How I Make Kefir

Supplies

  • Milk. I don't care for the taste of whole milk, so I use 1% because the grains need some fat to work optimally.  Any animal milk is fine (cow, goat, sheep).  Raw and/or pasteurized milk can be used, but avoid ultra-pasteurized milk.  The milk I purchase from Just Food Co-op here in Northfield has worked well for me.

  • Kefir grains.  I teaspoon for each 1 cup of milk used.

  • Glass jar.

  • Unbleached coffee filter.  This is what I use but muslin, paper, napkin or anything breathable that keeps dirt and insects out will work.

  • Rubber band.

  • Small strainer.  Preferably plastic, but metal is okay since contact is brief.

  • Storage container with lid.

Step 1

  • Combine the milk (cold or room temperature) and the kefir grains in a jar. 

  • Cover the jar and secure it with a rubber band.

  • Let ferment for 12 to 48 hours at room temperature away from direct sunlight.  The milk will ferment faster at warmer temperatures and slower at cool temperatures.

  • When the milk has thickened and tastes tangy, it's ready. The longer it ferments the more sour and folate-rich it becomes.

  • If you ferment too long and it gets too sour, use in baking items like banana bread - delicious!

Step 3

  • Strain out the kefir grain.  I use plastic lids designed for sprouting, but any strainer will do.

  • Use the grains to start another batch of kefir right away, following the same procedure.

Final Product

The prepared milk kefir can be used or consumed immediately, or covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator.

  • Avoid prolonged contact between the kefir and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kefir and weaken the grains over time.

  • To take a break from making kefir, place the grains in a jar, add fresh milk, cover tightly, and refrigerate. I've stored mine for up to a month with no ill effects to the grains.

  • Your grains will multiply over time. I have found they multiply more quickly the longer the kefir ferments. Then it's time to share them with others!

  • Sometimes kefir will separate into a solid layer and milky layer during the fermentation process or during storage in the refrigerator. This is fine! Shake the jar or stir gently to recombine and carry on. If you want to avoid this, start checking your kefir sooner.

  • I typically allow my kefir/grains to sit for several days on the counter until there are distinct layers, as shown in my photo. I gently stir the mixture with a plastic spoon and then strain into the measuring cup with my little plastic strainer. Works very well.

Step 2

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