Do you want to make your own homemade milk kefir from kefir grains? You will see that it’s very easy, and in a very short time you will master the preparation of this delicious probiotic-rich fermented drink.
Making Milk Kefir in 3 Easy Steps
- Add the milk kefir grains to milk.
- Leave to ferment for 24 hours at room temperature.
- Filter out the grains and enjoy!
- What is Milk Kefir?
- Why Make Milk Kefir at Home?
- Milk Kefir Recipe
- How to Drink Milk Kefir
- How to Store Kefir Grains
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Milk Kefir?
Milk kefir is a creamy, tangy, and slightly fizzy drink that can be made from any animal milk.
Its origins date back thousands of years, and originated in the middle of the Caucasus Mountains.
There, kefir was drunk for its alleged virtues of health and longevity. Since then, the grains have multiplied through the ages to reach us!
Milk kefir is a kind of cousin of yogurt, but with different microorganisms, a more acidic taste and a more liquid texture.
It is traditionally made from milk kefir grains, but it is also possible to prepare it from powdered kefir starter. However, here we will focus on the preparation from grains.
Kefir grains – small white, gelatinous clumps that look like little cauliflowers – are teeming with a multitude of bacteria and yeast in search of milk to ferment.
Why Make Milk Kefir at Home?
- It’s delicious
- It’s easy and fast to make
- It’s safe
- It’s good for your health
How to Make Homemade Milk Kefir
- Glass jar
- Sieve or colander to separate the grains
- 2 Tbsp. milk kefir grains
- 4 cups milk (cow, goat, sheep, camel, etc.)
- Pour the milk into the jar.
- Add the kefir grains.
- Cover and let it breathe:
- Cover the container with a cloth held in place by an elastic band;
- Or, for Kefirko users, partially screw on the top cover.
- Leave the jar to ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. The milk will thicken and develop a sour taste.
- Filter through the sieve to separate the kefir grains from the liquid.
How to Drink Milk Kefir
Plain milk kefir is delicious as it is! Its tangy taste, creamy texture and slight fizziness make it a thirst-quenching and refreshing drink.
However, you can also personalize it! A touch of honey or mashed fruit turns kefir into a creamy smoothie.
You can also explore more savoury options, turning your kefir into a dip, sauce, or even homemade kefir cheese or soda bread!
Here are some recipe ideas to make with your kefir:
- Milk Kefir Cheese
- Mascarpone cheese
- Milk Kefir Tzatziki
- Kefir “Parmesan”
- Kefir Cheese crunchy bites
- Kefir Cheese Appetizer Balls
How to Store Kefir Grains
Kefir grains love to be fed regularly. The best way to preserve the grains is to … make kefir again!
To avoid ending up with gallons and gallons of kefir, make smaller amounts, but more often.
However, you can also store your grains to stretch out your kefir production.
Short shelf life (1-4 weeks)
Refrigerate milk kefir grains in about 2 cups of milk. The grains will continue to turn the milk into kefir, but much more slowly.
Change the milk every week. The first fermentation after they have been refrigerated may take a little longer than usual. Don’t worry, they will regain their vigour after a few batches.
Long shelf life (1 month or more)
Freezing (option 1)
- Rinse the grains in cold water.
- Gently dry on a clean tea towel.
- Place the grains in a freezer bag.
- Add a little powdered milk.
- Put in the freezer.
Dehydration (option 2)
- Rinse the grains well in cold water and drain well.
- Set the dehydrator to 35°C (95°F) and place the grains in it for 24 hours.
- Transfer to a Ziploc-type bag.
- Add the same weight as powdered milk, with 10% baking soda.
- Keep refrigerated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to Find Kefir Grains?
Milk kefir grains multiply naturally. So, if you know someone who makes their own homemade milk kefir from grains, they will surely be happy to give you some!
To learn more, see What are milk kefir grains? And where to find them?
Otherwise, you will find quality dehydrated kefir grains in our store with clear instructions on how to reactivate them.
My Milk Kefir is Separating, Help!
If the fermentation takes too long, the milk can separate into two layers: the white curd will float to the surface and the yellowish-translucent whey will remain in the bottom of the jar.
If that happens, it’s okay: the taste will be a bit stronger. Once the grains are removed, you can still mix the two layers with a whisk or in a blender.
What Is the Best Milk for Milk Kefir?
Any type of animal milk! Cow’s milk is the most widely used milk for kefir due to its availability and good results.
Goat’s milk gives a tasty kefir, but with a little more liquid than cow’s milk. If you can get your hands on other animal milks (buffalo, camel, mouse?), don’t hesitate to experiment!
To go further, see What is the best milk for kefir?
Can I Make Kefir With Lactose-Free Milk?
Milk kefir grains feed on the lactose in milk. If we cut off their food source, they will not last long!
Luckily, kefir contains much less lactose than milk. Some lactose-intolerant people can consume milk kefir without problems.
Can I Use Plant-Based Milk to Make Kefir?
Yes and no.
If you put milk kefir grains in soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk, the bacteria and yeast will ferment the liquid.
However, the results can be inconsistent and unsatisfactory. Additionally, kefir grains are not made to survive for long without animal milk. You can use your extra grains for experimentation, but this is not a long-term solution.
How Do I Get My Kefir Grains Back After Fermentation?
Empty the kefir through a colander or sieve to filter out the kefir grains. If you are really motivated, you can pour your kefir into a shallow bowl and go fishing with a fork.
If you want to make your life easier, handy tools like the Kefirko all-in-one kefir making kit allow you to pour the kefir while keeping the grains in the jar.
What is the Alcohol Level in Milk Kefir?
The yeast present in the grains will produce a low amount of alcohol comparable to that found in kombucha or water 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%.
How Do I Get Fizzy Milk Kefir?
Plain milk kefir has very few bubbles. You can boost bubble production by bottling your kefir in pressure-resistant bottles and letting them sit for a few days in the fridge or on the counter.
But be careful not to let the pressure build up too much. You certainly don’t want to clean your ceiling!
Can I Use Metal With Milk Kefir?
Rumours say that the metal is dangerous for kefir grains. It’s a stubborn myth!
You can use any stainless metal without any problem. Most kitchen utensils are made of stainless steel, so they are kefir-safe.
What is the Difference Between Kefir Culture and Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are the traditional (and reusable) wild culture, while the one-use powdered culture is made from selected bacteria and kefir yeast.
Each option has its strengths and weaknesses, but both can produce very good quality kefir. Read our article on how to choose the best option for you.
What is the Difference Between Water Kefir and Milk Kefir?
Even though these two cultures have the same name, they are quite different!
Milk kefir grains ferment animal milk to create a sort of tangy drinkable yogurt.
Water kefir grains ferment sweetened water, making a sparkling, slightly acidic drink.
Learn the difference between water kefir and milk kefir.