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Lemon basil kefir

Kefir Made Easy

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Our boat and daughter Holli.

Do you feel alive each day? When your feet hit the ground in the morning are you pumped about the day? Do you feel appreciation and love for others? Do you have energy that will last all day? Did you know that you are supposed to feel this way? It is not something that is for a few, but for everybody. I used to feel terrible, sick, and dreaded the tasks before me each day.

This is no way to live. I really wasn’t living and life felt hard. Little by little I started to turn around and the place I started was what I fed my body.

The food you eat makes up the cells of your body and the foods I added to my life were alive and teeming with probiotics, cultured foods that changed me and made me feel different. They weren’t costly or hard to make, but they were powerhouses. I added them to my diet and wow, did I change.

Actually, everything changed.

I had energy, excitement, and joy. I remember that day. The start of well being and I talked about it in my story video. While washing dishes I looked out the window and saw that my bird feeder was empty. It had been empty for a year. But suddenly I found myself in the front yard filling it up. Suddenly I cared about the birds and their food source, where days before I did not. Many other things happened to me. The grass was greener and I was sure that people were kinder. The grocery store clerks handed me my groceries and told me to have a good day . . . well, I wanted to hug them and tell them to have one too. Then there was my husband.

He simply walked into the room that day and my heart went pitter patter. I could not stop hugging him and we had been married over 20 years. I felt like I was 21 again and had just seen him for the first time. Everything in my life intensified because I felt so good. It was a miracle to me, one that has continued to this day.

mason jar shooters
Kefir shooters in colored mason jars

I swear I am aging backwards and what has happened to me is not miraculous. It’s how it’s supposed to be. Wellness should be the norm and not the exception, but I am seeing that this is no longer so. Everybody on this planet knows that the foods you eat make up the cells of your body. We know this but few really understand or embrace it.

Do you want the cells of your body to be made from a bag of soda pop, pretzels, and Twinkies? Or do you want your body to remake itself each and every day from whole fresh foods that aren’t processed or filled with chemicals? Did you know that bacteria help in the synthesis of vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and some amino acids? They also help us absorb minerals, break down toxins and produce a number of enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, and fats that make these vessels we live in.

You contain more bacteria than anything else, 100 trillion to be exact; and when you have the right amount of different bacterial strains they build an army inside of you and change you from the inside out. So what happened to me? The first thing that happened was I got sick. I was really sick, but I had a strong desire to be well. One thing led to another and these special foods showed up in my life. Was it the special bacteria from these foods that made serotonin in my gut that caused me to feel so good? So many physical processes were taking place and I started on a journey to find out what had happened to me.

(My story video is here: http://youtu.be/CbX9Nv9OtGM)

My best friend Kefir

The first thing I added that started me on the road to recovery was kefir. I didn’t know much about it but I started making it the easiest way I could find.

There are two ways to make kefir and I started with the kefir culture packages but you can also use kefir grains. Using the starter packages was super simple and allowed me to make kefir in large quantities. I also found that with this method, I didn’t have to make it every day. This felt easier to me. I since have switched to making it with kefir grains and I make it every day. However, I received so much success with the first method that it’s what I recommend to people who are really busy and want to start off with a super simple method.

If you want to start to feel good, have more love to give your family and others, feel alive inside like you are supposed to, here is where I started and the first method I used. If you don’t know where to start, this is a great place.


Kefir for Beginners or the Extremely Busy

If you are super busy and don’t have time to make kefir every day, or you want something that can be made in large quantities, this is the method for you. I have taught this method to some of my favorite busy people and they love the ease of using culture packages. Easy Kefir is a fantastic product that consists of freeze-dried kefir grains, ground up into powder. Let me tell you, this makes AWESOME kefir! The only drawback is having to buy Easy Kefir culture packages every so often. However, each package makes up to seven gallons of kefir, so the whole box will make up to 28 gallons, making it very economical.

Easy Kefir starter packages are a great option for people interested in making their own kefir but do not want to maintain a set of milk kefir grains.

