Are you wondering how to make milk kefir?
Have you noticed those little bottles of kefir for sale at your local grocery store? They can cost upwards of $5 for 32oz. But, did you know that it is actually super easy, and cheap (just the cost of milk!), to make at home! It requires very little actual “making” and a lot more of just waiting. Here is everything that you need to know on how to make milk kefir.
What is milk kefir?
Milk kefir is a fermented drink made from milk (of course). It tastes like a thin plain yogurt – creamy and a little bit sour. Sometimes, it can even look bubbly and have a carbonated taste, depending on how long it sits while being made. Milk kefir is made by adding kefir grains to milk. The grains are cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. They look almost like little cauliflower.
Why should I drink milk kefir?
Milk kefir is so good for you! According to Healthline, 6 ounces of milk kefir has 6 grams of protein, 20% of your daily calcuim (important for bone health and reducing osteoporosis), 20% of your daily phosphorus, 14% of your daily Vitamin B12, 19% of your daily Riboflavin, 5% of your daily Magnesium, and a good amount of Vitamin D. In addition, milk kefir has a ton of probiotics! Even more than yogurt. Probiotics are helpful in digestion, weight management, and mental health (and are a great way to boost your gut health after a round of antibiotics). Some of the probiotics in kefir actually have antibacterial properties too, which protect against harmful bacteria. Whats even more, beginning studies suggest that kefir may help protect you from cancer, and it may help improve symptoms of allergies and asthma.
Wow! That is a lot of really amazing benefits!
How is milk kefir made?
So here is the nitty gritty on how to make milk kefir. Start by gathering your supplies.
First, purchase some kefir grains. I got my kefir grains from a friend that has been drinking kefir since she was a child. These grains were over 25 years old (what?!?). Since not everyone knows someone who has been making kefir for forever, you can also get them on Amazon. These grains feast on organic, grass fed milk until they are sent to you. They are never frozen or dried, so they’re super healthy grains.
Also, get two jars with a lid, such as this Le Parfait Super Jar.
And last, get a strainer for the kefir grains. The strainer is where you will keep the grains while they are fermenting the milk.
But personally, I think this one is much cuter, and it is what I use to make my kefir. The holes are small enough that the kefir grains don’t come out.
So now that you have all your supplies, here is how to make milk kefir.
Take your grains and put them in your strainer. My grains were teeny tiny, like the size of a small bead, but if you order them from the Fusion Teas (link above), they will tell you how much to use.
Once you have the right amount of grains in your strainer, put the strainer in the glass jar.
Then add some milk to the jar. You can use any type of milk you want, but the higher fat content in the milk (whole milk vs. skim milk) will mean the creamier your kefir will be. I always use whole milk.
Finally, put the lid on your jar and let the milk sit out, at room temperature, overnight. Typically, it takes right around 24 hours for the milk to turn into kefir. You’ll know that it is done when it become a little but thick in the jar.
When your milk has turned to kefir, remove the strainer with the kefir grains in it, put the lid back on, and put the kefir in the fridge. Then take the strainer, rinse it with a little cool water (with the grains still inside) and put it into your other glass jar and add your milk. This will start a new batch of kefir. Ideally, you’ll be drinking the first batch while the second batch is fermenting, and you can do this process over an over again, always having fresh kefir!
Your kefir can stay good in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. You can also freeze it, if you end up with excess.
A note about your kefir grains.
Since kefir grains are live, active cultures, you have to take care of them. This means that you can’t leave to sit on your countertop or in your fridge indefinitely. But, you can put them on “pause” for a little while if you need to. When I am going on a trip, I leave my kefir grains in a jar of milk in the fridge. They can last for about 2 weeks that way. Once you get home and begin to make kefir again, they may be a bit sluggish at first. This means that they’ll take longer than 24 hours to make kefir. But, since kefir grains are amazingly resilient, they’ll grow strong again and begin producing kefir in 24 hours after the first batch or two.
How should I use my kefir?
Any way you want! Some people like it plain, though it does have a bit of a sour flavor. You can also add a little orange juice to it to make it taste like an orange creamsicle. You can use it as a buttermilk substitute in baking or cooking. You can make a salad dressing out of it by adding garlic and spices. You can marinade your meat in it. Or, you can make smoothies or other frozen treats out of it. The uses are endless!
So now that you know how beneficial (and yummy!)it is, and see how easy it is to make, what is stopping you? Gather your supplies, make your milk kefir and experience the health benefits today!
Interested in other fermented foods? Check out how to make homemade sauerkraut!