How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (2023)

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (1)

It never occurred to me that I would have to set up "terrains" on the kitchen counter.

crockContinuous Kombucha BrewingOccupying the eastern end of the kitchen island,sourdough starterlives between the sink and the stove and occasionally fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut) live near an overflowing bowl of eggs.

Now, a new member has joined the club:


I've known about kefir for a long time, but always thought I had enough fermented dairy in my life (akayoghurt, Thischeese, Thiswhipping cream, Thiscottage cheese... do you understand what I mean?), until I realized that kefir might beHere is the answer to a question I have struggled with for years. But more on that later...

What is Kefir?

Kefir is an ancient cultured probiotic drink that is similar to drinking yogurt.

(I pronounce it KEE-FER, but I think the "correct" way to say it is "Ki-FEER".)

When I first heard about kefir, I didn't understand why I would make drinkable yogurt instead of eating it with a spoon. However, I've since learned that kefir is packed with probiotics (even more so than yogurt, and it's a really cool cultured dairy product.

Where does kefir come from?

No one really knows how kefir grains started or where they came from, except that we know it originated somewhere in the mountains of Asia.

For some reason, this aspect of kefir totally amused me as we all eat this fermented milk of unknown origin.

Hey, it seems to work, don't you think?

In any case, kefir is made fromkefir grains,They are small colonies of microorganisms. (Don't worry, they don't contain gluten/wheat, they just look like lumpy grains or cottage cheese, hence the name.) These kefir grains were originally used to ferment milk in the stomachs of sheep to make it drinkable Health Benefits of of drinks.

A quick note about water kefir…

There are two types of kefir: water and dairy.

Water kefir is a water-based, slightly sweet, fermented tastes like kombucha.

Water kefir is very similar to dairy kefir in that you can use it as a home for grains. In addition to replacing milk, you can also use cereal to add probiotic soda to sugar water.

If you don't eat dairy, choose water kefir instead of the classic milk version. you can grabWater kefir grains start here.

I've made water kefir before, and in fact, it was responsible for one of my most epic kitchen explosions to date. I have a cup of raspberry water kefir on the counter that I let ferment for far too long during the hot summer months. The lid popped and raspberry water kefir splattered all over the walls and ceiling of my kitchen, making me look like I murdered someone. good time.

However, this particular explosion was my fault (and not the usual one), so don't let that stop you. This is a good thing.

While you can convert milk kefir to water kefir, it is a complicated process. So, if you want to drink water kefir, I recommend you buy directlywater kefir grainsTo keep things simple.

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (2)

Why Kefir is good for you

Everyone knows that yogurt is good for the body, but kefir is even better. In fact, milk kefir contains up to 61 different strains of microorganisms (source).

When I had strep last year, the natural remedies didn't do what I needed, so I ended up going to the doctor for antibiotics. After a round of antibiotics, I knew I needed to increase the gut bacteria that had been destroyed by antibiotic use.

I originally looked into store-bought kefir to boost my gut function, but then learned that store-bought kefir is usually not made with kefir grains, but with lab-grown bacteria. It's still good for you, but not as strong as homemade kefir, so again,Homemade is ultimately the best option.

How to use kefir milk?

So what to do with this runny yogurt?

good question.

You need to refill your kefir every 24 hours (more on kefir grain nutrition below). Each time you do this, you'll end up with a finished kefir (usually about 4 cups) that will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

At first, I was worried that I would have 87 cans of kefir left in my freezer, but my kids gobbled it up as fast as I could. (I like to add a littleMaple sugartheHoney*Use it to relieve strong odors. )

Kefir isrich as buttermilk, but it also has a slightly exciting snapshot. It might take some getting used to, but I've found that most people get used to it pretty quickly.

In addition to direct consumption, it can also be used withsmoothie, milkshake,or as a substitute for milk butter in many recipes ( buttermilk cookies).

*Use code "JILL" for 15% off.Raw honey is my favorite.

Which led me to the Kefir deal

when I bought this bookThe art of natural cheese makingBy David Asher I couldn't believe my eyes when I read thisYou can use milk kefir as a culture in place of cheese culture packets to make almost any type of cheese at home.


So if you can keep your kefir alive, you no longer need to buy a cheese culture pack from the store.

(Because frankly, it's always bugged me that to make cheese you have to keep buying cheese-growing kits.)