First you will need to purchase a box of Easy Kefir packages. This is a four-package starter, which will make up to 28 gallons of kefir.

However you make and consume kefir, find the method that suits you and begin. It can change your life and start you on the road to being yourself; the “you” that feels alive and excited about each day. I can’t imagine being any other way now.

Kefir (using Easy Kefir)
Print Recipe
Kefir (using Easy Kefir)
Print Recipe
CulturedFoodLife.com
This method uses Easy Kefir powder packets. It's made from freeze-dried kefir grains. It's very easy to make, and is the way I made kefir when I first started.~Donna
Materials
Ingredients
Servings: quart
Units:
Instructions
Making Kefir
  1. Pour four cups of milk into a quart-sized glass jar.
    Pour four cups of milk into a quart-sized glass jar.
  2. Sprinkle the entire contents of one Easy Kefir packet into the jar and mix well.
    Sprinkle the entire contents of one Easy Kefir packet into the jar and mix well.
  3. Put a lid on the jar.
    Put a lid on the jar.
  4. Let this mixture ferment at 72° to 75°F for 18 to 24 hours. If the temperature is below 72° let it ferment a little longer.
    Let this mixture ferment at 72° to 75°F for 18 to 24 hours. If the temperature is below 72° let it ferment a little longer.
  5. Place into the refrigerator. Even in your refrigerator the fermentation process continues, but chilling it will slow down the fermentation of the healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast.
    Place into the refrigerator. Even in your refrigerator the fermentation process continues, but chilling it will slow down the fermentation of the healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast.
Re-culturing Your Kefir (See Notes below)
  1. To make 1 quart: use 1/4 cup from the previous batch
    To make 1 quart: use 1/4 cup from the previous batch
  2. To make a 1/2 gallon: use 1/2 cup from the previous batch
    To make a 1/2 gallon: use 1/2 cup from the previous batch
  3. To make 1 gallon: use 1 cup from the previous batch
    To make 1 gallon: use 1 cup from the previous batch
  4. Do not use more than recommended to make new batches of kefir. Bacteria likes room to grow, and adding too much will make it culture faster and cause it to be more sour.
    Do not use more than recommended to make new batches of kefir. Bacteria likes room to grow, and adding too much will make it culture faster and cause it to be more sour.
Recipe Notes

Making Kefir
Most types of milk are acceptable, including whole milk, fat-reduced, non-fat, pasteurized, and homogenized. Although I mostly enjoy fresh raw whole cow’s milk to culture kefir.)

 

You will know your kefir is ready if the milk has thickened and has a distinctive sour fragrance. The final consistency should be pourable and thicker like yogurt.

 

When you put the kefir in your refrigerator the fermentation process continues, but chilling it will slow down the fermentation of the healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast.

 

Re-culturing Your Kefir
Once you’ve made your first batch (quart) of kefir, you can use some of it to make more kefir, so don’t drink all of it!

Simply take a portion of this kefir, add it to new milk, and let it culture it again. (For exact amounts, see next slide) You can do this up to seven times and in larger quantities. Or perhaps more than seven times if you do it every day like I do :) Just keep doing it until it stops re-culturing, then you'll know that you need to use another Easy Kefir packet.

CulturedFoodLife.com
90 Responses to "Kefir Made Easy"
  1. I make my kefir with raw goat milk and it is wonderful. Since I have been drinking kefir, about 2 cups daily and eating my cultured veggies, using your recipes in your book, I feel great. My problem is: I have severe psoriasis on hands and feet. Some days I can’t walk or use my hands. I am so in hopes the kefir and cultured veggies will eventually help the psoriasis. Do you think I should start making and drinking Kombucha? Do you know if these foods have ever helped anyone with psoriasis?

      • Thank you Donna. I will try to be patient. I have only been drinking kefir for about 3 months and culturing veggies about 6 weeks. Hope to see results in 1 yr. and better sooner. Do you think I should add Kombucha also?

