How to Make Kefir

Gather Your Materials

Milk or Non-Dairy Milk

You can make kefir with a variety of milks – dairy, goats milk and non-dairy milk. Most milk-types are acceptable, including whole milk, fat-reduced, non-fat, pasteurized and homogenized. Fresh raw whole cow’s milk is delicious too! Please don’t use ultra-pasteurized milk when making kefir. Your kefir won’t do well. Many times organic milk that you purchase from a store is ultra-pasteurized, even if it does not say ultra pasteurized. So if you choose to use organic milk, make sure you know what you are getting and that it’s not ultra-pasteurized. The problem is that ultra-pasteurized milk is heated at high temperatures for longer than regular milk, causing many problems when making kefir. Remember that kefir will add enzymes and good bacteria to pasteurized milk and make it a new food; but when it is ultra pasteurized or heated for long periods, the milk is no longer viable for making kefir. Any other type of milk, including raw milk that you get from your local farmer, is still perfectly fine!

Non-dairy milk can make kefir, too, be it coconut, almond, cashew, oat, flax, and more!

17 Dairy-Free Kefir recipes

What Kind of Vessel and Other Materials

You will need a glass jar – we recommend a quart jar with a lid. A plastic lid is best, but a metal lid will work too. A spoon and a strainer will be needed if you use kefir grains, but you don’t need them if you’re using Easy Kefir. ( see the next step)


Choose Your Method

You will then decide which type of starter culture to use. We have two options, Live Kefir Grains or Easy Kefir powder packets.

The two methods are listed below:

Method 1: Live Kefir Grains

Kefir Grains are a wonderful way to make kefir. They will reproduce and last a lifetime (if you don’t kill them with heat or starve them by not feeding them). I’ve had mine for almost two decades and they keep making me kefir, and grow and double in size each week. Kefir grains are not really grains but rather combinations of good bacteria and yeasts that infuse your milk or non-dairy milk with over 50 good bacteria and good yeasts. They look like little pieces of cauliflower and feel a little rubbery. They’re tough little guys and you can pull them apart, and they just grow more. Kefir grains are a little like having a pet. You have to feed and take care of them but that’s easy to do and I can show you how. I love my kefir grains and they changed my life and health. I still have kefir every day. It’s a must for me and keeps me healthy! You will need to either find or purchase kefir grains. Donna’s Live Kefir Grains – My personal kefir grains!

Method 2: Easy Kefir

Easy Kefir is a super easy way to make kefir and almost foolproof! We have gone a step further and freeze dried the kefir grains into a powder. It’s fun and very easy to make! The kefir culture packages method is the method I used when I first started making kefir. It’s really easy – you can make as much as you want, and it doesn’t require you to make kefir every day, which is very convenient for people who are busy and not wanting to take care of kefir grains. It comes in a powder form, and you basically just add milk and you’re done. Six packages can make over 42 gallons of kefir. So if you’re struggling or feel overwhelmed, this is a great place to start. Easy Kefir – “Kefir for Beginners.”

Okay! Lets Make Kefir!

Get the Recipe

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients and starter culture, click on the recipe you need for the method you chose. If you are using live kefir grains, watch this video or click this recipe. The video teaches how to make kefir with live grains, how to make kefir cheese, and how to second ferment your kefir. It also has lots of information about why kefir is so good for you.

Kefir Made with Live Kefir Grains

Here is the recipe to make kefir with live grains.Kefir Grains recipe

Kefir Made with Easy Kefir

Here is the recipe to make kefir with Easy Kefir powder packets.Easy Kefir recipe

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 makes 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!

Click to learn more

What to do with your kefir while on vacation

Storing kefir grains for a week:

Place your kefir grains in milk. If you have 1 tablespoon of grains, store them in at least 2 cups of milk, 3 is better. I like to make sure that they have plenty of food to eat. If you have more grains, add more milk accordingly.  Then you place this in the refrigerator. This will last for one week. Coming home: When you return home strain off the milk that the grains were resting in and discard (you can also give this to pets!) and put them in new milk to make kefir. The grains will be a little slower making kefir when you first take them out of the fridge. The cold slows them down a bit, but the second time you make kefir they will be back up to speed.