Asher writes: “Every cheese in this book [There are so many cheese recipes in this book!] and others can be prepared using kefir as a leavening agent. It is a general leavening agent containing mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria, suitable for cheesemaking under any conditions. Kefir grains are also a bacterial source for aged cheeses, as kefir contains species of bacteria that feed on the products that leave behind lactic acid bacteria. Kefir cultures provide a continuous flow of ripening bacteria for each aged cheese. Cheese made with kefir as a leavening agent does not taste like kefir and tastes similar to traditional raw milk cheese. "(source)

I'm telling you, it's revolutionary.

Why didn't I think to ask earlier? Of course, back then people didn't have sachets of cheese cultures...duh.

mesophilic cultureandthermophilic cultureis the most common cheese growing package you will have at your disposal. Kefir, however, is much more versatile and can be used in almost any kind of cheesemaking adventure.For most homemade cheese recipes, the average amount of kefir you need is about 1/4 cup, not that much.

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (3)

How to make milk kefir

You won't believe how easy it is...If you have ever saved sourdough starter, then you will have no problem making milk kefir.

Note: Store cultures in different areas of the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. I like to feed my food at the same time as part of my morning routine.

Kefir Description:

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (4)

1. Supply of kefir grains. You can get them from friends who already make kefir, or you canBuy Kefir Fermented Seeds Online. When the grains arrive in the mail, they are dehydrated and look like crumbs. Just follow the directions that come with the kefir grains for hydration. (Basically we add a little milk each day until they are rehydrated.)

2. Once the kefir grains are activated, you just need to get into the rhythm. put cerealquart size jarsThen pour fresh milk (I used raw milk).

3. Let the jar sit on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours. The next day, the milk will curdle.

4. Drain the kefir grains and use the finished kefir in any way you like. Add the fresh milk back to the jar with the kefir grains and repeat.

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (5)

Kefir Kitchen Notes:

  • Remember, you will be producing 4 cups of kefir per day. If you go on vacation, like leaven (hereMy tips for dealing with yeast problems), you can put kefir grains in milk and keep them in the refrigerator. It may take a few days for them to reactivate, but it really is that simple.
  • At first, this intense process was very annoying for me-until I found this quick trick:When I started trying to strain my kefir, I used the large mesh strainer over the bowl to catch the grains and trap the finished kefir in the bowl. Because it was so thick, I had to constantly scrape the mesh with my spoon to keep the stuff from draining, and then I was left with several dishes each morning. Since then, I stumbled upon itSuper convenient Kefir lid kit from reCAP Mason jars. The lids screw directly onto any jar and the little filter insert pops out. It cuts down on my dishes significantly and makes the stretching process much less of a headache.

How to Make Milk Kefir • The Prairie Homestead (6)

If you want to get these awesome covers and you have until the last day of July 2020 to do so, you canSave 20% on a set of reCAP Mason Jar LidsWhen you use code HOMESTEAD at checkout.(Bonus: You can also use the lid as a shaker and strainer for a million other uses in the kitchen). Anything that makes my daily tasks easier is a huge win for me.

So you see - I'm officially a kefir lover and I'll keep you posted when I start using it in more cheese making techniques!

Do you use kefir? What's your favorite way to spice it up?

More traditional cuisine tips:

  • mineCrash Course in Traditional CookingIt will help you gain confidence in the kitchen without wasting time
  • cooking with salt: History and Cooking Techniques of Traditional Cooking
  • How to grind your own flour
  • Easy sourdough bread recipe
  • How to use a fermenter
  • How to bottle Kombucha at home

look at mineHome businessLearn more about my favorite items for the home and cheese shop.


How do you make kefir milk at home? ›

How to Make Milk Kefir
  1. Put the kefir grains, about 2 teaspoons, into a clean glass jar with about 3 cups fresh milk. ...
  2. Place a plastic lid on top of the jar, but do not tighten it. ...
  3. Place the jar in a warm place, out of direct sunlight, for 24 hours. ...
  4. Tighten the lid and shake well.

What is the ratio of grains to milk to kefir? ›

-Place 1 Tbsp kefir grains in a glass jar and fill with 1 cup fresh milk. The ratio of grains to milk should always be 1 tbsp to 1 cup, and can be increased if you'd like to make a bigger batch. Leave about an inch of room at the top to make room for carbonization and grain growth.

