Making Kefir Yogurt

Fresh Kefir Grains

Fresh Kefir Grains

Kefir is a traditional fermented food made from milk, full of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeast. It’s similar to yogurt, but usually more tangy, and sometimes slightly effervescent. Kefir is not only far more beneficial than yogurt, but much easier to make. Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize your gut with the beneficial micro-organisms you need to have a healthy immune system and well-functioning digestive system. While high-quality yogurt contains a few of the beneficial gut bacteria, kefir contains a much larger number of beneficial bacteria, as well as beneficial yeasts.

Kefir is great eaten by itself or with fruit, in smoothies, on muesli and granola, in salad dressings, made into cheese or even tasty fruit flavored popsicles that kids will love. You can buy fresh kefir grains here.

Ingredients

1 cup milk (raw, organic milk is the best if you can get it. Check out the Organic Consumers Association for finding raw milk in your area)
1 tablespoon fresh kefir grains * see below for where to source kefir grains

Instructions

These instructions may look long and involved, but kefir is one of the quickest, simplest and easiest of all the fermented foods to make. Like many things though, explaining how to do it may require a lot of words. But trust me, once you do it the first time and get the hang of it you’ll see, it’s very easy.

You can make any amount of kefir you like per batch, but the ratio of 1 cup milk to 1 tablespoon of kefir grains is a good rule of thumb for fermenting a batch in 24-48 hours. So if you have 4 tablespoons of grains you can make 1 litre (1 quart) of kefir in 24-48 hours. The amount of time you ferment the milk for depends on the temperature and how tart you like your kefir to be. So be prepared to experiment and taste test to see what works best for you.

Put the kefir grains and milk into a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and fasten the lid on.

Using a lid will increase the slight effervescent quality of the kefir. There is an alternative you can try if you don’t like that slight effervescence or you don’t have a jar with a lid available. Just use a clean piece of muslin, or other clean cloth, in place of the lid to keep out foreign objects and curious insects. Make sure the cloth is large enough to completely cover the opening of the jar, and then some. Use a rubber band or piece of string to fasten the cloth into place over the opening of the jar.

Leave to ferment 24-48 hours

Leave the jar with the milk and kefir grains out on your kitchen counter top for 24-48 hours. Just make sure it’s not in direct sunlight. I like keeping my batch of fermenting kefir on top of the fridge. Every time I go to the fridge to get something out I see the jar of fermenting kefir and remember to give it a gentle shake. Gently shake or rock the jar throughout the day wherever you think about it. Once the kefir starts fermenting the milk you may notice your ‘brew’ separating into curds and whey. This is normal. Just give the jar a gentle shake to mix everything back together.

Taste testing

At the point where the kefir starts separating it has definitely fermented. If you are just starting out making your own kefir, this is a good time to start doing some taste tests until you get an idea of how fermented you like your kefir to be. Go with what tastes good to you, and keep in mind that your tastes may change over time. This is especially true if you eat a lot of sweet foods and tart or sour foods don’t appeal to you. As you introduce more fermented foods into your diet and start restoring your inner ecosystem and overall health, you will find that you don’t crave as many sweet foods, and you enjoy more tart/sour flavors.

How to tell kefir grains from curds in the kefir

The kefir grains look like little cauliflower florets, and are quite rubbery. When the milk has started fermenting and turning to kefir it will probably contain some curds which can resemble the kefir grains. The way to tell the difference is that when you squeeze the curds they will break up and disappear, the kefir grains will not. You can squeeze them out like a sponge, and they will retain their shape.

Separate the kefir from the grains and start the next batch

Once the kefir is finished fermenting pour the contents of the jar into a wide mouth container. A glass measuring jug is ideal, but a glass or ceramic bowl will do. Make sure whatever container you use is large enough to hold all the kefir and then some. Wash the glass jar out, so you can use it to make the next batch. Now some people like to use a strainer to separate the kefir grains out, but what I have found works the best for me is this… with clean hands trawl through the kefir using your fingers like a net to catch the kefir grains. Once you catch some grains, remove your hand from the liquid and squeeze the grains, just like you would a sponge to squeeze out most of the kefir they contain.