Longer than a week:

If you’re going to be gone for more than one week, then I recommend you freeze them in milk. Store them in a jar in the amount of milk you regularly use, leaving a little room at the top for expansion when it freezes. Store in a glass or food-grade plastic jar with a lid and place in the freezer. You can store this for several months and they should be fine. They will take a little while to wake up when you remove them from the freezer, but once they thaw, strain them and give them fresh milk After a few days of making kefir, they should be fine. You will need to discard the milk they were stored in. Freezing kefir grains should only be done once in a while. Freezing and thawing them continuously can diminish or kill them, but once or twice a year should be fine.
353 Responses to "How to Make Kefir"
  1. Hi Donna,

    Update on my kefir making: I think all is well! It’s turning into a buttermilk consistency I guess, with little bits of curd, and I basically shake it up in the morning once it’s been in the refrigerator overnight, and have it with some green powder and potato starch for breakfast. The grains aren’t growing yet – I suspect it’s because I’m ending up mixing some of the grains into the kefir. But, I’m thrilled with the whole thing, and about to order some plastic lids from you. Thanks so much!

  2. Hi, I just started my first batch of kefir over 24 hours ago now. It was still runny up through today and by this evening I see it is slightly getting thicker. I am leaving it sit over night again, will this be too long? I had gotten the grains from a friend. they sat in my fridge in a jar for over a week before I started it, I think she had them in water or a very small amount of milk?? Do you think they are ok, or how can I tell if they’ve been killed? I know they are suppose to be fed and shouldn’t go too long without anything to feed on. Also, I didn’t know the cream was suppose to be removed from the milk before making it. I am using raw cow’s milk. The cream is on the top while it is fermenting, do I need to scrape the cream off? Or have I ruined my batch? Or can I still eat it with the cream on it? and just remove the cream from the milk before I start another batch? Thanks for any help you can give!

    • If it makes the milk tart and thickness it you are making kefir and they should be ok. You don’t have to remove the cream I just like the taste when I do because it tends to get very yeasty. It doesn’t hurt anything to leave it in.

  3. So far it’s not going so well. I feel I’m drinking plain milk – that’s a little sour. I got a plastic strainer type thing, with little holes, and the milk goes through, but I’m not clear if everything else that doesn’t is the grains. I can’t understand how if the kefir had thickened it would go through the holes or even the slotted spoon. I certainly don’t want to be drinking plain milk.

  4. Well, it wasn’t at all thick – is that okay? I put the new kefir in the refrigerator and covered the strained grains with more milk in the first jar and put that in the fridge too – to wait a day or so to take it out and let it ferment. All good? Was I supposed to wash the jar with the first batch before putting the grains back and adding milk? I sort of rinsed it. I’m lazy! Thanks, Donna. I can’t wait to taste my handiwork.

      • It was quite tart and sour, but the consistency of milk. I drank it after putting in some stevia and potato starch – why not? – but I hope I can figure out how to get it thicker. Thanks, and I hope you’re not interrupting your anniversary celebrations too much when you’re commenting here. Congratulations!

      • Things are looking up – I think. My kefir still is thin and has these bits in it, and the grains look more like cottage cheese than the clump I see in videos, but I did manage to find one small clump in there, so now we’re cooking with gas! I’m getting used to the taste, and very excited to be imbibing all these bacterial strains. Going out now to look for some larger strainers……. and I’ll be ordering lids 🙂

  5. Oops, I see I was supposed to strain the grains first. I have a slotted spoon, not a strainer, but I’m sure that will be fine. I can’t check on them tomorrow as I’ll be at work, but I’m assuming all will be well left for 24 hours. Thanks, Donna!

  6. Okay, Donna, your grains are came today in the little bottle. I just dumped the contents into a jar and added the milk about 3/4 of the way up, closed the lid, not tightly, and now will check back tomorrow afternoon. Assuming all goes well – and considering some of the comments on this post, I’m a little nervous – and I want to eat just a cup of kefir at a time, I can just not make new kefir every day, right? As long as I keep the grains in plenty of milk in the refrigerator? Or did I get that wrong? If I make two cups every day I’ll have way too much. Unfortunately no one I know wants to drink kefir with me every day!

    • You should have strained the grains out but its ok they’ll be fine. Yes you can make just a little and then store in the fridge with lots of milk and it will be fine.

