How to Make Kefir
~ To Suit Your Taste ~

A warm welcome.  I learned how to make kefir several years ago, soon after learning how to make yogurt. Making kefir is easier...

  • the milk isn't heated
  • the fermentation temperature isn't controlled
 
Homemade Kefir
 

Kefir can be cultured from 2 types of starter. 

1.  Kefir Grains

  • Granular masses of bacteria and yeasts.
  • Can be used to culture each new batch.

2.  Powder Starter

  • Freeze dried milk powder plus live lactic acid bacteria and yeasts.
  • Can only be used once.


Equipment

  • 1 quart (litre) glass jar or container, ceramic is fine too
  • measuring cup
  • tablespoon
  • plastic or bamboo sieve or colander or cheesecloth to strain off grains


Homemade Kefir

Makes 1 quart (1 litre)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups raw or pasteurized milk, skim, partly skimmed or whole
  • 1 Tablespoon kefir grains or starter powder
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons kefir from a previous batch (optional)


Directions

Add Kefir Grains

Add Kefir Grains
(Click Image To Enlarge)

Strain Off Kefir Grains

Strain Off Grains
(Click Image To Enlarge)

Homemade Kefir

Homemade Kefir
(Click Image To Enlarge)

1.  Measure milk and pour into glass jar or container.  Allow some space at the top the container... the milk expands a little during the early stages of fermentation.  If you're using a jar, put the lid on.

2.  Add kefir grains or powdered culture.  If you have mature kefir add a bit of it along with the grains or powder.  Stir several times or give the jar a shake to bring the culture into contact with different parts of the milk.

3.  If you're using an open container cover it with a cloth or a plate.

4.  Allow to ferment at room temperature for at least 24 hours.  If it's warmer it'll ferment faster, if it's cooler it'll ferment slower.

5.  When the kefir tastes to your liking, pour it, along with the grains, into a strainer or cheesecloth.  Skip this step if you're using a powder culture.

6.  Put the mature kefir in the refrigerator.  Put the grains in a separate glass or ceramic container and pour fresh milk over them.  Store the grains in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

7.  If the kefir appears solid after sitting in the fridge, give it a stir or a shake and it'll become liquid again.


Rough Guidelines On Fermentation Times

The length of fermentation depends mainly on how tart tasting you like kefir to be.  The temperature and size of the grains also affect fermentation but not as much as preferred taste.

24 hours

  • Slightly sour taste and thickening of the milk.

36-48 hours

  • More pronounced thickening and sharper taste.
  • This is generally how long I let mine ferment at room temperature of 21°C or 70°F.  The taste is pleasantly sour and the milk is definitely thickened.

more than 48 hours

  • Very strong taste and the kefir may have curdled.  When milk becomes very acidic the milk fats separate from the whey.  Just shake or briskly stir it to reunify.


 

Kefir makes delicious smoothies!  It works well in place of buttermilk in recipes too.  Check back soon for kefir recipes.



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