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How to Make Homemade Milk Kefir

Do you want to make your own homemade milk kefir from kefir grains? You will see that it’s very easy, and in a very short time you will master its preparation.

You need:

 

Make milk kefir in 3 easy steps

  1. Add the milk kefir grains to milk
  2. Leave to ferment for 24 hours at room temperature.
  3. Filter and taste!

 

What is milk kefir?

Milk kefir is a creamy, tangy, and slightly sparkling drink that can be made from any animal milk. Its origins date back thousands of years, and originated in the middle of the Caucasus Mountains. There, kefir was drank for its alleged virtues of health and longevity. Since then, the grains have multiplied through the ages to reach us!

Milk kefir is a kind of cousin of yogurt, but with different microorganisms, a more acidic taste and a more liquid texture. It is traditionally made from milk kefir grains, but it is also possible to prepare it from powdered kefir starter. However, here we will focus on the preparation from grains.

Kefir grains - those little white, gelatinous clumps that look like little cauliflower - are teeming with a multitude of bacteria and yeasts in search of milk to ferment.

Milk kefir grains

 

Why make kefir at home?

  • It's delicious
  • It's easy and fast to make
  • It's safe
  • It's good for your health

 

Recipe for milk kefir from grains

Makes 1 liter of milk kefir

  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • Fermentation: 1 to 2 days

Equipment

OR

Ingredients

  • Approx. 2 tbsp. of milk kefir grains
  • 1 liter of milk (from cow, goat, sheep, camel, etc.)

Have you just received your dehydrated grains? Before you start, learn how to reactivate them.

Preparation

  1. Pour the milk into the jar
  2. Add the kefir grains
  3. Mix
  4. Cover and let it breathe:
    1. Cover the container with a cloth held in place by an elastic band,
    2. Or, for Kefirko users, partially screw on the top cover.
  5. Leave the jar to ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. The milk will thicken and develop a sour taste.
  6. Filter through the sieve to separate the kefir grains from the liquid.

And there you go! Your kefir is ready to drink, and your grains are in great shape to ferment a new batch of milk!

 

How to drink your milk kefir

Plain milk kefir is delicious as it is! Its tangy taste, creamy texture and light sparkle make it a thirst-quenching and refreshing drink.

However, you can also personalize it! A touch of honey or mashed fruit turns kefir into a creamy smoothie. You can also explore more savory options, turning your kefir into a dip, sauce, or even kefir cheese.

Pouring milk kefir in a glass

How to store your kefir grains

Kefir grains love when they are fed regularly. The best way to preserve the grains is to ... make kefir again! To avoid ending up with gallons and gallons of kefir, make smaller amounts, but more often.

However, you can keep your grains to stretch out your kefir production.

Short shelf life (1-4 weeks)

Refrigerate grains in about 2 cups of milk. The grains will continue to turn the milk into kefir, but much more slowly.

Change the milk every week. The first fermentations after they have been refrigerated may take a little longer than usual. Don't worry, they will regain their vigor after a few batches.

Long shelf life (1 month or more)

Freezing (option 1)

  1. Rinse the grains in cold water.
  2. Gently dry on a clean tea towel.
  3. Place the grains in a freezer bag.
  4. Add a little powdered milk.
  5. Put in the freezer.

Dehydration (option 2)

  1. Rinse the grains well in cold water and drain well.
  2. Set the dehydrator to 35° C (95 ° F) and place the grains in it for 24 hours.
  3. Transfer to a Ziploc-type bag.
  4. Add the same weight as powdered milk, with 10% baking soda.
  5. Keep refrigerated.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to find kefir grains?

Milk kefir grains multiply naturally. So, if you know someone who makes their own homemade milk kefir from grains, they will surely be happy to give you some!

Otherwise, we have quality kefir grains in our store with clear instructions on how to reactivate them.

My milk kefir is separating! What do I do?

If the fermentation takes too long, the milk can separate into two layers: the white curd will float to the surface and the yellowish-translucent whey will remain in the bottom of the jar. If that happens, it's okay: the taste will be a bit stronger. Once the grains are removed, you can still mix the two layers with a whisk or in a blender.

What is the best milk to use for milk kefir?

Any type of animal milk! Cow's milk is the most widely used milk for kefir due to its availability and good results. Goat's milk gives a tasty kefir, but with a little more liquid than cow's milk. If you can get your hands on other animal milks (buffalo, camel, mouse?), don't hesitate to experiment!

Can I make kefir with lactose-free milk?

Kefir grains feed on the lactose in milk. If we cut off their food source, they will not last long!

Luckily, kefir contains much less lactose than milk. Some lactose-intolerant people can consume milk kefir without problems.

Can I use plant-based milk to make kefir?

Yes and no.

If you put kefir grains in soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk, the bacteria and yeast will ferment the liquid.

However, the results can be inconsistent and unsatisfactory. Additionally, kefir grains are not made to survive for long without animal milk. So you can use your extra grains for experimentation, but this is not a long-term solution.

How do I get my  kefir grains back after fermentation?

Pass the kefir through a colander or sieve. If you are well-motivated, you can pour your kefir into a shallow bowl and go fishing with a fork.

If you want to make your life easier, handy tools like Kefirko allow you to pour the kefir and keep the grains in the jar.

What is the alcohol level in milk kefir?

The yeasts present in the grains will produce a low amount of alcohol comparable to that found in kombucha or water kefir.

A "young" kefir fermented in 24 hours contains around 0.1% alcohol. However, by prolonging fermentation for several days at room temperature, the alcohol content could go as high as 2%.

How do I get sparkling milk kefir?

Plain milk kefir has very few bubbles. You can boost bubble production by bottling your kefir in pressure-resistant bottles and letting them sit for a few days in the fridge or on the counter.

But be careful not to let the pressure build up too much! You certainly don't want to clean your ceiling!

Can I use metal with milk kefir?

Rumors say that the metal is dangerous for kefir grains. It's a stubborn myth!

You can use any stainless metal without any problem. Most kitchen utensils are made of stainless steel, so they are kefir-safe.

What is the difference between kefir culture and kefir grains?

The grains are the traditional wild culture, while the powdered culture is made from selected bacteria and kefir yeasts.

Each option has its strengths and weaknesses, but both can produce very good quality kefir. Read our article on how to choose the best option for you. 

What is the difference between water kefir and milk kefir?

Even though these two cultures have the same name, they are quite different!
Milk kefir grains ferment animal milk to create a sort of tangy drinkable yogurt.

Water kefir grains ferment sweetened water, making a sparkling, slightly acidic drink. Read our article to learn what is the difference between water kefir and milk kefir.

 

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