As you retrieve the grains, put them into the jar, and trawl through the kefir liquid searching for more grains until you think you’ve got them all. Then add the milk, put the lid on and start the next batch.

Over time you’ll find that your grains increase, and grow in size. So even if you start with only one tablespoon of grains, soon you’ll have 2 tablespoons and will be able to ferment 2 cups of milk per batch, and within a month or two you’ll have enough to ferment 4 cups of kefir at a time. You can eat any excess grains – they remind me of sour gummy bears, I really like them, or feed them to your dogs (they will love them).  Excess kefir liquid can be used in your bath (like a milk bath, but better), or used as a natural moisturizing cleanser. Rub it on your face, leave for a few minutes, then rinse off with warm water. I also feed my dogs the kefir liquid, they love it and people comment on how beautiful and shiny their coats are… it’s the kefir that makes the difference.

How to increase the beneficial effects of kefir

Two things help to maximize the beneficial effect of the kefir. One is the technique of squeezing the grains that’s described above. You’ll notice that after you squeeze the grains, when you open your hand there will be little clear, sticky strands attached between your fingers and the grains. Reminds me of the stuff Spiderman shoots out to form webs. The squeezing stimulates the kefir grains to produce a substance called kefiran, which has additional health benefits. I’ve noticed that it also causes my grains to grow faster, and stronger. If you squeeze the grains every time before you start a new batch, you may notice that the batches of kefir start to thicken slightly.

The second technique for increasing the health benefits of the kefir is to simply leave it sit for another 24 hours, in the fridge after removing the grains.

Where to get kefir grains

Finding your kefir grains to start with used to be the hardest of the whole process. But I’m so pleased to say I’ve now found a great source of fresh, organic kefir grains! They sell both milk and water kefir grains and ship all over the world*. Click here to buy kefir grains now.

* (except perhaps New Zealand which has the strictest biosecurity in the world and probably don’t let anything like this into the country legally).

An alternative, kefir starter culture

There is another excellent alternative for making your own kefir (shipping only in the USA). Even though it’s not fresh kefir grains, the Body Ecology site has excellent probiotic starter cultures for making a variety of fermented foods, including a Kefir Starter Culture. Each packet of the Body Ecology kefir starter can be used to make kefir about 7 times. Follow the instructions that come with the kefir starter, it’s a different technique than what you use for the live kefir grains.

So unlike the live kefir grains you can’t use them to make kefir indefinitely. However, the advantage of the Body Ecology starters is that they are guaranteed to contain a number of specific beneficial strains of bacteria. When you are using ‘wild’ kefir grains the strains of bacteria may vary somewhat depending on their growing environment.

In my opinion the ideal would be to use both the Body Ecology products (so you know that at least you have those strains of bacteria that are listed for each product) and to make your own kefir from fresh kefir grains. You want to try to get the greatest diversity of beneficial gut bacteria that you can for maximum health benefits, and in my opinion combining both the traditional live cultures and the excellent Body Ecology products is the way to maximize the diversity of your inner ecosystem.

The benefits of probiotic foods are amazing, they are crucial for good health and people are catching on to that fact. The demand is great enough that big money can be made in the probiotic supplement market, and unfortunately this kind of ‘opportunity’ attracts all kinds of companies whose ethics and quality standards are less than stellar. Many of the probiotic supplements that have been tested don’t even contain the strains of bacteria that they claim they do. In the probiotic arena, I really only trust real probiotic foods, i.e. those I make myself, and the Body Ecology products.

Recipes using kefir

You can substitute kefir for yogurt in most recipes. Here are some recipes using kefir, and I’ll be adding more over time.

Kefir is great added to smoothies. Use kefir and fruit to make smoothies that taste like the Indian sweet lassi drink, mango and peach work especially well for this. Adding kefir to any green smoothie recipe helps to mellow out the sometimes bitter ‘green’ taste of the leafy greens.

Kefir Plum Popsicle

Kefir Plum Popsicle

In the warmer months a nice treat is to make healthy frozen ‘kefirsicles’ by blending kefir and fruit, pouring the mixture into Popsicle molds and putting them in the freezer until they have set.

