Preparing kefir at home is simple—within 24 hours it’s ready to be consumed. Yogurt and kefir are both fermented milk products but contain different bacteria and yeast. Of the two, kefir excels mainly because of the bacteria and yeast contents.
How to prepare kefir at home
Kefir can be prepared from sheep, cow, goat, soy, or coconut milk. It’s easy to prepare kefir using a starter culture and whatever milk you choose. The starter culture contains bacteria that commence fermentation. I’ve many times used Body Ecology Kefir Starter.
Body Ecology Kefir Starter contains these microorganisms
- Lactococcus lactis
- Lactococcus cremoris
- Lactococcus diacetylactis
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides
- Lactobacillus kefyr
- Klyveromyces marxianus
- Saccaromyces unisporus
- In a container (preferably glass with lid), mix together the entire contents of one foil package of kefir starter and one quart of slightly warmed milk (about skin temperature or 92 degrees).
- Stir or whip with a whisk to mix well. Put lid on container
- Let this mixture ferment at 72-75 F for 18-24 hours for animal milk. (It might take 24-48 hours for coconut water.)
- Shake or stir vigorously and place into the refrigerator. Even in your refrigerator the fermentation process continues, but chilling will slow down the fermentation of the healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast.
When is the kefir ready?
You will notice it is ready if the milk has thickened and has a distinctive, sour fragrance. Final consistency is pourable but not “eat with a spoon” thick.) Coconut water will not thicken like milk, it becomes cloudy and less sweet.
To some degree, you can determine the thickness and taste by changing the temperature and how long you allow the fermentation to go on. Kefir should be somewhat thicker than milk and have a creamy texture. But don’t wait so long that it turns into cheese!
Homemade kefir can keep fairly long in the fridge. It is great to start the day day with a glass of creamy yogurt with some fresh berries, banana, or muesli.