Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kefir Tutorial

Kefir is so good for you; just brimming with gobs of healthy probiotics. And we all love our kefir smoothies. Kefir is so simple to make, I thought I'd share.

These are kefir grains: We affectionately refer to them as kefir "brains" since that's what they look like. You'll need to google to find a local source. They are live, so it's best not to have them shipped to you. And you can't buy them in stores. The grains multiply, so most people are willing to share them for free. Other than (preferably raw) milk, the only other thing you need to make kefir is the brains, I mean: grains.

I've just plopped my kefir grains in the bottom of a big glass jar. Then hubby poured raw milk over them so I could take this picture.
Then I cover the jar with saran wrap.
And put it in a cool, dry place: my cabinet. And I abandon the milk to culture in privacy for 24-48 hours.
I personally like my kefir thick, so I like to let it culture until I can see the whey separate from the kefir. Then I'll pour the whey off the top and into my jar labeled "Whey" in the fridge. (My loving hubby gave me a label maker for my birthday two years ago. He knows me so well!) I use the whey to boost the nutritional value of a bunch of foods, but that's another post.
So, now that the kefir is done culturing, I pour it over a strainer.
This is all I'm after: my kefir brains:
I plop them back into another jar to make more kefir or I'll cover them with milk and put them in my tiny jar labeled "Kefir Grains" in the fridge. (Thanks again, Kyle, you're the best!)
Everything that made it through the strainer is kefir, which I'll store in plastic bottles in the fridge. I'll use that beautiful kefir to make deliciously healthy smoothies. That's also another post, no . . . contest. . . coming soon.


The Herd said...

EWWWEYYYY! I am so glad you do this...not me:) HAHA! Looks like it's very healthy if you can do milk...we can't so we don't. Thanks for all te great pictures though. It was fun to experience with you!!

Ginger said...

I can't "do" milk either. I'm allergic. But I drink kefir smoothies almost everyday. I make them with raw milk so the nutritional benefits of the milk haven't been pasteurized and homogenized out of it + culturing the milk changes the molecular structure completely, so that I can tolerate it just fine.
Do your kids tolerate yogurt? This is similar but way better!

Jamie Wooddell said...

Actually Jersey cows have one chromosome that is different than other breeds of dairy cows. That one chromosome changes the protein of their milk. Most people with dairy allergies can't tolerate Holstein cow milk, but have no problems with Jersey cow milk.

We've just started making kefir with our raw milk and made our first smoothie last night. It was very tasty. More on the flavors later . . for the contest!

The Herd said...

Nope, can't do the yogurt either...it's just Katie that can't do the milk. So, I guess I could do this for the other kids, but I like to find the healthy things for all of them that I can do just one thing.
GSE is what we do the most of--that and vitamin c powder and oil in shakes(non-dairy--of course).
Katie is very allergic to milk...has been since she was born...we know God is healing her body--she used to be allergic to much more!
She can't even have something that has milk(especially whey) as any ingredient yet.

Faith said...

So, how long can you keep the "brains" in the fridge before you use them again? And how do you know how much milk-to-kefir you should use? I still haven't found a source close by but am still looking! I do know Trader Joes sells it but I would rather be able to do it myself... :) Thanks for the tutorial!

linda pringle said...

Thanks for the tutorial Ginger. We really enjoy the taste of kefir. Now if I can just find some kefir grains. Do you have to heat up the milk first? Some sources say that you do.

Ginger said...


I've left my kefir brains in the fridge for up to a month between culturing. I've heard that you should use one tsp. size grain per pint of milk, but in my experience if you just culture it longer it will work with more milk.


You don't need to heat the milk first. The milk never gets hot, it just gets to room temp.

Angela said...

I have to get some grains.

MommaofMany said...

Thanks for this! Do you just use one or two grains for all that milk? I use a Tbsp. for of grains for a half gallon of milk. I do have to use pasteurized milk, we can't afford raw for anything else but drinking. My LI son can still drink it after kefiring.

Our Family: said...

I am SO glad you posted this--I've been going nuts trying to learn how to make a kefir smoothie! I didn't know you had a milk allergy--the little boy we accepted (who passed away about a week ago) also had a milk allergy but by the time they realized it, he was already very, very tiny--he was 5 pounds at 5 1/2 months old and had already stopped growing as well. I was told that giving milk to a person with a true milk allergy is like giving them poison. :(


melissa said...

Wow, I have had questions about kefir, so thank for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! I just got my kefir grains and I can't wait to get started.
Kendra from MOMYS