One year I picked a bounty of plums off a friend’s tree. I blended up some kefir, honey and the pitted plums and some rosewater (optional but a delicious twist – rosewater for cooking can be found in stores that stock Middle Eastern foods) and made these sweet-tart, tasty frozen treats.

Berries would work really well instead of the plums in this recipe too. This is a great, quick way to use any soft fruit you find in season, where you can get large volumes for cheaply, or for free if you have fruit trees, or know someone who does.

Kefir is also a great base for a quick, creamy salad dressing. These are just some ideas to get you started. But use your imagination, and experiment. Let me know what delicious ways you come up with to use kefir by leaving a comment below.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
DISCLAIMER: The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information and statements found here are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your medical professional.

79 Responses to “Making Kefir Yogurt”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Babs says:

    This is a really well written article. I have made milk kefir for a while now, but had never considered making it into ice lollies for the kids. I am going to do this TODAY using blended mixed berries from my freezer. I wonder if the kids will like it?

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Babs! I was just sitting here a moment ago wondering if it was too long and if it would be better if I broke it down into separate articles. What do you think?

      Let me know what you (and the kids) think of the kefir-pops. I just finished a beautiful herb and walnut kefir cheese I made a couple days ago, I should have the recipe for that up in a couple of days (I need to finish the basic kefir cheese recipe first), so keep an eye out for that one. In fact, I was inspired to add the walnuts because of that beautiful walnut cheese you brought us! It turned out so well I’m straining today’s batch of kefir to make more herb kefir cheese.

  2. kara says:

    I have to say Donna I love reading your atricles, they are very well written because you love and believe in the things that you do. I stummbled on your site after looking for a recipie for Apple Cider Vinegar and I am so happy that I did! You have great information and I thank you so much for letting others know how to make these things too! Now I just have to find a source here in Ontario, Canada for Kefir grains!

    • Donna says:

      Kara, thank you for your kind words. It makes my day! I was wondering if this article was too long, if I should split it into a couple articles, but I’ve gotten really good feedback on it so far. I do love spreading the word on things like this, helping people get back to basics and make their own food as much as possible, rather than relying on others. Food is so important, and I think most of us in Western societies take it for granted because we seem to have such an abundance. The ironic thing of course, is that while we have an abundance of things to eat, to fill our stomachs so many people are malnourished because they have come to rely on others making food for them. Food that has no nutritional benefit other than calories.

      I may be able to help you with the kefir grains… sending you an email :-)

  3. Dawn says:

    Very timely article for me as I have just got my first lot of kefir grains and stumbling about with my kefir making. I think I might have let my first couple of brews ferment for too long. Had to really dig through the curds to find my poor wee kefir grains! I’ll watch this next one more closely.

    I’m loving making it and looking forward to getting to the point where I can use it as a base for dressings and smoothies.

  4. taheena says:

    You made the transition from powders to live grains SO much easier. Thank you. don’t change a thing in this article. Just add some more ideas to sneek kiefer into our diets. The kiefer pops are a great idea!

  5. Angie says:

    I’m really interested to hear that eating more fermented foods can correct a ‘sugar craving’ as I have a terribly sweet tooth, I know it is no good for me, so will watch to see how the kefir helps with this. You’ve inspired me to look into incorporating more fermented foods into my diet in general. Thanks for the great info :)

    • Donna says:

      I know how it is, I have a terrible sweet tooth too. I also had a soda habit a few years back. I hadn’t had soda for a couple of decades. Then I went to University (as a mature student) and started drinking coke and those caffeinated sodas so I could stay up till all hours and work on my assignments. After that it was just too easy to continue the habit at my jobs. One of them even supplied free coke! But I just quit, without even trying, when I started drinking kombucha (that was my first fermented drink). I stopped drinking alcohol too. I never drank much, but I just found I didn’t feel like having it, ever. Now the water kefir I have every day is so much better than any soda, and my body knows it’s better for me. I still have sugar cravings sometimes, but not nearly as bad as it was. I have read stories of the same happening to others when they started consuming fermented foods.

