I love winter kefir! It’s often creamier and thicker than summer kefir. Kefir acts differently in the winter than in the warmer months of the year, due to cooler temperatures that make it ferment more slowly.
Kefir ferments in 24 hours at 69-73 degrees, but drop those temps and have a lot of fluctuations and it’s going to take your kefir longer to ferment. This is for both Easy Kefir and kefir made with grains. It could take an extra day (total 48 hours of fermentation) to really turn tart and kefir like, and perhaps longer if the temps are lower than 64 degrees. I recommend you find a way to keep your kefir warmer than 64 degrees – otherwise, it might not ferment at all. Heating pads can help, but they often get too warm, so placing it near a heating vent often works the best. That being said, you’ll have to experiment and see how your kefir does. It has a mind of its own, and it will often ferment just fine but just take longer. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for it to ferment just as long as it gets tart tasting. Then you know the bacteria have eaten out all the lactose and turned it into probiotics and is ready to eat.
Use a wider jar
We used to live in a house that had a lot of temperature fluctuations, and at night the temps would drop down to 64 degrees, while daytime temps were about 70 degrees. My kefir grains still fermented, it just took longer. I started using a jar that was wider and fatter and the grains seemed to like this better. It gave them more surface area and they spread out in the jar and the result was such creamy, thick kefir. I just love my winter kefir.
Signature of your unique bacteria
Your home is a signature of your unique bacteria. You change every room you walk into with your good bacteria, and it happens within minutes. Researchers from the Home Micobiome project took seven families (18 people, three dogs, and one cat) and moved them into new homes across the United States. Quite rapidly the homes were changed to the bacteria they brought with them, just by their very presence. The people were ethnically diverse, and not all of them were genetically related. They had a cloud of bacteria with them that followed them into the home. In this study, when someone left the house for a few days, researchers could discern that person’s absence in the microbial aura. They could actually tell when people were coming and going in and out of the house. They found a pathogen called Enterobacter that was transferred to the kitchen counter from one person’s hands and then picked up by another person’s hands; but no one got sick, because they had enough good bacteria in their bodies to keep them well.
The more you make kefir and other cultured foods the more your home will become filled with all these good bacteria and good yeasts too and you will have created it, by fermenting and consuming cultured foods. Your ferments will do better and so will you. So if it’s colder in your home, try a wider jar, let it ferment longer or find a way to keep it warmer. Kefir doesn’t like it too hot either. At 78 degrees it will start to separate into whey and curds and this isn’t bad, just less appetizing. Check out my article the Thick and Thin of Kefir for more info and help.
Different types of kefir
You won’t regret making kefir and we have so many options: dairy versions, 17 non-dairy recipes, and goat kefir too, which is what I’m making and loving right now! Goat kefir is crazy delicious and good for you. You make it the same way you make regular dairy kefir.