Skip to main content

How To Make Kefir

What is kefir and why should I make it?

Thanks for asking! :) I started making kefir a few months ago without really knowing much about it.  My mother-in-law had used kefir to make some amazingly light and fluffy waffles while we were visiting them in 2010, and so I put kefir grains on my "to-aquire" list.  

Probiotic.org says, "Kefir is a milk-based beverage that is made by fermenting milk (goat, cow, sheep) with kefir grains and is rich in both enzymes and beneficial bacteria. This beverage is made with the kefir culture, and this culture is more commonly referred to as a “grain.” Kefir “grains” are comprised of lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, and polysaccharides. The live bacteria and yeast found in kefir grains are friendly microorganisms that not only aid the digestive system but also help strengthen the intestines and resist the growth or harmful bacteria or pathogens.  Kefir has a uniform creamy consistency, a slightly sour taste somewhere between buttermilk and sour cream, and a mild yeasty aroma." 

The claimed health benefits are numerous; in addition to replenishing your intestinal flora and aiding in digestion, kefir supposedly prolongs life, lowers cholesterol, slows the growth of certain cancers, improves the functioning of the liver, gall bladder, circulation, and metabolism, and has even been said to reduce acne and eczema.  How much of that is true?  I'm not sure.  But it's so easy to make, I figure if there's any truth to those claims at all, I want in on it!  If you want to read more about how kefir differs from yogurt and why you might consider adding it to your diet, you can do so here.

Kefir grains are weird looking, sort of spongey little things.  They look a bit like cheese curds.  See?


I was lucky enough to have someone give me my milk kefir grains (hers had reproduced and she had extra), but if you want your own, I'd order from Cultures For Health.  You can also sign up for their newsletter and get a free e-book of kefir recipes including several for smoothies, desserts, and dairy-product substitutes, like sour cream.

To make kefir, you need a clean, glass quart jar.  


Fill it about 4/5 of the way with milk (when you add the grains, the jar should be full with a little headroom).  The grains are generally happiest in high fat cow's milk, but you can also make coconut, soy, or goat milk kefir.  Water kefir grains are also available at Cultures for Health (I'm not connected to them in any way, I've just read good things about them on several other blogs).


Drop in your grains (about 2 tablespoons of them).


Set a clean canning lid on top, not fully covering so the kefir can breath.  A material like cheesecloth would also work.  That's it!  Let the milk ferment at room temperature for 24-48 hours, and bam!  You've got kefir.  We like it best somewhere between 24-36 hours.  After it's done fermenting, you can cap it tightly and refrigerate it.  Use a plastic, bamboo, or nylon colander to strain out the grains when you're ready to use the kefir, as metal is reactive and could harm the grains.

Grains keep quite well in the fridge in a little fresh milk between uses (I've let them sit a few weeks at a time), or can be frozen in some water if you don't want to make kefir for a few months.


Some of our favorite uses?

Blended up with apple juice, frozen berries, banana, a few tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract for a mighty fine smoothie.  Baked in delicious naan (use instead of the Greek yogurt) to accompany an Indian meal.  Kefir also makes a fantastic substitute in most recipes calling for buttermilk.  It makes absolutely wonderful, light and fluffy pancakes and waffles. 


P.S. - Yogurt more your style?  Yogurt is also pretty easy to make.  We've been using this little yogurt maker for about 7 years now, but we bought it when the maker was in regular production and it only cost us about $20!  Amazon does have some other options, but thankfully I've now heard from several friends that yogurt can be easily and successfully made in a slow cooker, which many households already own.  I found some step by step directions here, but Google will yield many, many more, for regular and Greek yogurt


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clay Cookie Craft

Though school is out for the summer there are a few things my little lass and I are still trying to work on consistently--reading, piano, and art.  Now, I have some fine art background but I don't consider myself very crafty, at least when in comes to coming up with fun projects for kids.  I loved this project from The Little Hands Art Book because it combined some great elements of cooking, sculpture, and painting.  I like crafts that actually teach something.  The bonus here is that we ended up with some great looking little cookies for my daughter's play kitchen.  Here's the salt dough recipe you need to get started (click on the photo to see it full size):


We left out the alum and baked the cookies.  We also halved the recipe.  I had my daughter (who is 4) pour the ingredients into a bowl and after I got the mixing started, I taught her how to knead the dough like bread.


The dough becomes smooth and pliable.


I split it into two sections to make it more manageable and l…

Quadro: The Coolest Toy You've Never Heard Of

Usually the content of my blog falls under either parenting, homemaking, or food.  Sometimes you get a poem or some thoughts as I meditate on what God is teaching me through his Word.  Usually my goal is to encourage, inspire, and perhaps amuse.  Today, my aim is not so noble--I just want to share a unique thing my family has been enjoying. 


This is Quadro--modular building toy, a prop for imaginative play, and active play equipment. 

Winters are always rather intense in our neck of the woods, but this one has been particularly frigid.  Nevertheless, my son asks to go outside to play pretty much every day.  I've had to say no a lot, or risk little frostbitten fingers or losing short stuff in a snow bank.  How's a little guy to burn off energy when running circles through the living and dining rooms gets old and his best playmate (his older sister) is busy with school?  This was one of our considerations as my husband and I discussed Christmas gifts for the kids this past yea…

My Unexpected Love for Cloth Diapers

I like to write about things I am very interested in and excited about.  Presently, I'm pretty excited about cloth diapers. 


We've been full time cloth diapering for several weeks now and I like it a lot more than I ever expected to.  In fact, I feel pretty stupid for not switching sooner.  I know it will change some when we introduce solid foods, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Right now, I'm just thrilled at how easy it is, how cute and colorful everything is, how much less garbage I have to walk out of the house every day, and that I got to cancel all my Amazon diaper subscriptions.

Shortly before making the switch to cloth I saw this image in a Facebook community.  It's from a display at The Giggling Green Bean, via DirtyDiaperLaundry.



I wouldn't call myself a tree-hugger, though I do believe it's our responsibility to steward God's creation well.  But this image made me feel a little sick, and it's just an illustration of one …