      It’s great you’re getting excited about the fermented foods. I’m totally enthusiastic about them too, especially after hearing what probiotics expert Donna Gates has to say about them. It just blew me away what the beneficial micro-organisms can do. Go get her audio recordings and listen to them, you’ll learn so much more about them. They are free, just go to the Body Ecology website and click the big purple button to sign up for her mailing list. You’ll get the audio recordings for free, and it’s easy to unsubscribe from the list later if you want.

      • becomingbetter says:

        Hi, a friend of mine just gave me some kefir grains so I can make my own kefir, and I found your site when looking for tips on making it. Great write-up – informative and very clear! Thank you.

        I was interested to hear you no longer drink sodas. I have somehow become “addicted” to coke (cola drinks, not the other!) – I call it an addiction because honestly, it feels like one. I don’t have lots of it, but I want at least one a day of it — and I actually feel grumpy if I don’t have it! This is very perplexing to me, because while I’m not perfect, I have very many healthy eating habits and am health-aware, but I can’t seem to stop drinking cola.

        I know the kefir will be great for me in so many ways… I’m hoping it will help me to feel no further cravings for Coke, too!!!

        Thanks again for your article.

        • Donna says:

          It’s great that you got hold of some kefir grains! Are they the milk kefir grains, the white ones? The clear ones are water kefir grains. The water kefir is like soda, only good for you. I think fermented foods are the best thing, they are like the antidote to sugar in all it’s forms. So many of the healthy eating experts I listen to say the one thing you can do that will make the most radical change in your health is to stop consuming sugar. Some just bluntly put it more like this, sugar is poison, it’s the worst thing you can possibly do to your body as far as your diet. So I think anything that helps us deal with those sugar addictions is awesome. I’m using stevia a lot more now, and it really does seem to help too. I make smoothies with milk kefir and add stevia, blueberries, 1-2 frozen bananas, vanilla extract – it’s almost like having ice cream! I’d be interested to hear your experience with kefir. Let me know if it does help with your Coke cravings.

          I can relate completely about the coke cola addiction. That’s exactly what happened to me. I used to drink sodas as a kid, but stopped when I was about 17 I guess, and got out on my own. I had total control over my diet and things in my environment that might tempt me. I didn’t drink sodas until I went back to university as a mature student when I was 39. I started drinking sodas and caffeinated soft drinks. Wow, I got so addicted. I too had to have a coke a day (if not two). I managed to cut back, but had a hard time actually quitting. I still had to have something every day or I felt the withdrawals. The first fermented drink culture I got hold of was kombucha. Before I knew it, I had just stopped drinking any kind of soda. No withdrawals, no cravings, so trying. It was great!

          I was still drinking alcohol socially. Often wine which I have never really liked that much. In the summer I really looked forward to a cold bottle of Smirnoff’s Black Ice (or two). That started feeling like a habit for sure, bordering on addiction because I would crave them when I didn’t have them. I know many people who are much more addicted than that and would never even consider it an addiction, but if they were really honest, it is. I consider something an addiction if it’s not healthy for you but you consume it regularly and would have a hard time not consuming it for an extended period. Then I got some water kefir grains and before I knew it, I just stopped drinking alcohol completely. I have no craving for it and it makes me feel kind of sick just thinking about drinking it – it’s like my body is reminding me what it was like. I also think the milk and water kefir both really help me manage my chocolate cravings (and sugar cravings in general).

          • becomingbetter says:

            Hi Donna,

            Thanks for your reply. I received milk kefir grains. I have my first batch sitting atop the water heater right now… giving it the occasional gentle shake.

            Interesting, so the water kefir makes a sort of fizzy drink, that you feel helped you give up alcohol? That might be something I would like to try at some point too.

            I think I have a generally addictive personality — there are all kinds of things I currently like, or have consumed in the past, that I know are not good for me, yet I wanted to keep having them. Anything that can help with this is welcome!

            I hope to post again at some point with the news that I no longer crave, and am no longer drinking, cola. Let us see…

            • Donna says:

              Yes the water kefir is kind of fizzy, or can be if you ferment it in a sealed jar. And I’ve not tried it but if you do a secondary ferment, where you bottle the fermented kefir after you remove the grains, adding a bit more sugar, usually in the form of fruit juice and then seal it up really tight then it does get really fizzy. Just like soda.