      • Maybe I put in too much milk, as it’s pretty thin and not too tasty. Also there are still grains or clumps in there. Maybe the slots in the spoon were too wide. I get it now though – less milk makes it thicker? This is fun!

  7. The USPS delivered your 2 day priority live kefir grains in 4 days and the weather was warming up. I was so concerned they were dying!! Anyhow the first 3 batches of kefir were thin and very yeasty but then fourth day on looking and tasting great!! And boy do those lil grains grow like magic! Just to let other customers know not to give up on the grains at first if they had a longer journey. I want to try the kombucha but read if you have mercury fillings not to drink kombucha. What is your opinion on this ?

  8. Hi! I got my first grains (boxed, but grains not starter) yesterday and my first raw milk, & started my first kefir this morning. I was just perusing your site and found that maybe I should have removed the cream. :/ I have a cloth over the jar, not a seal. Do you think it will survive & make edible kefir? Also, what is it about the cream that can/will ruin the kefir? Thanks!

  9. Hi Donna! Your site has been extremely helpful in beginning my kefir experience. I didn’t read through all the comments, so I’m sorry if you’ve been asked this already. I want to know how long the kefir stays good in the fridge after it’s made? I’m sure it differs, but a ballpark number would make me feel better. Thanks!

  10. Hi Donna,

    Been making Kefir for just over a month, they grew very fast and I’ve been able to give away a lot of grains to family and friends, but then something just went wrong and now they no longer want thicken the milk. I’ve tried to fast them, put sugar in the milk rinse them with cold boiled water, reduced milk to grain ratio, increased milk to grain ratio…. but no matter what I do they just don’t want to thicken the milk. Did they die??
    Please help I don’t want to throw them away.
    Thanks for all your helpful information, your website has been a great help!!

  11. Should i be drinking the liquid drained off from the kiefer or eating the grains? I have read both….

  12. Hi Donna,
    I’m experimenting with making Kefir since I somehow stumbled on your site, which is a Godsend because it has helped my health immediately! Thank you for sharing your story!
    I purchased your kefir grains; I use organic raw milk and keep running into the problem of the kefir separating and the grains rising to the top. I keep coming back to your site to try to figure out the problem. Here is what I have tried:
    1 – 1 tbsp. live grains to 1 cup of milk – still separated. 24 hr. on counter.
    2- 1 tbsp. live grains to 2 cups of milk – still separated. 24 hr. on counter.
    3 – 2 tbsp. live grains to 3 cups of milk – still separated. 24 hr. on counter.
    4 – 1 tbsp. live grains to 2 cups of milk on a brewing pad (I thought our kitchen was too cold here in NY) – still separated but separated quicker than just on the counter.
    5 – I just found your answer to remove the cream from the raw milk which I have not tried yet so that is what I will try next.
    I second ferment all of the kefir I have made: blueberries, orange peels, just tried chai tea bag. The second fermenting also separates. I still drink it; it’s fizzy just not thick like the store bought kefir.
    Any thoughts on how to get it thicker?

    • Try 4 cups of milk to 2 tbsp grains and no heating pad and no cream and then let me know how they do. Only let it 2nd ferment for an hour on your counter and then place it in the fridge.

      • Thanks Donna! I’ll let you know how this one goes. On the second ferment I was letting it go a whole day on the counter. Oops :). I still drink it? I’m assuming it’s o.k. to drink…it hasn’t made me sick.
        Speaking of sick what are your thoughts about the controversy over raw milk and the increased risk of salmonella poisoning? I don’t believe it and it makes me think that making kefir overrides that possibility.

      • Okay…I’ve made 2 batches of kefir using the suggested amounts. I siphoned off as much of the cream on top of the raw milk as possible and used 2 tbsp grains 4 cups of milk. This batch didn’t separate however it didn’t get thick. The second time I tried 2 tbsp to 5 cups of milk. Still not getting thick. I’m second fermenting only for an hour and drinking it. Any other suggestions about getting it thicker? I use a turkey baster to siphon off the cream, is there a better way? Maybe I’m not getting all the cream out so it’s not thickening. I’m drinking everything I make….my husband only likes second ferment with blueberries.

