Kefir is a living food that tends to have a mind of its own. It ferments differently in the winter than the summer, so understanding the process can make a huge difference. I'm sharing seven tips to help you make great summer kefir. These special kefir microbes have taught me more about who I am than just about anything else I have ever encountered. I think drinking kefir first thing in the morning works best for me - especially in the summertime. It's a fast breakfast and I love it so much. I love to take a grapefruit and squeeze the juice into my kefir. I can't tell you how good this is first thing in the morning. I flood my body with C and B vitamins along with a cup of coffee or chai tea and a slice of sourdough Einkorn toast and I'm off and running. I love this breakfast and it helps me so much. It gives me so much energy and I feel full and satisfied It takes just minutes to prepare. Here are the seven tips to help you make the best Summer Kefir!
7 Tips For Summer Kefir
Kefir ferments in 24 hours at 69-73 degrees, but raise those temps and have a lot of fluctuations, and it’s going to take your kefir less time to ferment.
1: Use Fewer Kefir Grains
One tablespoon of active grains can ferment 2-6 cups of milk - maybe even more in summer temperatures. The warmer your kitchen, the faster it will ferment. Make sure you aren't using too many grains vs. milk. If you want to slow down the fermentation, then remove some grains (use the extras to blend into a smoothie) and this will help slow down your fermentation time.
2: Use More Milk
Same tip as above just in a different way. Instead of reducing your grains you can always increase your milk until you get the desired ferment time. I try to aim for 24 hours so I'm only making kefir once a day. Think of it like this: the microbes are eating the milk sugars or lactose out of the milk and converting this food source into a probiotic. The more lactose they have, the longer it takes them to convert or ferment it.
3: Ferment For Less Time
I always try to aim for 24 hours to ferment my kefir. This is so it is easier on me and I'm not making kefir more than once a day. BUT the 24 hours is a guideline and kefir can take less time in warmer temps or if too many grains vs. milk are being used. If your house is extremely warm (closer to 80), your kefir is going to finish faster no matter how many cups of milk you use. So you'll need to strain it sooner rather than later. You get the most probiotics from kefir if you don't over ferment. The microbes will die as they run out of food, so a longer fermenting time is not better. However, this does not apply to second fermentation where you add a prebiotic (food for microbes). This does add more probiotics, since kefir has been given another food supply.
4: Keep In A Cooler
If your house is warm above 78 degrees, put your kefir in a cooler with an ice bag or two, and leave the lid open a bit. Leave the kefir to ferment for 24 hours or longer checking often, until you start to see it get thick and sour tasting. You can leave it on the counter for a couple of hours to start and then put it in the cooler. If the ice melts fast you can change out with a little ice pack.
5: Keep In A Cooler Room
You don't have to keep your kefir in the kitchen. My kitchen is often the warmest room in my house because I often cook in the summer. So feel free to move your kefir to a dining room, a spare room, or even an extra large pantry. Just make sure it is well ventilated and always use a lid on your jar when you're making kefir.
6: Make Larger Batches At Once
If you are using Easy Kefir packets. After your first batch you can make larger batches of kefir at once. This means you only have to make it once or twice to have enough for the whole week, making it a bit easier in the summer when the kefir ferments quicker and you don't have time, or aren't able, to "catch" it every day before it over ferments.
7: Give It Some More Food
Adding a prebiotic to your kefir gives it extra food, and this can help slow down the fermentation time. You can add a prebiotic to it such as Prebio Plus. This will keep it from over fermenting, and give it a creamier texture.