  2. Hi Donna,
    I’ve been growing milk and water kefir both and I love them both (not my family so much, but although I was disappointed, not that surprised). My question is how do you know your grains are healthy and do you ever add any pro or pre biotics to the milk/grains to give them a boost once in awhile? I accidently left my milk out while on vacation and there was a thin layer of mold on it. I scraped it all off and it seems to be fine (as in it’s doing what it always has done), but want to make sure that I didn’t perhaps introduce a stronger “bad” bacteria that might now need to be counteracted with some good stuff. The kefir grains themselves are growing like crazy but want to do the best I can for them. Can I add anything to support them even more? Thanks!

  3. I make yogurt using a spoonful from a bought carton as a starter, and with UHT milk at room temperature. My yogurt maker is just an insulated container that is plugged into the electricity to keep it warm overnight. I’ve just used the same process using a spoonful of bought kefir. It turned out mild, set and creamy, just like the yogurt. What do I have here? Does it have all the benefits of the starter kefir?

  4. Hi Donna, Thank you for your long hours of studying , researching, and giving so others can regain their health!!! I have been making kefir for about 2 years now, I make it with milk, but here’s my question: I have a husband (Gene) that has a 81/2 by 11 sheet of food allergies, he has burned out adrenals, low thyroid funtion, and the list goes on…… what kind of kefir should I make for him? He is allergic to dairy, coconut, sugar, nut milks, soy. He eats mostly organic meat, veggies (but is allergic to some of those too), some fruits. He definatly is not living life, and my friend just gave me your web site. I am going to get your book this week end, but am wondering how to get him started. He does eat Bubbies sauerkraut already, what kind of kefir could I make for him and if water kefir , what can I use to feed it? Thank you in advance for your answer. May God’s blessings be on you and your’s , Lyn :]

    • You could try almond kefir and homemade cultured veggies are really much stronger than Bubbies.Orangeade kraut would be great for him. Something else I recommend for his situation is 2000 mg of Vitamin C three times a day.t would help his adrenals greatly along with cultured foods.

  5. Hi Donna,
    I just bought dried kefir grains and need to activate them. My house is usually on the cool side especially at night. Should I heat the milk and put my jar in a cooler with warm water? That is how I keep my yogurt warm when making it. Also, the directions in the kefir grain package says to put a coffee filter or cloth to cover it. It sounds like you use a regular cover, it that right?

  6. I love my kefir grains and appreciate all your info! I’ve had my grains for about 3 months and even took them on vacation with me and they survived the flight! I switched from using a plastic spoon to a slotted stainless steel one and within 2 days started to get a film on it. I rinsed the grains off with my filtered (reverse osmosis) water and switched back to the plastic spoon. Now my grains are going mushy and smelly and are not growing. the light film seems to be back sometimes. help!

  7. I am enjoying all your great info on here! Thank you! I do have a question regarding kefir… while it is sitting on the counter, does it mind light or should I make sure it is “in the dark”? TIA

  8. Does the lid on the jar need to be tight like it does with fermenting veggies? I have to use almond milk because my son is allergic to dairy and coconut. I will be using the packets. Any advice for using the almond milk? Thanks!

  9. Donna,
    I recently found your site and am hoping you can help me trouble shoot my milk kefir. I’ve only Ben working at it for 3 weeks or so. Went to the health food store for my goat milk kefir (I’m allergic to cows milk) and they are out-again. The clerk suggested I try making my own. So one culture of frozen grains and store bought goat milk I began. I didn’t have much luck the fists few batches and wasn’t sure if it was the frozen grains or milk. I have been on the fence about signing up for a goat share so I can get weekly raw milk. I finally did it and have been using that for a week now. So…
    1. How do I keep it from separating?
    I’m using about a tablespoon of grains and about one cup of milk I get separation within 8-12 hours. I’ve tried to harvest sooner, but then it doesn’t have the sour tang I really want.
    2. How do I get it to be thick and creamy (yogurt or sour cream consistency)
    I have been trying to pour off the whey and save the creamy stuff as that’s what I really want. I have also tried to blend as I read that it works for some people, but end up with thin kefir and a nice foamy head after it rests.
    3. Is there a way to make goat cheese from kefir, reaping the probiotic benefits, rather than heating and adding rennet and so on.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

  10. Donna,
    I live near a Polish Deli and I am there frequently to buy sauerkraut.The other day I noticed they sell a product they call “cultured milk” is this the same as kefir?