  13. Hi Donna, I’m so frustrated! I have kefir grains and think they are fine as after 24 hrs of one tablespoon in one cup of milk the milk is definitely thicker but it smells almost like nail polish! Not sour or yogurty at all. After a second fermentation it smells even more like nail polish! My kitchen is the right temperature, I’ve got good raw cows milk that smells fine when I start… I can’t drink this and don’t know what else to do? It is also separated a bit…

    • Are you using the cream with the raw milk. This can get a strong smell and I always remove it before I make kefir. It can also get a yeasty smell and taste.

      • I read your comments about this earlier so I spooned off as much of the cream as I could before I made the first batch. I have now made kefir with these grains three times and they all smell and taste terrible! I don’t want to use store bought milk. I hunted out this organic creamery just so I could have raw organic cows milk to make kefir. It can’t be the milk that is the problem because it smells fine before I ferment it? I don’t know what to do… sigh…

        • Where did you get your kefir grains from? The grains should not be the problem. Are you letting it over ferment is it separating? Is it really sour tasting? How much milk to how many grains?

          • I got the grains from a friend in the area. She does ferment hers with just a towel over her grains and milk but has a nice kefir to drink every morning. I don’t know if it is over fermenting or not. Yes it gets thick and yes it separates but there is no sour taste-just a nail polish/cow smell! I only do it for 24 hrs and my kitchen is not overly warm. I use one T grains to one cup of milk. I did try moving it up to 1.5 cups milk but that didn’t help! Since your last post I have had my grains in milk in the fridge because I was just getting so frustrated having a ruined batch every day! The milk/grain combination smelled fine after two days in he fridge. Today I’m going to try a little experiment-I’ll try only fermenting the grains in milk on the counter for twelve hrs and see what happens. Maybe it’s just really over-fermenting? Frustrated! I really feel like I need kefir!

            • Yes I cover mine with a lid but I did try two batches one day-one with a lid and one with just a paper towel with a rubber band and the one with the lid smelled worse…

  14. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Donna. I’ve received milk kefir from a friend. She told me I had to strain, rinse under a running tap and give more milk – I can’t find on your page recommendations of rinsing, what are your thoughts on that? When metal is not recommended during straining, then what about using a metal spoon for eating the kefir – is that to be avoided too?

  15. I’ve been told not to use pasteurized milk to make Kefir (because of all the chemicals in pasteurized milk), but our state doesn’t sell raw milk. Is it o.k. to use pasteurized milk or should I do water of almond milk? Thank you!

  16. I have been doing water kefir. Can you use it for the cultured veggies. Also, my
    veggies were not crisp and crunchy, but more soft, mushy like. I followed the
    recipe, but something is not right. Any ideas, or do I have to use milk kefir?

  17. I have been using your kefir grains for almost a month. I keep a jar with milk and kefir grains out on the counter every day. They are fantastic. They grow daily and taste great. I like them a little sour so I keep them out longer, about 36 hours (we keep the house cold). After straining, I store the extra grains in the fridge, but I noticed that sometimes they turn to liquid in a few hours in the fridge; they no longer look like grains only milk. However when I take them out of the fridge and put them back on the counter they firm up and get that cauliflower texture. Is that normal? I had to label the bottle because they look like cow’s milk and someone might drink my backup kefir grains or kefir cheese.

  18. Help me Donna! I got dehydrated Kefir milk grains and they rehydrated beautifully and we enjoyed delicious kefir for two days. Then the temp dropped a bit and the kefir did not thicken after about 32 hours. I read that you can harm your kefir grains if this occurs (sudden drop in temp) and to throw out the milk and put the kefir grains in new milk and in a warmer place. I did this and it thickened a bit more than the previous time. My question is this; it is going to be cooler here for the next week or so, and without too many warm places in my home I am concerned I am going to damage my grains. Is this concern warranted? Or do I just simply need to let them ferment longer and am not being patient enough? Thank you for any advice you have for me in advance!!

  19. I have been making kefir for a couple of months. I used organic 2 percent milk the last fermentation, drained it and put grains in fresh milk. Later I found out milk I used last time had spoiled. Will my grains be ok? I threw away the kefir made with the sour milk. Thank- you for your site-love it!

  20. I purchased some kefir grains online and have made several batches. Now, all the kefir I am making has separated. The curds floating thickly. I added more milk to remedy this, but it still separated. What would you suggest?

