Photos and instructions for making homemade kefir
If you've already read my general article about kefir, then you may be interested in more specific instructions about making your own!
There are so many ways of making kefir, and there's almost no wrong method! Some people like to culture their grains for 12 hours, and some for 24, or more. Some people like to tighten the lid on the jar of fermenting kefir (be sure to leave extra air space in there if you do, so the jar doesn't burst!), making a fizzy kefir. Some people use raw cow's milk, others use goats milk or 1% cows milk, or... you get the idea!
Here are some simple instructions to get you started making kefir!
1. Place kefir grains in a clean glass jar. (Keifr grains can be purchased from Cultures for Health.)
2. For every tablespoon (approx.) of grains, add 7-8 ounces of milk (making one cup total per tablespoon of culture).
3. Cover jar loosely, and allow to sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. On top of the fridge or in a cupboard are great places to make kefir!
4. After 12-24 hours, strain the kefir using a strainer or colander.
I sometimes use a spoon with small holes in it to "scoop" the kefir grains out of the finished bowl of kefir, returning them to the jar. This is demonstrated in my milk kefir video.
Enjoy your fresh kefir, or store in the refrigerator for up to several months.
5. Place the grains in a clean jar (or, return to the same jar if you like; I usually use the same jar for several days before washing it) and repeat steps.
Some other information:
- Kefir will require an adjustment period of a batch or two after events like being shipped or switching types of milk. When you receive your kefir grains, don't be disappointed if the first couple of batches taste awful! The yeast build-up during shipping needs to level out. When switching types of milk, your kefir will go through a couple of "transition" batches, where it may taste differently, as well. For this reason, it's best to stick with one type of milk if possible, using excess grains for other types.
- Many types of milk may be used to culture kefir, but kefir grains that are cultured in non-mammalian milk will cease growing. Consider using your excess grains to culture soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.
- Kefir grains can be dried or frozen for preservation. (I'll write more about how to do this after I've done it myself!)
Try to obtain kefir grains, not just a "starter", which is sometimes sold. Kefir grains can be used "forever", whereas "starters" can only be used 7 times or so.
I get many requests for kefir grains, and had been directing you to a friend who sold live milk kefir grains. Unfortunately, she is no longer selling kefir grains. I decided to try to find another reputable source for kefir grains (NOT "starter") and just signed up as an affiliate with Cultures for Health.
Cultures for Health sells dried milk kefir grains, which they culture and dehydrate themselves. The grains are shipped in organic milk powder and will rehydrate within 5-7 days and then will continue to grow and make kefir.
While I think the ideal source of kefir grains is live, fresh grains (preferably given as a gift from a friend!), Cultures for Health is a good company and I feel confident directing you to them. I wish kefir grains weren't so expensive to get started -- but remember, once you have them they will grow, and you can bless your friends and family by giving away your extras. :)
Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothies... our all-time favorite! :)
Fluffy Kefir Pancakes... a great way to use up extra kefir! :)
This recipe was featured in 10 Fabulous Foods We Make At Home (Not Buy!) :)