Making Kefir

Supplies:
  • A non-metallic strainer, or a stainless steel strainer
  • Two glass jars
Instructions:
  1. Obtain some kefir grains. These are the essence of kefir, the gooey blobs of yeast and bacteria living in harmony that look like slimy cauliflower. The bacteria and yeast ferment (digest the lactose in) the milk and turn milk into kefir.
  2. Combine fresh, good-quality milk and the grains in a glass jar with a loose-fitting lid.
    1. In general, 2 tablespoons of grains can ferment about a cup of milk. Adjust accordingly. 
    2. Good quality milk means the best you can get your hands on: raw (unpasteurized), whole, non-homogenized, grass-fed cow's or goat's milk is the best. If you don't own a cow or goat, raw milk can be very hard to come by. If all you can find is skim Dean's milk from the 7-11, it will still work and you'll still get the bacteria in your body, but the best kefir comes from the best milk. 
    3. Do not put a tight lid on your fermenting jar! While the kefir ferments, it releases gasses that can cause pressure buildup and possibly burst your jar. Additionally, the fermentation process needs fresh air, otherwise it will starve. So a jar should keep the dust out but not much more—some people use a paper towel or cloth and rubber band for a lid.
  3. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. Strain grains from fermented milk with a non-metal (or stainless steel) strainer. Kefir is acidic and may leech the metal into the drink and into your body, so heed this advice to be on the safe side.
    1. If this is your first batch, particularly if the grains traveled to you through the mail, consider discarding the first batch or two while the microflora adjust to your environment. This is optional...trust your nose
  5. Drink the fermented milk (that's kefir!). We like to put the kefir in the refrigerator overnight to drink chilled kefir, or make a kefir fruit smoothie
  6. Add more milk to the grains and repeat. 
    1. You may optionally clean the jar and/or rinse the grains in non-chlorinated water (use distilled or well water; city tap water can kill the good bacteria!). If you wash the jar with tap water (we do it a few times a week), make sure to dry the jar clean of the water before putting the grains and milk in. 
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