              I’d be interested in knowing, if you don’t mind saying that is, the foods that you are addicted too… do they all have sugar content? That would include fruit, fruit juice, alcohol, in addition to the more obvious sodas, candies, desserts and chocolate. An addiction to sugar is very commonly due to candida overgrowth. And from what I have read and heard it seems like almost everyone, at least in Western cultures, has a candida problem. The other thing that seems to happen quite often is that people get addicted to foods and substances that they are allergic too. Which seems counter-intuitive to me, but apparently is quite common.

        • Tanya says:

          Absolutely get ahold of kombucha and it will kill your cravings. It can be fermented to be bubbly like pop and is so much better than the chemicals in normal soft drinks.

  6. Roberta says:

    I have been using water kefer for awhile and have two bottles of grains left over. Can these grains be used in place of the milk grains?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Roberta, that’s a good question, thank you for asking. The water kefir grains can’t be used for fermenting milk, and vice versa. The water kefir grains can be used for coconut water and coconut milk kefir. But you need to get milk kefir grains to use with mammal milk (such as cow, goat, etc).

  7. Aisak says:

    I have a kefir video but looking to update because of the complaints of me straining with metal. I want to try to make actual kefir with cheesecloth or Linen. Thats what I was looking for when I happened upon you website. Although you use your fingers I did see that you used the cheesecloth actually making the cheese (which sounds yummy by the way). I make smoothies and have even tried to make a hair conditioner with kefir. I made something the other day that looked exactly like yogurt. I’m gonna keep going with it. I have to experiment with the cheesecloth for kefir and (kefir) yogurt. Fingers crossed for great results. Great tips!

  8. lya says:

    Hi Donna,
    A friend of mine gave me some Kefir grains, I now use it where I used yogert before. I wonder if the beneficial attributes of the Kefir is in any way diminished by using it in a cooking process such as makng muffins etc.
    I also use the Kefir in a dessert by making flavoured (low cal)jelly with little water and when very cold and still liquid, mixing it with a few cups of kefir. It makes a sort of mousse which served with some fruit is quite delicious.
    I think I now really want to experiment with making cheese. It might not replace my favourite roquefort but who knows!!!

    • Donna says:

      Hi Iya, your fruit mousse sounds delicious! I don’t eat gelatin, but I’m wondering if I can make something similar using chia seeds. i think it’s definitely worth experimenting with! To answer your question, yes the temperatures used in baking will kill the beneficial microorganisms in the kefir. However, because the microorganisms have already processed the lactose for to turn the milk into kefir it may help those who have a lactose intolerance to digest it better.

  9. Chalese says:

    Hi, I am reading Eat Fat, Lose Fat for the third time trying to re-educate myself re fats! Kefir grains are recommended, I was thrilled to find your site here in little ole NZ!! I am buying BioFarm yogurt, separating for whey and curd, making cheese, sour cream etc and wondering about a cheaper alternative. Am so thrilled that Kefir grains not only supplies this cost effective alternative but is also better for us!! Any new recipes I come up with I will be sure to let you all know. Cheers.

    • Valerie says:

      Hi Donna, I just found your site and am enjoying it immensely . I have my first batch of kefir brewing and will be able to try some later today. A friend of mine told me about kefir. I went online and researched it. About 3 years ago I became very sick with ‘pneumonia’. I ended up on 3 courses each of antibiotics and steroids over a period of 4 months. As it turned out I had a fungal not a viral infection in my lungs from my very sick house. I have not been able to get myself off of sugar since. I am very excited to be trying kefir. This really sounds like the ticket I’ve been looking for. I can’t wait until I can try all of your recipes.

  10. Catherine says:

    Hi, I wanted to purchase some Kefir grains but your links don’t go anywhere – are you not selling them now? it appears from your Store link at the top of the page there is nothing for sale. Please could you clarify for me? Thanks, Catherine.

