Do you love kefir, or would you like to try it? Here's an easy guide to make it yourself!
- Glass jar (about 1 quart capacity)
- Jar lid or cheesecloth
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) kefir grains
- 2 cups (500 mL) milk
- Place grains in bottom of a clean glass jar.
- Pour 2 cups of milk over the grains and swirl gently.
- Cover with cheesecloth or lid. If you use cheesecloth as a cover, the carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation can escape. But if you prefer a fizzy, carbonated kefir, cover your jar loosely with its lid. (Don’t tighten it completely, as the gas does build up!)
- Place covered jar on a counter or shelf away from direct sunlight to ferment for about 24 hours. A room temperature of about 72° F is ideal. If the temperature is warmer, your kefir will be ready sooner; if colder, it may take a little longer. If you see a separation of curds and whey in your jar, the kefir has begun to over-ferment. No disaster—just shake it up to make a uniform texture and move on to the next step.
- Strain kefir through a sieve. Gently collect the grains with a spoon, and transfer to another clean jar to make your next batch of kefir. (See note below)*
- Place the strained kefir in the refrigerator to store.
* Note: If you don’t want to make a batch of kefir right away, simply cover the grains with fresh milk and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to culture them again. Change the milk every 7 days to keep your stored grains fresh.
How can I use kefir?
Kefir is a refreshing, slightly acidic drink on its own. It tastes somewhat like yogurt. It makes a great addition to smoothies and very fluffy pancakes or waffles when used in a recipe that calls for buttermilk. Try it as the base for a cold summer borscht. To read more about kefir, read our article: All about Kefir: Answers to Five Top Questions.
What are kefir grains?
They are a mix of bacteria and yeast that form a gelatinous mass in a crystalline matrix made of proteins, fat and carbohydrate. They can be quite tiny to start with, but can grow to resemble cauliflower florets.
Where can I get grains?
If you know anyone who is making kefir, they will always have some grains to give away! Kefir grains multiply over time when they are well maintained, and soon you’ll have some to share too.
You can also purchase grains in a packet. These grains will be very tiny and will need to be reactivated by pouring a cup of fresh milk over the grains and refreshing daily for a few days or longer, depending on the ambient temperature. Use a very fine sieve to collect these early, tiny grains. More detailed instructions will come with the package.