  11. My house is warmer then 72- 75°. We are usually at 78°-79°. Is that going to be a problem with the Kiefer powder?
    Also, with the Re-culturing, when u have the 4 cups of keifer. I just save 1/4 and add that to my next batch of milk and do the same process again… eating the 3 3/4 cups and saving another 1/4 until it stops setting up? This is my first time and I can hardly wait for your Kiefer package to get here!

    • Your kefir will probably culture faster at these temperatures which is fine just refrigerate sooner. Yes, you can do this if you want to reculture or use the batch you just made to reculture with also. They will both work.

    • Hi Donna,
      I have a couple questions about sweetening and flavoring. If sweetening with honey does the anti-bacterial properties of the honey interfere with the pro-biotic bacteria of the kefir? When I flavor the kefir with fruit I puree the the blender but am afraid to put the kefir in the blender for fear of destroying any of the bacteria. Would using a high powered blender affect the bacteria? Thanks, I am new to this and thrilled that I found your site! I have recently been certified in holistic health coaching and still exploring and learning, fermentation is fascinating. I am loving all your ideas and knowledge, I will be referring clients your way if you don’t mind 😉

  12. I have a hard time finding milk kefir grains and I accidentally bought water kefir grains. Can I make milk kefir with these water kefir grains. I can’t seem to find anything about this They are in a small silver packet with no instructions.

  13. Donna, I got free grains. Not even a tablespoon but I have them. Yippee!!! I purchased WHOLE milk (grass fed cows) but I want to know if you can use store bought Kefir add Kefir grains to make a batch of Kefir. Why would I??? Good question… I have to buy a whole (no pun intended) gallon of milk and would prefer not too have to buy a gallon.
    Thank you!!!

  14. Where do I get the kefir grains? (I just bought starter, but it sounds like the grains are the way to go from a financial perspective.)

    I’m sure it must be both here and in your book, but I’m just not seeing it!

  15. Hi Donna,
    I’m about ready to make my first batch of Kefir using the direct-set method. I plan on using raw milk (skimming the cream off first). I’m just curious – can you second ferment the kefir made with the powder?
    Thanks!

  16. My kefir is a runny white . I think it should also separate with a clear liquid which may be whey. I do not see anything that could be whey .Secondly I left it out on the counter for two days and it smells so strongly like yeast that I am afraid to use it . It was very thick and almost in strands and wonder if I have ruined the grains. A friend brought his grains up from Florida to West Coast so he could continue to make Kefir. He gave me the grains. Should I use Kefir that smells strong like yeast, and secondly have I ruined the grains> I added milk and then after it re fermented I put it in the fridge. I even wanted to rinse the Kefir grains in water to reduce the yeast .Can you do this.

    • If thy smell strong they are over fermented. Have you been using raw milk with cream? the cream can give it a really yeasty smell and I always remove the cream before fermenting with it.You can use this kefir but not if you don’t like the smell and taste. Please don’t ever rinse your grains in water only milk. Here are some blogs to help.
      https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/dont-rinse-your-kefir-grains/
      https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/the-thick-and-thin-of-kefir/

      • Hi Donna,

        A friend sent me some kefir grains (They are descendants of yours!) and I started making kefir last wednesday. I just read this comment, and mine has been very yeasty, as well. I did not know to skim off the cream for raw milk. Have I ruined my kefir grains? They are currently in the fridge until I can get more raw milk. Since I had never had kefir before, I thought it was the way it was supposed to smell. I’ve been making smoothies for my husband and I- when I urinated last night, it smelled very yeasty- just like the kefir smells. 🙁
        I will eat some sauerkraut today- and am starting off the day with plain organic yogurt from the store to try to combat the yeasts I ingested. Oh, and I have candida.
        BTW, I love your site! I am going to buy your book when we have the money to spare!