What happens if you add too much milk to kefir grains? ›

If you use too much milk, the milk can go off before the kefir grains have a chance to ferment it though, so be sure to understand how much it can do, and gradually increase from there. To get lots of kefir quickly with just a few grains simply keep adding milk without straining.

What is the best milk to make kefir with? ›

The best way to make kefir is to use animal milk. Any milk is suitable, whether it's cow's milk, goat's milk, or sheep's milk. Animal milk contains all the nutrients for your kefir grains (or powdered starter) to be able to turn it into kefir.

How much alcohol is in homemade milk kefir? ›

A “young” kefir fermented in 24 hours contains around 0.1% alcohol. However, by prolonging fermentation for several days at room temperature, the alcohol content could go as high as 2%.

Is it worth making kefir at home? ›

If you've tasted shop bought kefir, you might be in for a bit of a surprise at first, but you really can learn to love the homemade variety. If you choose to use lots of grains and grow in an open system it can taste fizzy and yeasty. If you use a few grains and a low-oxygen environment it can taste fresh and mild.

How long can I leave kefir grains in milk? ›


Add milk kefir grains to 2-4 cups fresh milk. More milk for longer breaks is best, to keep the grains well fed. Put a tight lid on the container and place it in the refrigerator. The milk kefir grains should be safe and healthy for up to 3 weeks.

How long should milk kefir ferment? ›

Kefir generally takes 12 to 24 hours to form. The exact amount of time will vary depending on environmental factors, the most important of which is temperature. Cold temperatures slow the fermentation process (and it can be all but stopped by placing the grains in milk in the refrigerator).

What happens if you let kefir ferment too long? ›

Overfermented Kefir is More Potent

It will become more curdled and you will see separation happening. The liquid whey will separate from more thicker kefir. Additional fermenting time will also change the taste, it will become more sour.

What happens if you drink kefir milk everyday? ›

Nutritionists and healthcare professionals suggest that regularly drinking kefir may improve health in 2-4 weeks. The several health benefits of kefir include improving heart, gut, kidney, liver, and skin health. Kefir also has anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial effects.

Should I rinse kefir grains? ›

You should NEVER, EVER, EVER do this. It damages them and rinses off the protective bacteria that make them thrive. So many times they will either die or stop reproducing or not make kefir very well after rinsing.

How do you know if kefir grains are alive? ›

To find out if your water kefir grains have died, you can test them by making them ferment a new batch. If the grains are dead, the water will remain very sweet and there will be no sign of fermentation. Another sign is the appearance of mould on the surface. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do if this happens.

What should you not mix with kefir? ›

Avoid mixing Honey, Turmeric and other strong antibacterials with kefir. Do not mix kefir with tinned juices and other processed food. Many of these contain preservatives and other chemicals which may render kefir bacteria useless.

Should you heat milk before making kefir? ›

Most people use milk directly out of the fridge as it is much more convenient and works well. However a few people do warm up the milk to room temperature before making kefir. Gently heat the milk on the stove until slightly warm or until its temperature is about room temperature.

Should I stir my milk kefir? ›

When you ferment milk kefir correctly, it doesn't necessarily need to be stirred or shaken up to make a good kefir. However, it can taste more balanced and less yeasty with 1-2 stirs mid way through.

How long does it take to make kefir milk? ›

Kefir generally takes 12 to 24 hours to form. The exact amount of time will vary depending on environmental factors, the most important of which is temperature. Cold temperatures slow the fermentation process (and it can be all but stopped by placing the grains in milk in the refrigerator).

How much kefir should I drink a day? ›

How much should you drink? Kefir can be a healthy and delicious addition to a well-rounded diet. For best results, stick to around 1–3 cups (237–710 mL) per day and pair it with a variety of other fermented foods and beverages to increase your intake of probiotics.

What are the ingredients in kefir milk? ›

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that can be made from any type of milk — goat, cow, coconut, rice, soy, sheep, you name it. It's traditionally made by culturing milk with kefir grains, which are a mixture of bacteria and yeasts.

How long does homemade kefir milk last? ›

The simple answer for how long kefir lasts is: at room temperature (68 to 78 degrees F) — 1 to 2 days. in the fridge (40 to 50 degrees F) — 2 to 3 weeks (or longer) in the freezer (0 to 25 degrees F) — 1 to 2 months (or longer)


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