We are talking homemade kefir here people. I am so excited to share my little adventure with you. I am sure everyone around me is like, enough already. But I just can’t help it. I am a huge fan of this stuff and let’s be honest, it’s a blast to make. If you are new to the world of good bacteria, be sure to check out my post here. You’ll get the nitty gritty on it. This post is about making this MoFo. So let’s get on with it.
First off you need to get your little hands on some milk kefir grains. Be mindful here because there are two types of kefir grains, milk and water. We are talking milk here people. I purchased mine from Fushion Teas and could not be happier. They send them fresh, which really makes a difference. Some come dehydrated and you have to give them about two weeks to plump back up. When you get your grains you need to feed them a bit before you start making your batches of kefir. If you go through Fushion Teas they give you a break down of how to get your grains back up and running. They also send you a pdf of kefir and why it is so great. I am not affiliated with them, just really impressed with their product.
When your grains are ready to rock, put your grains in a glass jar pour milk over them. Now this part is seriously experimenting with how much milk your grains need in order find your consistency. Fashion Teas suggest 6 cups of milk to 1 tablespoon of grains to make thick kefir. I found that not to be true right away with the grains. I did a ton of ratios. At first I did 3 cups and it wasn’t thick enough. If you’ve had store bought kefir, you’ll know it’s thick and creamy like a drinkable yogurt. I strived for that consistency. Then I did 2 tablespoons of grains for every quart of milk, 4 cups, and BAM. It wasn’t until a made my eighth batch that I found my consistency. So hang in there and keep trucking until you find what tickles your fancy. You will start to be able to read your grains. If you have to much milk for your grains, you will not see any separation of your curds and whey. If you have to little milk for your grains, you will see massive separation of your curds and whey. You do not want that either. The crazy part is that both batches are perfectly fine to drink, just not ideal consistency. So again you can’t really mess this up.
A little moment to talk about the milk we use with kefir. You want whole milk here people. NOT ultra-pasterized. What happens with ultra-pasteurized milk is, it is most likely heat pasteurized which means that it is heated to the point of killing any and all bacteria. We have learned that there is some bacteria that we want, right. So this milk doesn’t really have to many nutrients. The grains need milk with some bacteria to help it thrive. You can use raw but you may need to start with whole milk until you get your grains going strong and slowly transition them to raw. You can also use coconut milk but it may take some experimentation with it.
You do need to let your grains grow and mature. When you get your grains they will be little and be about 1 tablespoon. My grains are now about three tablespoons and plump and healthy, making much better kefir. The best part about these bad boys is that they grow and multiply and soon enough you will have more then you know what to do with. That’s when you share the love. Give a tablespoon to a friend or family and guide them through their adventure. Remember these grains are alive, so they must be fed with a little milk if you are sharing them with someone.
Next, you place a plastic lid. Or you can use a coffee filter, cheese cloth over the top and secure with a rubber band. Just don’t use metal canning lids. Place that bad boy in your pantry and give it about 24-36 hours. You will want to see slight separation of the curds and whey on the top or sometimes it’s on the bottom. That’s how you know it’s done. Depending on the weather can determine how long you let it ferment. If it’s hot out probably closer to 12-24 hours, if cold out then closer to 36 hours.
Next, take a plastic strainer. You cannot use metal, stainless steel is ok, but not metal. Just stick with plastic and glass here people. Get a glass bowl and a plastic strainer and strain your grains from the milk. Take a plastic or wooden spoon and gently move the grains around to help them separate from the curds. Go ahead a spoon your grains back into the same glass jar, you can start the whole process over if you’d like.
Well now, your kefir is done. You can do two things here. You can drink it straight, which may be a bit sour and thin. Or you can add some fruit to it and do a second ferment. Doing the second ferment is where I discovered my thickness and consistency. So far I’ve added blueberries, that was great. I’ve puréed bananas, that was amazing. This last batch I did here I puréed bananas and strawberries, so far my favorite. I also add a touch of maple syrup to each batch to cut the sourness down. You can also use honey. Honey just doesn’t mix as easily.
To do the second ferment, after straining the grains add puréed fruit of choice. Now here, you are going to put an actual lid on it, doesn’t have to be air tight but tight. Put it back in your pantry for 6-12 hours and BAM. You got yourself some deliciousness.
Now, let’s say you done making kefir for the week and you don’t want to make any more. All you are going to do is take a pint size jar, or whatever size you need, put your grains in it and pour enough milk to cover your grains plus an inch or so. Place the jar in the refrigerator. Putting your grains in the fridge slows down the grains and the fermenting process. They will last for about a week or so. Just make sure after a week you give them fresh milk to fed off of. The milk that you use to store them in is still delicious and can be consumed.
Get crazy here people. Once you got the basis down start trying new things. You want this to be delicious, that way you actually drink it everyday. I make about a half gallon a week and that seems to last us. I’m so excited to share this with y’all. Kefir can be made into cheese to! Which is super exciting to make, post sure to come. Let me know how your kefir comes out.
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