  21. Hi Donna,
    How long does the actual kefir last once you strain and put in fridge?
    Love all your info by the way..

  22. Donna,
    I have been making Kombucha about 4 years now. I was cleaning my freezer out, and found my milk kefir grains that I had rinsed and put in there in 2009. I out them in milk and sat them on the counter for 36 hours, and it thickened. Do you think it is safe to use?

  23. Donna, I have been making Kefir from grains for a few months now. But I read on another site (BED with Gates) that it is not best to make your Kefir from live grains because the yeast to bacteria ratio can get thrown off and then you don’t really have a true fermented product or you don’t really have Kefir. What are your thoughts on this? I thought making Kefir from grains was better than from a powdered starter. I purchased my grains from a lady on my local Craigslist. They have been making a fizzy, bubbly beverage and continue to grow. Now I am not sure what’s best. Thanks so much for any information you can share. Blessings!!

    • I heard that too and when I first started making kefir I only used the powder packages but when I switched to the live grains I found the benefits were more and I have been using them ever since. I love the powder packages too but there is many more beneficial bacteria in the grains. 50 compared to 10.

  24. Hi Donna
    I intent to buy your kefir grains, but I only consume raw cows milk. What do you use in your grains?

  25. Hi Donna,

    Question 1: I got some milk kefir from a friend . It looks more like yogurt and I can hardly see any grains in it. I have brewed a few batches now and it continues to look like yogurt. Is it supposed to look like this? I see yours is more solid and in grains form. What should i do?

    Question 2: i also got some water grains and has been using coconut sugar for a few batches now. However, instead of being able to multiple the grains, the solid grains form turns mushy as if it is melting and the liquid is getting a bit thick. Is that normal? Why did it happen like this? I don’t seem to be having any luck with kefir grains although my kombucha is going really well… I really want to be able to grow the grains and keep them healthy. Please help.

    Thanks so much, Kitty

    • What kind of grains are they? Are the dehydrated grains or raw live ones. Are the reproducing and getting bigger?

      This can happen with water kefir grains and it sounds like you need new ones.I am not sure what causes it but it is the reason I use the milk kefir powder packages to make water kefir. It makes a ton and although you have to buy them when you run out one package will make 30 bottles and is much easier.

      • Thanks for your reply, Donna.

        Both water and milk grains are raw.

        For the milk grains, I could hardly see any grains in it, they look just like yogurt, very different from pictures I see from yours.

        With water grains, they were fine with my friends (in grains form, multipled too) but once with me, problem started. I actually got two raw batches from two different friends, they turned out the same result (melting) when they are with me. One friend suggested i should use organic evaporated can sugar because my organic coconut sugar has too much nutrient that attracts other bacteria . I’m not sure that’s true because I see some people using coconut sugar too and they are fine. I cleaned my jar well and i think the temperature is alight (I live in Hong Kong and at the moment it’s around 65 F). This keeps happening and I cannot break the circle….. 🙁

        I will need to check out the packet. Do you do international shipping? I so much want to get the raw grains from you.

  26. Hi Donna,
    I have bought a package of the dried kefir, but its VERY slow to grow, but it does thicken milk, so all good (they sink to bottom of jar). I was given a larger amount (larger grains about 2Tbsp) from a friend and noticed, they float and doesn’t seem to thicken the milk at all, even though there is 10X as much. Any suggestions to what’s going on. I don’t want to mix them until I know they are good.

    • Did you get the dehydrated kefir grains? They don’t grow as well as the live kefir grains. If those grains aren’t thickning and souring the milk then something is wrong with the grains. How much milk are you adding to how many grains?

  27. Hi Donna.

    May I ask a question: when i second ferment my kefir, does the jar I use have to have an airtight seal?



  28. I started my first batch of kefir. It didn’t thicken the after 24 hours. I know my house is cool (usually 60 degrees). It just came out tasting like sour milk. Should I leave it out to ferment longer?

