Preparing kefir at home is simple—in less than 24 hours the kefir is ready to be consumed. Though yogurt and kefir are both fermented milk products, homemade kefir surpasses yogurt. This is because kefir contains more microorganisms promoting more health benefits.
I love the feeling that you’ve actually made it yourself. And it’s very simple to prepare the kefir to fit your own taste. Check the FAQ below about a second fermentation.
Kefir is an amazing drink! It’s the result of fermenting milk using a colony of beneficial bacteria and yeast. Kefir has been widely used for centuries and proven very beneficial.
Preparing kefir at home produces a more beneficial product than what is offered in most grocery stores.
Studies show that the healing activities of the many compounds in kefir improves the digestion of lactose, prevents the growth of harmful microorganisms (as E. coli, Candida, Salmonella), inhibits tumors, prevents the development of cancer, promotes the activity of the immune system, and much more. Also, kefir is a great gut protection when on antibiotics.
Main point: Kefir is low in lactose, easy to digest, and stabilizes the gut. Kefir protects the gut from harmful microorganisms, prevents diarrhea, is anti-inflammatory, and promotes bowel movement.
Yes, you need a starter to make kefir. Let me briefly explain how it works.
A kefir starter is a complex, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. When this colony is added to milk, they start producing beneficial compounds such as organic acids, bioactive peptides, exopolysaccharides, hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, diacetyl, and bacteriocins. Such compounds are the reason for the many health benefits of kefir.
Preparing kefir at home
Time needed: 18 hours.
- Add the kefir starter to milk
For this batch I use Body Ecology Kefir Starter. In a glass container, mix one package of kefir starter and one quart of slightly warmed but not hot milk (skin temperature, 92 degrees). Raw animal milk works very well.
If you use kefir grains, add one tablespoon for each cup of milk.
- Mix well
Mix the starter (powder) and milk thoroughly. Put a lid or cheese cloth on top and set the jar aside at room temperature.
With kefir grains you don’t need to mix.
- Let it ferment
Let it ferment at room temperature (72-75 F) for 18-24 hours for animal milk. Vegetable milks might go faster.
Using kefir grains, it can also ferment longer if you like.
- The kefir is ready
The kefir is ready when the milk has thickened and has a distinctive, sour fragrance. Final consistency is like pourable yogurt. Kefir is a bit more sour than yogurt. Coconut water will not thicken like milk, but becomes cloudy and less sweet. Kefir can keep for up to a week in the fridge.
When using kefir grains, strain the grains from the milk before refrigerating.
- Store in cool place
Shake or stir the kefir and place it in the refrigerator. Even in the refrigerator fermentation continues at a very slow pace. You should consume the kefir in 6-7 days.
When the kefir has fermented the first time, open the jar and add a piece of fruit or a little berries. Don’t add too much as the taste might become too acidic. When you have added your favorite ingredient, let the kefir sit for 8-12 hours at room temperature. When ready, you might want to remove the flavoring. It should be consumed within a few days.
The kefir becomes less sour and the lactose content is reduced. The flavor develops and many more nutrients and vitamins are formed.
You can make it spicy, sweet, bitter depending on your taste. Popular flavors include the following: Citrus fruit peels; vanilla beans and cinnamon; mint; lemon grass sticks; chai tea bags; a few garlic cloves makes a nice kefir dip. You want to remove some flavorings after the second fermentation. So use ones that can be easily removed. This does not apply of course to ground spices, cocoa powder and similar.
In the fridge, the kefir might separate (happens often in the summer). You can se a transparent liquid on top which is the whey and the curd at the bottom. But the kefir has not gone bad, it’s just a little too fermented and the taste more sour. However, it’s still a highly beneficial product. Just stir and mix it up and the kefir is ready to drink.
In many cultures, people consume kefir daily throughout their entire life. Kefir has a long track record of safety. Even lactose intolerant ones can often consume kefir.