How to make Kefir
The instructions here are for making kefir the traditional way, from kefir grains. Kefir can also be made from a powdered starter, but this is a more expensive approach, as you will need to use a fresh starter every 1-7 brews (depending on the quality of the starter). Kefir grains, on the other hand, can be reused indefinitely and they will continue to multiply, so you will eventually have enough kefir grains to start sharing them with others.
The best way to get kefir grains is to find someone in your area who has some to share or sell. Check with your local WAPF chapter or try the Kefirlady’s Kefir Grain Exchange. Kefir grains can also be shipped long distance, if you cannot find them locally, although the shipping can be hard on the grains, and you may have to brew the kefir a number of times before you will start getting good results. Cultures for Health sells dehydrated kefir grains and will ship them internationally.
I make my kefir continuously (that is, I brew it everyday and I only brew 1 – 2 cups at a time, which is about how much I drink per day). I only store the kefir grains in the fridge when I am either out of milk or away from home for a few days. Kefir grains go into a semi-dormant stage when stored in the fridge and I find that the first batch of kefir I make after taking them out of the fridge doesn’t brew very well, so I prefer to keep my grains out of the fridge as much as possible.
How to Make Raw Milk Kefir
Ingrediens: kefir grains and raw milk (preferably)
You will need:
2 glass jars (such as mason jars) with metal lids plastic mesh strainer
wooden or plastic spoon
1 tablespoon kefir grains per 1 cup raw milk
Place the kefir grains and raw milk into a glass jar.
Let sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 24-48hrs. (or until the grains have properly fermented the milk)
Strain the kefir into another jar using a plastic mesh strainer. You can now drink the kefir immediately or cover with a lid and place in the fridge to chill first.
The kefir grains that are in the strainer can then be put back into the empty jar (rinse the jar first, if needed). Add more fresh milk and repeat the process.
If you do not want to make another batch right away, store the grains with enough milk to cover them in the fridge. You can store them with the lid on, as they will not produce much gas when refrigerated. Replace the milk with fresh milk once a week.
There is no need to rinse the kefir grains inbetween brews. This will weaken them, especially if the water contains chlorine — this can actually kill your grains. If you must rinse your grains because they have gotten dirty or contaminated in some way, then use only spring water.
Also, do NOT use metal utensils with the kefir grains. Use only wood or plastic.
So what should a good kefir taste like? It should be sour like yogurt and slightly effervescent or bubbly. If it tastes or smells more like curdled milk, then your kefir grains are not active enough to produce a good fermentation (or perhaps the milk you started out with wasn’t very fresh). Give them time. You will get a better result with each successive brew. When a batch of kefir doesn’t turn out, it’s still safe to drink (as long as you use raw milk, which doesn’t spoil like pasteurized milk does) and is great for making pancakes with!
For more kefir info check out: Dom’s kefir web site