  29. Good morning Donna,
    I’m order some of the Kefir grains from your store and I’m really enjoying the recipes from your book. My husband tells everyone I’m becoming a mad scientist! I have about 5 tablespoons of kefir grains now since I received them from you! What do I do with them I get such a kick out of watching them grow but I’m going through a lot of milk to keep them going? Any suggestions? And one other question does kefir help with constipation if you have suggestions as to how and what I can do let me know. Thank you Joan 🙂

    • You can actually eat the grains by blending them up in the blender and they have anti cancer properties. They will keep growing like crazy. Kefir does help with constipation unless it is detoxing you in the beginning and then you will need to go slowly like 1/4 cup a day.

  30. Hi Donna,
    You are so right about how people find the knowledge they need! I googled Kefir for dogs and came straight to your page about Christian. Bless you. I have a really emaciated rescue dog (got him Jan 1st 2014) and I am giving him lots of good stuff to fatten him up. His stools were appalling and he had been feed kibble and not much of it by the looks. He has been wormed and the vet says he will be fine, but you know how we worry when they can’t tell you how they feel. Anyway, yesterday I got some Kefir grains and put them in to get started and I have just given him half of the resulting liquid. Wow. He LOVED it. I was so happy to read Christian’s story and I so hope that my Sandy will soon follow suit. Also hoping that in a few days there will be enough for me too . . !! LOL x x x x x

  31. How do I know if my kefir is dead? I had
    mine in the refrigerator for 3/4 weeks without changing or adding milk.

  32. Hi Donna,
    I am living in the UK I have set my Kefir by the aga so warm place in the kitchen. I left the kefir on the bench for about 4 days without changing the milk. It is very thick but not quite yogurt thickness. Is this ok to add to the kefir in the fridge or should I discard it. Can you leave it to long. I would hate to make the family ill.

    • You can refrigerate it. It is fine just probably extra sour. No worries the good bacteria dominates and keeps out pathogens and bad bacteria and makes it safe just really sour. Kefir preserves milk.

  33. Hi Donna and Team,
    How do I put my Kefir cultures starters on Vacation. Also I have live Kefir and wanted to know when I put those on vacation can I use the milk after I come back on the live as well as the starters? (is it filled with the pro biotics?) How do I restart the starter and the live kefir. I am so excited about finding y’all and eating culture foods for my health. I thank the Lord for this blessing.
    Another question is on my cultured vegetables can I reuse the water to make new cultured vegetables? Do I need the vegetable culture or is there a way to make it with out?
    I want to be a member with y’all but I will have to wait as I went over board with my first two orders but this was my Valentines to my self. Ha!!! My husband didn’t have to by me flowers or candy and I like this much better.
    I pray my Kombacha turns out as it has been cold here in Rockport Texas!!! Crazy!!!!
    Can’t wait to try it out as at our small health food store here, they want $4.00 a bottle and that is hard to enjoy on a daily basis money wise.
    Thanks again,

    • Storing Your Kefir on Vacation

      If you don’t want to make new, kefir and want to store it, place it 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. It eats the lactose (milk sugar ) out of the milk and you want to be sure it has plenty to eat and won’t die. It is a living colony and needs food just as you do.

      You can use the brine to make more culture veggies just add extra water to cover the new vegetables and use the brine as your starter.

      Have fun on your trip!

  34. Hi Donna. I have been using my grains since Nov 13. They have grown and I have shared with numerous friends. I have changed from cows to goat skimmed milk. My grains are looking a bit stringy after straining them, Is this normal? Also I have become quite constipated, my friend seems to be experiencing same problem. I have a glass before bed and a glass for breakfast, it keeps me full through the morning. X

    • They probably need some liquid minerals and the stringiness isn’t bad, but often constipation is from eating foods that the body is trying to cleanse you from and added minerals to you kefir will help with that. Just a few drops makes a difference. It can also be the milk and temperatures that cause this but it isn’t a bad thing

  35. Is kefir okay for babies – my grandson (6 months old) is lactose intolerant and has bouts of colic. This is the first I’ve heard of kefir and I’m very interested in trying it! Thank you!

  36. I have been making Kefir for about a month now. I started with a powder starter and have made a new batch nearly every day. It does say only 7 batches or so but it keeps thickening and souring so I figure it’s still good. Am I still getting the good benefits? Also I have been using store bought milk. Am I missing out on a ton of benefits by not using raw milk? I will get the grains eventually but wanted to see if we would use it or not first.
    Thank you.

