelming. Now that have been doing it for a while I have to say this is just too simple.
- 2 clean glass jars (I use quart mason jars) one with a coffee filter and rubber band instead of a lid
- Strainer, with small holes, mesh preferably.
- Bowl, preferably with a pour spout
- Spoon or scraper
Step 1: Buy kefir grains
I was lucky enough to have the rare friend who was actually making this stuff. Oddly I didn’t even know it till I mentioned I was going to buy some. She bought hers on Amazon and has been using it for years now. She is very happy with it. And I have to say that I am very happy with the product also. Kefir grains grow by the way, so after a couple months you may have enough new growth to give to some of your friends.
Step 2: Put grains into a glass jar
Depending on how many grains you buy this will probably need to be a jar that will hold aboutCredit: KayaRain a cup of milk. A good ratio is 1 tbs to 1 cup milk. Or 1 to 3 tbs per quart. I was really confused by this step because most of the videos I watched had people starting out the videos with them pouring their kefir grains in to a strainer and straining them. Pouring the kefir in to a jar and then going on to show how you pour milk over your grains to start the whole process over again. So actually kinda they were starting in the middle of the process, not where most people who are buying new grains will be starting out from. So anyway now that I have kefir I totally get it. And soon enough you will too. My grains have grown at this point and we make a quart at a time.
Simple. Use any kind of milk that you want. The only exceptions that I have found is not to use ultra pasteurized milk, don’t get this confused with regular pasteurized which most milk in the stores are, and lactose free milk. I have read that starting out with full fat milk can help the process along better. Full fat milk also makes a thicker nicer less gross kefir in my opinion but we use fat free milk because I don’t want to be drinking so much fat. Organic grass fed milk is recommended too but that is not in our budget so I just use the plain old fat free milk. So mine is a little more watery and runny. But I don’t care.
Step 4: Wait
Ok, I have tried different wait times and the best for us seems to be 24 hours. Mostly because we make a new quart every day and just switch it at the same time each day. Easier to remember. But I have to say that I think 18 hours would be better. But this can also vary. I have learned at this point that I think when it will be best is when the grains start to create this curdled, chunky, cottage cheesy, looking stuff and are more at the top. Eventually the curdled stuff will separate and you will have water on the bottom. At this point it has been too long, in my opionion. But we still use it. We just shake it up before eating it. I think it’s still separated but the particles are smaller and more mixed up anyway. I have noticed the temperature of the room and the amount of grains we have make a difference in the wait time. A little grain and a lot of milk take longer and a lot a grain and a little milk seem to go faster. Warmer temperatures also seems to make them culture faster. IMPORTANT: we cover our grains with a coffee filter and a rubber band. Kefir makes gas and if you have the lid tightly closed it can explode. Once the grains are separated and the kefir is done and you are going to put it in the fridge you can close the lid.
Step 5: Strain
So here I use a strainer and a big 4 cup measuring cup. Glass, I’ve read that metal reacts with Credit: KayaRainthe kefir somehow, stainless steel seems to be ok. But I’ve also read that this part of the process is so quick it doesn’t matter so much. So I take the strainer put it on top of the measuring cup or bowl and pour out the kefir in to the strainer. GO SLOW, as the whole glob can come out at once and make a big splashy mess. Once in the strainer, I take a rubber scraper and kind of massage all the thicker milk off the grains until I just have grains in the strainer.
Step 6: Pour kefir milk from bowl into a glass jar
At this point you can refrigerate it which will make it a little thicker and also make it taste better. Or you can leave it out a little longer to ferment some more maybe 6 hours more or so to your taste preferences. Leaving the kefir to sit out longer once you have separated the grains is what they call the second fermentation. I have done this but usually don’t just cause it’s a added step. Making it more complicated for me. I like simple.
Step 7: Put kefir grains in jar (basically step 2 again and the process starts all over)
You can continue to reuse your grains for as long as you want. If for some reason you cant attend to them right away you can stick them unstrained in the fridge till you can get to it. Best not to go more than a week if you can help it. You can also store them for a little while after they are strained, just put enough milk on them to cover them up until you can get to them again. Best here also to not go more than a week.
Right now we are using our kefir mixed with frozen fruit and blended to make a yummy smoothie. This is our favorite way to eat it. We have used it when we have been out of milk for cereal and we have also added flavored coffee creamer to make a flavored thick milk drink thingy.
One frozen banana cut up in to pieces
Handful of blueberries
A few strawberries
About a cup or so of kefir
Stevia packet (optional)
We use a magic bullet blender and just shove in there what will fit. But you can probably use any blender that will blend ice.
I hope this helps you and gets you excited about kefir. Happy kefir making to you!