After several years of being mostly dairy-free, I decided to broaden my horizons and add homemade milk kefir to my routine. I had heard many success stories about kefir, especially its ability to heal the digestive system, which leads to secondary healing like clearer skin, less creaky joints, and improved mood. All that just by introducing more healthy bacteria to the GI tract!
It didn’t take long for me to experience positive results. Mostly I noticed that my stomach stopped making so much noise during digestion. I didn’t even know that was a thing until it stopped. I guess you could say I bonded with kefir right away. I’ve made it part of my evening ritual and I look forward to it.
Several people have asked me how to get started making homemade kefir. Once you have the supplies you need, it’s easy to make kefir. Your part takes just a few minutes a day. The kefir grains do all the work while sitting untouched on your kitchen counter.
You might already have some of these supplies in your kitchen. I ordered everything from Amazon and I’ve included the links here for you.
Kefir is created by little bundles of bacteria and enzymes known as “grains.” They eat up the lactose (sugar) in milk. After sitting undisturbed in milk for about 24 hours (depending on the temperature of the room and the amount of milk they’re sitting in), they create a nutritious, probiotic beverage. Kefir restores gut bacteria, which leads to improved digestion and immunity. Even if you don’t consume dairy regularly, kefir can be a worthy exception.
I bought my kefir grains from Fusion Teas because they got great reviews and came with an eBook. When the grains arrived in the mail they looked lifeless, but once they got “in the groove” (about a week later), they started making thick, tangy kefir that tasted better than the stuff I was buying at the store. I was thrilled!
Glass jars are great; I use them for all kinds of things. If you’re making kefir, glass jars are a must (at least 2 of them). I always have one jar sitting on my counter making kefir, and one finished product chilling in the refrigerator. It’s helpful to have a few jars on hand in case you want to make more kefir, or to store other things.
These are the lids for the glass jars. When the kefir is sitting on the counter, place the lid loosely on top of the jar to allow air to escape. Making kefir is like having a science project sitting on your counter. Tighten the top to store it in the refrigerator.
This is the best nylon mesh strainer I have found for making kefir. Simply place it over a small glass bowl, pour your kefir into it and stir with a wooden spoon. Don’t worry if your kefir has separated. The finished product will be fine once it’s strained and stirred.
Strain your kefir into a glass bowl and gently stir back and forth. The little grains will be left in the strainer, and the kefir beverage will be in the bowl below. Your beverage is ready to drink, but I recommend putting it in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill.
Kefir doesn’t like metal, so always use a wooden spoon when straining.
Now you’re ready to make kefir!
Once you’ve got all of your supplies on hand, you’re ready to make your first batch of homemade kefir. Use the best milk you can find. I use organic milk from grass-fed cows. It takes about a week or so for the kefir grains to perk up and start making a drinkable product. When it’s thick and smells like kefir, have a taste test.
Step 1: Place your kefir grains in a glass jar and add about a cup of organic, grass-fed milk.
Step 2: Put a lid loosely on top and place in a safe, comfortably warm place in your kitchen.
Step 3: Let your kefir work its magic for 24 hours. I usually check on mine after 12 hours and give it a stir. Unless it has separated, let it sit. If it has separated, strain it.
Step 4: Place your mesh strainer over your glass bowl and pour your kefir into the strainer. Using your wooden spoon, stir until nothing is left in the strainer except your grains. There might be more grains than before. They grow!
Step 5: Pour the kefir beverage from the bowl into a glass jar with a lid and put it in the refrigerator. Once it’s chilled, it’s delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Help! My kefir separated! Is it okay?
A. Yes, it’s ready to be strained. Next time, use more milk or strain sooner.
Q. I’m going on vacation, what should I do with my kefir grains?
A. Place your kefir grains in a large, glass container with plenty of grass-fed milk and store in the refrigerator. It will grow slowly in the colder environment.
Q. My kefir grains are multiplying. What should I do with them?
A. Happy kefir grains will multiply. You can safely eat them (they’re highly probiotic), you can share them with friends, or throw some away.
Enjoy your kefir!