  17. I am new to Kefir making. I currently have been buying Lifeway Kefir, but want to start making my own. The Lifeway brand states that it is 99% lactose-free. When making one’s own Kefir does it naturally become 99% lactose-free due to the fermentation process or does Lifeway add a step in their kefir making process to make it lactose-free? As you may have guessed, I would like to make my own Kefir but also have it lactose-free as much as possible.

  18. Hi Donna! I’ve been doing the Trilogy for almost two years now, and WOW! I’ve turned on many people to you, your website and your book 🙂 Four of my friends attended your lunch last year at the “Italian villa”, and a few of us were at the cultured dinner the year before. I have to say, you are an amazing woman.

    My question: Is raw milk kefir alkaline or acidic? And is Kombucha alkaline or acidic? I’m working w/ a cancer patient who won’t drink raw kefir because she thinks it’s acidic.

    Thank you !!

  19. thanks again for encouraging us to make these cool things – they sure have made a difference for me. I just made a batch of red-cabbage sauerkraut, and it is not only absolutely beautiful (such a red!) but so tasty! thank you – I’d never have dreamed I could eat this well or feel so good about food! wish I could post a picture of my jar of red cabbage sauerkraut!

  20. I was wondering if Goats milk would have enough lactose in it to keep the kefir culture going or would I have to switch to cows milk too. The goats milk does not create as much mucus as does cows milk.

    • Goats milk will work great with kefir. You don’t have to keep refreshing it in cows milk. It doesn’t thicken like cows milk but stays creamy and really delicious.

  21. Hi Donna,
    The directions in the Kefir starter package state to heat the milk up first before adding the culture. Your directions here do not include heating, and in your book you say to follow the directions enclosed with the starter. Will I have good results if I don’t heat the milk first? This is my first attempt at kefir. I’ve been very successful with my kombucha, (scoby & starter from you!) and I want another positive experience with kefir. Getting tired of buying Lifeway, lol. Thanks!

    • I have never heated the milk and have always had great results. Most yogurts say to do this as well as it makes for a thicker product but this gets plenty thick so there is no need to heat the milk unless you want it to ferment faster.

  22. Can you consume kefir in smoothies without reducing it’s healing impact? Or does in need to be taken straight up? 🙂

  23. I surely LOVED this article! I buy the Lifeway plain kefir from the health store but it is a little expensive. I am a recent (3 months) lover of kefir and all this “kefir grains or powder” is all new to me. I did find on the American Diabetes Assoc. w.site, that they suggested taking so much of the Lifeway kefir and adding it to fresh milk (does that mean organic or is it raw milk, or any milk “fresh” out of the store? I see people are using coconut and almond milk, too, which I also drink, though not always organic) and leaving it for so long covered in a warm place and then refrigerate it. That sure would stretch my dollar better as for the price I pay now, I don’t drink as much as I would like. Kefir has a unique taste to me, a lot like thick, “liquified” cottage cheese but a little more sour going down but with a pleasant “I just ate some cottage cheese” after taste. How can I tell if I made it according to them, if it has worked or gone bad and didn’t work? I don’t want to drink it as sour milk only to find it was bad and something went wrong. You seem to have done a LOT of work in this area! Also, as a Type 2 diabetic, how do you take it? Before, during or after meals and how much? 1/4 cup? Shot glass? Half cup? So far I haven’t seen any results as far as my sugar readings. Please help! Thanks!

    • If you have diabetes I really recommend making your own kefir for you receive more benefits and more good bacteria. I have not seen as many benefits for people who buy the store bought and as always home made is better. You also can’t make kefir cheese from the store bought which makes me question if they homogenize it and process it in some way I am not aware of.

  24. Donna, does the kefir starter culture package have bacteria and yeast that get activated or does it contain only bacteria culture? I have kefir grains which I use for myself but the starter culture is ideal for someone who is hard pressed for time. You have a wonderful website, thanks!