  11. Lisa Meadows says:

    Quest a quick question, please.
    I have made kefir smoothies and cheese, but now I want to make yogurt. Your article was well written and easy to follow. Thanks for that. Judging from what I read it seems like the way to make cheese is the way to make yogurt. Is this right? I adore kefir and am using it in everything!

    • Donna says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you for the compliments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it easy to follow. I use kefir to make my cheese. Kefir is even healthier than yogurt and much easier to make as long as you have the kefir grains. I’ve never used yogurt to make cheese, but it would work as well using the same process. And if you start with really good quality, healthy yogurt with live acidophilus cultures it would be healthier than normal cheese.

  12. Nancy says:

    Great information on kefir making. I got some grains from Cultures for Health that I rehydrated and having been using for about 1 month. It was a little slow to start, but everything seems to be going well, but the grains are not multiplying much. I started with about 1 teaspoon and that is what I still have. I noticed you said to squeeze them and that might help. How long does it usually take for grains to multiply and what’s the most that you would put with 1 quart of raw milk? Thanks,
    Nancy

    • Donna says:

      Hi Nancy. I think the grains that have been dehydrated take much longer to start growing, I have done some experimenting with drying them and had some that never actually started growing again. But someone said to me that it can take 6 weeks for them to start growing. Usually the ratio is 1 tablespoon grains to 1 cup of milk. If you have more grains than that, say like for a quart of milk if you have more than 4 tablespoons they will just ferment the milk faster. So you can have quite a lot of grains per quart, you just need to change the milk more often. You can also store them in the fridge in either yogurt, milk or a half and half yogurt/milk mixture for a while if you have extras and you don’t want to make that much more kefir. Thanks for your question!

      • Debbie says:

        hello, I ordered my first batch of kefir grains online and am excited to start. My mom used to make kefir for a while when I was little. I grew up in Belgium, we called them yoghurt flowers :-) . She said if you can’t use the grains for a while, you can just freeze them, is this true?

        • Donna says:

          Yogurt flowers, that’s beautiful, and fitting for them. Yes I have heard from a few people that you can freeze them, I’ve never done it myself though. What I read is that you pack them in a plastic bag or something with powdered milk all around them. Make sure when you prepare them that you pat them dry as much as possible, then pack them with powdered milk, and you can keep them frozen for up to 3 months I think.

          • Lisa Meadows says:

            When I need to let me Kefir rest I put unflavored yogurt in a tupperware..place kefir in and top with more unflavored yougurt. Works every time!

  13. Becky says:

    This was a great article. I do have a couple questions however. After you make the yogurt, rather than immediately starting another batch is it ok to just put the grains in the frig with some milk over them. I’ve been doing this but it seems the grains aren’t growing, but as long as they are viable, I’m find with that. I just don’t eat enough to be making it quite that often. Another question would be if I’m not using raw organic milk but rather just organic whole milk from the store I was told that I should heat the milk to 170, then let cool and pour over the kefir grains. Do you agree?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Becky, it is okay to put them in the fridge with milk, or yogurt if you’re ‘resting’ them for a while, or a 50/50 mix of milk and yogurt. If your grains ever get too sour this is a good way to bring them back into balance. When you take them out and start using them again it can take a little while for them to start growing. It’s like they have been in suspended animation and they need some time to warm up and get going again.

      I don’t agree, and I’ve never read anywhere that you need to heat the milk if you’re using store bought. The pasteurization process kills everything anyway, I don’t see any advantage in heating it, and if the milk is too warm it can kill the kefir grains. Although I know with yogurt making you do have to heat the milk a bit, so maybe the people who told you that were confused about the difference between yogurt and kefir. It’s good that you are using organic milk at any rate, even if you can’t get it raw. Thanks for you questions!

  14. Amy says:

    Doesn’t freezing the probiotics or cooking them kill the beneficial bacteria before it gets into your gut when eating a Keffir iceblock or baking?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Amy. For sure, baking, or heating anything over 115 degrees F kills the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and everything else ‘living’ about food. I have never done it myself but I have heard from many sources that freezing kefir does not kill the bacteria. Freezing grains is one way to put them into long term storage, and the sources I have heard from they all seemed to be able to take them out of frozen storage and they would be fine again. They take a while to really get up to speed with their fermenting activity, but they do in time. So that makes me think the kefir iceblocks/popsicles would still have active beneficial bacteria.

