Updated: Mar 4, 2019
There are many good resources online and in books about making kefir. This is how I've made it for several years. I use kefir grains, which multiply easily and I usually have extra to share (no cost). Just contact me and we can set up a time for you to come over and pick them up.
Milk, I use 1%, but many sources encourage full fat. Any type of animal milk is fine- cow, goat, sheep, etc.
Raw and/or pasteurized milks can be used, but avoid ultra-pasteurized milk.
The milk in my photo was purchased at Just Food Co-op here in Northfield and has worked well for me.
I use 1% because I think the grains need some fat to work optimally, but I don't like the taste of whole milk.
Kefir grains - 1 teaspoon for each 1 cup of milk used (See Recipe Notes)
Unbleached coffee filter (what I use and what is in the photo below), muslin, paper napkin,
anything breathable that keeps dirt and insects out
Small strainer (preferably plastic, but metal is ok since contact is brief)
Storage container with lid
Combine the milk and the grains in a jar: The milk can be cold or room temperature, either is fine.
Cover the jar with covering of choice and secure it with a rubber band.
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!
Strain out the kefir grain.
- I strain mine through plastic lids used for sprouting seeds (see photo), but any strainer will do.
Use the grains to start another batch of kefir right away, following the same procedure.
The prepared milk kefir can be used or drunk immediately, or covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator.
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.
Note: 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.