      • Hi Donna,
        I ordered your fresh kefir grains but I found it difficult continuing the process what also happened to me was that I was getting like water in the jar and the grains were more like cream than grains. I lost ambition and through everything out. Reading about the dry kefir I think I will get it from you and try again because I am buying Kefir, I love it and I am feeling much better than I used to. Thank you for your advise.
        Just one question. Is almond milk ok to use?

        • Almond milk doesn’t work very well with the packages. It does sometimes and than other times it never seems to quite ferment right. I would make your first batch with regular milk and than use some of that to make almond milk and go from there, This seems to work the best.

  25. I just bought Organic Pastures raw kefir…Can I make more kefir from this? Would I just add the kefir to raw milk, or would I need to see if there are kefir grains in the kefir, filter those out, and add them to raw milk? Thank you!

  26. Hi Donna, thanks for your article. I just started with kefir culture as I can’t find grains here yet. Can I use the culture in other liquids like apple juice, sugared water or my home made nut milks? I don’t drink milk because of the taste and the idea that its full of cow mucus and chemicals.
    Thanks, emily

  27. I just want to say that I’m so glad I found this website, Facebook page, and your book. I am 38 years old, and have not felt alive, or happy since I was 15. Everyday is the same to me, just a different date, year after year. In depressed, high anxiety/panic disorder and severely OCD and always assuming the worse. My body is feeling the way my mind is and I don’t like it. Since finding your page, I have started drinking kefir, started with the store kind, and within the last week been making it at home. You can definitely tell the difference of the two. My son rather the store kind but I’m working on both my kids. Their not fond of the sourness. I also have my 1st batch of kombucha and sauerkraut going and I’m growing impatient lol. I’m slowly feeling better, and I feel less desired to have junky food. I have been eating bubbles veggies until mine are done. Can’t wait to incorporate all these different cultured foods daily so I can begin to feel alive, like you!
    Thanks, you are truly an inspiration to me, to live each day!

    • Tina I know just how that feels! it does get batter. and with these cultured foods, the taste is so clean that soon you won’t even look at junk food as food anymore – it just looks like fake garbage! hang in there!

  28. This article, “Do You Feel Alive Inside? – Cultured
    Food Life” ended up being terrific. I am impressing out a copy to
    clearly show my associates. Thank you-Zack

  29. And BTW, what do you do with all of your extra grains? Funny, it’s kind of like that nasty friendship bread, only good for you and more versatile 😛 I have mine socked away in the fridge and I can’t remember if the Kefir grains are good for the garden like the Kombucha scobies. I have those socked away as well.

  30. Donna, I have been making Kefir for over a year now, but recently I’ve gotten into the habit of feeding my grains enough to get by without straining it for 2-3 days (vacation mode). So far I haven’t noticed a big difference, it’s remained pretty thick until this last week it went too long and it’s runny. I’ve NEVER had it runny before and it rarely gets to the point where the whey separates as it did this time. I’m a little worried that I’m destroying my grains. What are your thoughts? Thank you for the post, time to get remotivated!

    • It might be a change in the weather that has made them slow down. If they still sour and thicken the milk then they are good but if they continue being runny and it never separated they may be damaged and you might need new ones.

  31. Donna,
    Can you use kefir grains in coconut milk to make kefir, or do you need to use the kefir starter instead. I tried once, but it didn’t seem to thicken at all. Also I may have asked this before, but can’t remember if i did or not or what the answer was. apparently my brain needs more kefir.

    • You can use kefir grains to make kefir but you have to refresh them once a week in regular milk to keep them alive. Kefir grains work better than the packages with coconut and almond milk.

  32. If I tried coconut milk should it be the more condensed in can milk or can I use the thinner ready to drink Milk?

  33. Excellent motivational blog! I posted it immediately to my facebook. I hope it speaks to some of my friends and family. You have certainly fed my health change over the last 2 years, Donna. Thank you! Happy New Year!

  34. Donna, a friend shared your website thru a link on facebook. I watched your story and I just blown away! I look forward to learning how to improve my health and happiness in 2013!
    Thanks Judy

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