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How to make Kefir

Kefir, how do you make it?

It is quite simple and a lot of fun. You can make kefir with a variety of milks, dairy and non-dairy.

There are two ways to make kefir.

One way is with kefir grains that will reproduce and last a lifetime (if you don’t kill them with heat or starve them by not feeding them.) Or you can purchase kefir culture packages.

The culture packages is the method I used when I first started making kefir. I call this method “Kefir for Beginners.” It’s really easy, you can make as much as you want, and it doesn’t require you to make kefir every day. It comes in a powder form, and you basically just add milk and you’re done. Six packages can make up to 42 gallons of kefir. So if you’re struggling or feel overwhelmed, this is a great place to start.

Here’s my How to Make Kefir video from my DVD “The Trilogy

Kefir Grains is the method I use now. It’s a little bit more involved, but it’s still really easy. You have to keep your grains fed and happy, but in return they will make you delicious kefir! The kefir made from grains is actually a lot stronger than kefir made from the powder packages. The powder packages have ten good bacteria, and I mean really good ones. However kefir made from kefir grains has over fifty!

When I switched to grains, I saw a big difference and never went back. I really love my kefir grains, almost as much as I love my children. If you take care of your kefir grains and love them half as much as I do, they will make you wonderful kefir for the rest of your life!

You will need to either find or purchase kefir grains.

Donna’s Live Kefir Grains – My personal grains!

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Ok, let’s make some kefir!

Here’s the methods for making kefir:

Kefir (Grains)
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I make kefir using kefir grains everyday. Kefir grains last forever if you take care of them and will last for generations.~Donna
Ingredients
Servings: Cups
Units:
Instructions
Making Kefir
  1. Place fresh kefir grains in a glass jar and fill the jar with fresh milk (best not to fill jar more than 2/3 – 3/4 full)
    Place fresh kefir grains in a glass jar and fill the jar with fresh milk (best not to fill jar more than 2/3 – 3/4 full)
  2. Place a lid on the jar or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for approx. 24 hours (Or until the milk has thickened or has become sour to your liking)
    Place a lid on the jar or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for approx. 24 hours (Or until the milk has thickened or has become sour to your liking)
  3. Pour the contents into a strainer and strain the kefir into a container to separate the grains from the liquid kefir
    Pour the contents into a strainer and strain the kefir into a container to separate the grains from the liquid kefir
  4. Wash the jar, then place the kefir grains from the strainer back into the washed jar.
    Wash the jar, then place the kefir grains from the strainer back into the washed jar.
  5. Add fresh milk, then the whole process is simply repeated for the next batch.
    Add fresh milk, then the whole process is simply repeated for the next batch.
Taking a Break from Kefir
  1. If you need to take a break, place your grains in milk.
    If you need to take a break, place your grains in milk.
  2. 1 Tbsp to a cup of fresh milk will last a week in your fridge before you need to change the milk.
    1 Tbsp to a cup of fresh milk will last a week in your fridge before you need to change the milk.
  3. Add more milk if you have more grains.
    Add more milk if you have more grains.
  4. Your grains will continue to grow and multiply with every batch of kefir you make, so you will need to add more milk as they do.
    Your grains will continue to grow and multiply with every batch of kefir you make, so you will need to add more milk as they do.
Kefir Changes
  1. Your kefir can ferment and be thin and pourable or thick like yogurt.
    Your kefir can ferment and be thin and pourable or thick like yogurt.
  2. The temperature in your house determines how fast it ferments.
    The temperature in your house determines how fast it ferments.
  3. In the summer it ferments faster and tends to be thinner. In the winter it ferments slower and is usually thicker and creamier.
    In the summer it ferments faster and tends to be thinner. In the winter it ferments slower and is usually thicker and creamier.
Kefir Seperating
  1. If your kefir separates into whey and curds, don’t worry it’s just a little over fermented and is still good to drink.
    If your kefir separates into whey and curds, don’t worry it’s just a little over fermented and is still good to drink.
  2. You need to add more milk or shorten the fermenting time.
    You need to add more milk or shorten the fermenting time.
Creamy Kefir
  1. If your kefir separates into whey and curds, here’s a trick to make it creamier again:
    If your kefir separates into whey and curds, here’s a trick to make it creamier again:
  2. Remove the grains and place the over fermented kefir in a blender and blend for a few seconds.
    Remove the grains and place the over fermented kefir in a blender and blend for a few seconds.
  3. Place it in a jar in the fridge and let it sit overnight or for 8 hours.
    Place it in a jar in the fridge and let it sit overnight or for 8 hours.
Recipe Notes

(*1) Most milk-types 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.

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Kefir (using Easy Kefir)
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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
  • 1Packet Easy Kefir
  • 1Quart milk(See Recipe Notes below)
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 Recipe 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.

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Second Ferment Your Kefir

Once you get the hang of making kefir, I encourage you to start second fermenting it. Not only does second fermenting increase the nutrients in your kefir, it also make it taste a LOT better! I always second ferment my kefir. It’s not hard and I encourage you to try it and see the difference!

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Store your kefir while on vacation

If you are unable to make kefir with your live grains for a short period of time and would like to store it, place your grains in at least 2 cups of milk, remembering that if you have 1 Tbsp of grains to 1 cup of milk rule and adding a little more. I like to store mine in at least 3 cups of milk making sure that they have plenty of food to eat. Then you place this in the refrigerator. This will last for one week and then if you want to do it longer drain the milk and add new milk after 1 week. If you are going  to be gone longer than a week double the milk you would add. Your grains eat the lactose (milk sugar) out of the milk and you want to be sure they have plenty to eat so they won’t die.

It is a living colony and needs food just as you do!