Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Make Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made from kefir grains, which is a combination of bacteria & yeasts in a protein/lipid/sugar matrix. It is pronounced as "kuh-feer", rather than "kee-fur", though both have become acceptable.

The grains contain a polysaccharide known as kefiran, which makes the kefir ropey and thick. The grains cannot be cultivated from scratch, and are usually shared between growers, though they are sometimes bought and sold as well. The grains will continue to grow with each fermented batch of kefir, though grains are not used in commercially available kefir.

Traditionally, kefir grains are added to milk and allowed to sit at room temperature for about 24 hours, agitated twice a day or so. After fermentation, the grains are strained out of the kefir and used to start a new batch. The ready to drink kefir tastes sour or tangy and slightly carbonated, and will have a very small percentage of alcohol due to the fermentation, about 1% or so. The kefir, after straining, can be fermented for 2-3 more days to thicken it and increase the sour flavor if desired, and will last about 2-3 days without refrigeration, or a week when chilled. 

Kefir can be drunk by itself, or used with fruits as the base for a smoothie for those who might find the taste TOO sour for their liking. 

adapted from Dom's Kefir Site

1-2 Tbsp kefir grains (I got mine from Marilyn, the Kefir Lady)
2 cups fresh milk
Strainer & spoon

*Notes: Always use clean utensils and jars, but never add the kefir grains or milk to a HOT jar that is fresh out of the sink or dishwasher. 

Place the grains inside a clean glass jar.

Add the fresh milk, gently stir the milk & grains, then place a lid on the jar, leaving the lid a little loose. Never fill the jar more than about 2/3 - 3/4 of the way full.

Yes, that is a paper towel. 

Let sit at room temperature for about 24 hours, or until the kefir has thickened, stirring about twice a day. Keep the jar away from direct sunlight.

Strain the kefir into a clean glass jar; do not press the grains to extract the kefir. The grains can now be used for a new batch of kefir; they do not need to be rinsed.

The kefir is now ready to drink; it can be kept at room temperature, where it will continue to sour or thicken, or kept in the refrigerator, which will halt fermentation.

Note, if you wish to take a break from making kefir, simply place the grains in a jar and the same amount of milk that you would usually use to ferment a batch of kefir. Store in the fridge for one week, then strain the kefir (which is OK to drink). If you need to take a break longer than a week, strain the kefir each week and replace the milk. 

However, once you are ready to make kefir again, the grains may need a few batches in order to regain their strength; you might have to use less milk or ferment for a longer period of time.

After making kefir, the grains will grow, typically (for me anyway, doubling in size every week to 10 days). This gives you more grains to share with others, or to freeze/dehydrate for future use in case your live grains die/get poured down the drain/get abducted by aliens. 


  1. I would love to make my own Kefir product. I love kefir yogurt products as well. They are delicious, enticing and healthy. By the way, thanks for sharing your recipe with us. I can now make my own Kefir.

    1. You're so very welcome, Sharon - enjoy!!