I love kefir!
It's fresh, and a little sour, which reminds me of yogurt and other Middle Eastern flavors from my childhood. It also satisfies and tastes the place of any sugar cravings I might have throughout the day.
What Is Milk Kefir?
It's a yogurt-like cultured dairy product made from milk and the “mother culture”: kefir grains.
These grains are beneficial bacteria and yeasts that form a rubbery, somewhat translucent whitish/yellowish, cauliflower-shaped clump. They can range in size from a grain of wheat to a hazelnut.
Ideally, kefir should be a thickened milk with the consistency of thin, drinkable yogurt. The beneficial organisms from the grains have spread throughout, giving a wonderful probiotic boost to the drinker! It actually has more probiotics than yogurt!
According to The Body Ecology Diet, kefir…
- is a natural antibiotic
- does not feed yeast, such as candida
- can be tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant because the beneficial organisms eat most of milk's lactose
- provides the enzyme lactase to digest any remaining lactose
- coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating a nest for beneficial bacteria to colonize
I bought my kefir grains from Cultures for Health. Although my first batch of kefir over-cultured into curds and whey, I soon got the hang of it!
How To Make Milk Kefir
- 1 tablespoon kefir grains
- 1 quart milk* (ideally raw, but pasteurized is okay)
Recipe easily scaled up or down.
*I've made kefir with goat milk and cow milk, and both are delicious! If you're dairy-free, you can even make coconut kefir!
Start your batch of kefir by pouring milk into a quart jar. Add kefir grains. Cover jar with a thin towel, and secure it with a rubber band. Now let sit out on the counter, several feet away from any other cultures or ferments (like kombucha or yogurt).
Kefir takes about 24 to 48 hours (depending on temperature) to develop its tart flavor and thickened, smooth consistency.
The next day, taste and gently rock the jar to see if it's done. Look for a thicker-than-buttermilk but thinner-than-yogurt consistency, and a fresh, sour flavor.
Repeat the above process with your kefir grains so they always have fresh milk to culture.
If you ever accidentally over-culture your kefir, how do you tell the difference between the kefir grains and kefir curds? It's pretty easy! While kefir grains are rubbery and stay together in a clump, kefir curds don't hold together.
Also, remember that over-culturing means more sour kefir, but it's not harmful. Just not as fun, maybe! 😉
For more information about kefir and other cultured foods, check out our Cultured Dairy & Cheese eCourse, as well as our many free resources:
- How To Make Thicker Milk Kefir
- 8 Yummy Ways To Eat Kefir
- Help! How Do I Find My Kefir Grains?
- How Do I Know If My Kefir Grains Aren't Good Anymore?
- My Kefir Looks _______! Are My Kefir Grains Okay?
- How To Dehydrate Kefir Grains
Do you know how to make milk kefir? How do you like to eat or drink it?
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