  37. Hey, I was wondering how much milk I can use for just a teaspoon of kefir grains, and also can I use other kinds of mik like goats and almond milk with the same kefir grains or do I need to get different batches of grains for them?

  38. Hi Donna,

    My Kefir does not thicken at all. It does taste a little sour though. What might be causing it not to thicken? Thanks!

      • I use about 1 Tbsp grains and 2 cups milk and I let it ferment for 24 – 30 hours. The temperature in my house rranges from 70 to 76.

        I also wanted to know about the time I can let the milk ferment in the grains. Can I leave like 3-4 cups of milk ferment for a couple of days on the counter, not refrigerated (I wont consume it since it will be really sour; I want to kinda store the grains without refrigerating them to avoid them going to “hibernate” ? Thanks for your help!

        • I would only leave them on the counter for 24 hours and then second ferment for a few more after you remove the grains. Longer fermentation is not better unless you give them more food. It stresses them and reduces the probiotics.

  39. Donna,
    I have been enjoying making kefir. My end product is a bit fizzy – is this the way it is supposed to be?

  40. I read your recipe for second fermentation. It sounds great. Do I leave the grains in the kefir for the second fermentation or not?
    Thank you,

  41. I just received my Kefir grains and I strained them and put them in a 2 quart jar. You called for a 4 quart one. Was I supposed to strain them? It didn’t look like there were very many, maybe a scant 1 tablespoon. I then covered the grains with a little more than a cup of whole goat’s milk, hopefully that is what I was supposed to do.

    • Yes, you were suppose to strain them but it is ok if you didn’t. It will ferment faster and might separate because you didn’t strain it. I call for a quart jar but you can use whatever you like. These grains will grow like crazy and then you will have to increase the milk and size jar very quickly. After 24 hours strain them and add them to 1 1/2 cups of milk. You did great.

  42. Donna,
    Do you stir or shake at all during the culturing process? I’ve read differing opinions-some say always shake, some say only when you add the milk and then before straining, others say it doesn’t really matter. My grains have grown from 1T to 4T, and using 1 cup of milk up to 4 cups it always thickens about 3/4 of the jar and the rest still looks like milk. I eventually stir it (24-36 hours at 70 degrees) and within 20 minutes its separated, sour, thin and gritty. I’ve been blending it which helps, but it’s still thin like milk (I use whole).

  43. Is there a way to make the milk kefir 100% lactose free? My understanding is after the 24 hour fermentation on the counter at 70degree there is about 10% lactose remaining. I ordered and have received my grains from you but have been “storing” them in the refrigerator. I keep refreshing the milk to feed them. I can not have lactose right now. Maybe in 6 months lactose will agree with my intestinal tract. Do I need to toss our the 2 glasses of milk that I store the grains in each week?? I know I can not drink the “storage” milk but maybe my son can. The “stored” milk has never sat out on the counter to ferment. Thank you for your help, Kathy

  44. Hi,Donna! I have a question.Milk should be cold right from the frige,or warm it up litlle,to room temperature?

  45. I can’t see the list of Canadian grains share list unless I fill out some sort of survey. Is that a scam? Any way to get the PDF without a survey???

  46. Hi Donna, in your notes above, regarding storing kefir grains in the fridge – when you drain the milk – can this be consumed or should it be discarded. I have some that appears to be usable kefir. It’s taste is fairly strong/sour so I am going to try to second ferment it with fruit. Thanks. PS – can’t wait for my copy of your book to arrive!

  47. Donna, I am having trouble with making Milk Kefir, as I live in a cooler temperate area in Australia, so it’s either taking a long time to ferment or not at all. The house can get down to less then 15 degrees overnight. There are no ‘warm’ spots in the house, do you have any suggestions for this problem? Thanks 🙂

      • No, not an electric one. I might have to look into it. Would a slow cooker set on low, with the lid off be any good? It’s kind of like a heating pad? haha

        • Yea you could try this but put a pad or thick cloth on the bottom so it wont get to hot and I would turn it off and on if it ferments to fast. Can you test the temperature. I don’t want it to be to hot and kill the grains.

            • I wrap my jar in cloths and stick it in the cupboard. You could try to wrap the jar in a warmer blanket type of cloth or even some winter scarves or hats.