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 in health benefits. This is because kefir contains more microorganisms promoting more health benefits.The Magic of Kefir (unisa.it)
I love the feeling that you’ve actually made it yourself. And it’s so simple! Check also the FAQ below about a second fermentation if you want to try something new.
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.Milk kefir: composition, microbial cultures, biological activities (nih.gov)Kefir: a symbiotic yeasts-bacteria community with alleged healthy capabilities – PubMed (nih.gov)
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.Effect of Kefir on Glycemic Control and Lipid Profile In Type 2 Diabetic Patients: (nih.gov)Oral Kefir supplementation (inaactamedica.org)Protective effect of kefir-isolated lactic acid bacteria and yeasts – PubMed (nih.gov)Kefir with alleged healthy capabilities – PubMed (nih.gov)
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. After a second fermentation, kefir has even more benefits.
Kefir can be prepared from sheep, cow, goat, soy, or coconut milk. You only need a good starter culture and whatever milk you choose. The starter culture contains microorganisms that control fermentation.
The traditional way to prepare kefir is by using kefir grains. The kefir grains might be superior to other starters as they contain a greater diversity of microorganisms, thereby producing more benefits.
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.Properties of kefir: a natural probiotic beverage (nih.gov)
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 about one tablespoon for each cup of milk.
- Mix well
Thoroughly mix the starter (powder) with the milk. Put a lid or cheese cloth on top and set the jar aside at room temperature. With kefir grains you don’t need to do any mixing.
- Let it ferment
Let it ferment at room temperature (72-75 F) for 18-24 hours for animal milk. Vegetable milks might be a little faster. Using kefir grains, it can also ferment longer if you like it more tart.
- 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. The kefir should be consumed within a few days.How To Make Milk Kefir 101 – YouTube
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.
Common probiotic bacteria and yeast include the followingMicrobiological study of lactic acid bacteria in kefir grains (ntu.edu.tw)Analysis of the microflora in Tibetan kefir grains (unam.mx):
1. Lactobacillus strains: acidophilus, brevis, casei, delbrueckii, lactis, helveticus, keﬁranofaciens, keﬁri, paracasei, plantarum, rhamnosus, sake, cremoris.
2. Lactococcus lactis.
3. Leuconostoc strains: mesenteroides, dextranicum, mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
4. Pseudomonas strains: fluorescens, putida.
5. Streptococcus thermophilus.
6. Yeast strains: Candida humilis, Kazachstania unispora, Kazachstania exigua, Kluyveromyces siamensis, Kluyveromyces lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces martiniae, Saccharomyces unisporus.