How to Make Milk Kefir - A Bountiful Love

How to Make Milk Kefir

 What exactly is milk kefir? Kefir is a powerful probiotic drink made from the fermented milk of cow, goat, or sheep. Don't let the word "ferment" turn you off.  The fermented or cultured dairy had been used for a long time (since early times) by preserving raw dairy milk naturally with Streptococcus and Lactobacillus bacteria.  The cultures are used to make another batch of the fermented dairy products by acquiring it from a previously made batch.  Initially in the process of fermentation, the lactose (milk sugar) is converted into lactic acid with the help of lactic acid-producing bacterias:  Streptococcus and Lactobacillus lactic acid producers prevent dairy from spoilage and improves the digestibility of milk. Fermented dairy products offer health benefits to our bodies. The consumption of fermented dairy on a regular basis prevents certain chronic illnesses because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antihypertensive properties. Moreover, its probiotic characteristic can heal our guts.  Some widely used fermented dairy products are sour cream, cultured buttermilk, yogurt, and kefir.

  Kefir is a very refreshing drink that is similar to yogurt but contains more colonies of beneficial bacteria. Kefir has some two hundred microbes living in their own biofilm and is made using  KEFIR GRAINS. Kefir grains are always compared to cauliflower because of its flowery appearance but it is soft to touch, clumped together, and slightly translucent. If you are not familiar with kefir grains, you can check this post: What are Milk Kefir Grains?

  Kefir is a natural antibiotic as it contains strains of beneficial yeast and beneficial bacteria in a symbiotic relationship. Though it is similar to yogurt, it is usually more tart but refreshing! It is good for our gut, natural medicine for the digestive system, and immune system. It rebalances and stimulates our gut flora. We consume it every day. We love making smoothies, ice cream treats, and even salad dressing with kefir. If you are still unsure of the health benefits of kefir or any fermented dairy products, I will share a few references at the bottom of this post, and be sure to read these as well:

Nourishing Plot

Bumble Bee Apothecary

How to make the milk kefir:

   Once you obtain the kefir grains, place the milk kefir grains in a clean glass jar, add milk, and cover with a lid. Leave the jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 24 hrs overnight. It will ferment quicker in the summer season. Do a second fermentation (only do this when you just obtain the grains or when you are trying to add fruits for flavoring your kefir). Dump the milk, and feed the grains again. I usually do a cup for every teaspoon of grains. As you do your research on grains, you will find differing opinions on ratios. After the second fermentation, your milk kefir is ready. 

   Strain the grains from the milk  Store your kefir milk in a glass jar or drink it right away. No need to wash the jar that you had just used to make your kefir, you can put the grains back and start a new batch. Kefir needs to be "fed" with milk every 24 hrs.

 It ferments quickly during summertime. I love using mason jars to store my kefir. Sometimes, we drink the kefir right away, other times I store it in our fridge for making smoothies, muffins, dressings, and much more! Stay tuned because I will be sharing recipes that use kefir. 

Where to buy or acquire Milk Kefir Grains:

You can buy the grains from Etsy, Amazon, Cultures for Health, or from any friends or relatives that can pass a teaspoon of grains to you. These grains multiply so your friends or relatives will not run out of grains. I do sell the grains on Etsy and Facebook marketplace

Materials you made need: 

Plastic strainer or stainless steel (no reactive metals like aluminum) 

Mason jars

wooden spoons 

Glass bowls


Upon receiving your kefir grains, feed them immediately. It will look “flat”. My rule of thumb is 1 cup for every tsp. You will be feeding your grains with 1 cup . It may take 2 to 3 days for your grains to “activate”. Keep on feeding it every day. If your kefir is too thick, don't panic. That is totally normal. I sometimes pour the whey that is strained from the kefir back to the strainer and I gently mix the thick kefir to separate the grains. As your grains grow, increase the milk too. if it is too tart, we love drinking it with honey! We also make kefir shakes with berries. I have also frozen a kefir shake and ate it like ice cream. 

Here are a couple of good "activation" instructions:

Milk Kefir Activation by Positively Probiotic

Milk Kefir Grains Troubleshooting

I hope you find this post helpful and will give kefir a try. Cheers to good health!

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Next Read:

What are Milk Kefir Grains?

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