  15. Jill says:

    Really interesting article and messages. I have just started making Kefir and have a few questions. I had read that Kefir made from dry or dehydrated grains is not active in the best probiotics. (I have made mine with fresh) I would like a good cheese recipe if anyone has one please? have only been leaving mine for 24hrs (brisbane and temps have been up to 30*) but the Kefir is not thick – more like very creamy milk….. if I left it longer will it be thicker? I love trying things and this is so much fun…. I have also made sauerkraut but not with Kefir … will try it next time.

  16. lnsu says:

    im so in love w my kefir! good blog Donna. i have both the milk n water kefir. i found to make your milk kefir ferment quicker n thicker (it also helps them grow) i simply feed 1 tsp of a sweet creamer or sweetened condensed milk to my batch. i get thick curds and plump happy kefir! i fiund this out in an effort to get a more yigurt consistancy over a runny yogurt. i also let my kefir drain out some whey not as dry as cheese but 1/2 way there. then to make it yummy open a can of pie filling and mix in. the next day your yogurt looks tastes like a full rich yogurt. dont worry it isnt too sweet your kefir will keep eating the sugars. thanks for sharing

  17. Carrie S says:

    I don’t mean to sound pessimistic however there are so many of these health fads going around its hard to know what works and what doesn’t. I did try the latta kefir yogurt and while it tastes good how can I tell if there are any real health benefits or if it’s all psychosomatic

    • Jill says:

      You just need to do the research Carrie and work out what is best for you. There are many sites where the scientific research has been done to prove it. I think calling Kefir a health fad is rather harsh, as it has been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years. I have consumed Kefir for over 30 years but have only recently been making my own and having it daily as I have retired and have the time.

  18. Debbie says:

    Hello, I have been using my kefir grains for about 8 months. I have noticed that they completely stopped growing the last 2 months and the kefir is coming out very watery.
    The only thing I can think if is that I had to store my grains in milk in the fridge for a week while I was away.
    Can I revive my grains somehow? Or do they have a limited lifespan?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Debbie. If the grains are healthy they will continue to live and grow indefinitely. It’s not a problem to store them in the fridge, usually you would store them in yogurt or a mixture of 1/2 yogurt, 1/2 milk. But they shouldn’t have died being in just milk in the fridge for a week. The things that can kill them are too much heat, overfermentation (but you have to really overdo it), and nicotine (so smokers have to be careful to wash their hands very thoroughly before touching the grains. You might be able to save and normalize them if you let the rest in the fridge in yogurt (or half yogurt half milk) for a few weeks. Do the grains, or the kefir smell really ‘yeasty’? That’s usually a sign of overfermenting, and if they have gotten to that point usually resting them as described above will take care of it. You could take some out from resting after about 2 weeks and rinse them off in milk then smell them to see if they still smell yeasty or not. If they don’t give them a try and see if they are back to normal. If they still smell yeasty put them back in to rest in the yogurt and leave them for a bit longer.

  19. Sofi says:

    thank you Donna for this great article, I have a one year old baby and I just started giving him some milk but it is hard to find yogurt for babies, so, I found one yogurt but it is quite expensive. I love yogurt and I want to give my baby yogurt every day, so, my doctor recommended me to make homemade yogurt with raw milk, so, I started reading and I had to buy a machine or a thermometer, anyway… I was kind of disappointed. So, I started looking for a healthier, cheater option and I found one article about Kefir and probiotics and I love it. I am going to pick up some kefir grains today and hopefully my baby will get his first kefir yogurt tomorrow =0)
    I love cooking for my baby, he is learning to eat healthy and the kefir will help us a lot, I hope my husband would like to tray, and I will do the mask too.
    Thank you for this great article and for the great ideas and if you have any idea for baby food with kefir I will appreciate that.
    Thanks again
    Sofia

  20. anna mack says:

    i am in melbourne victoria,Australia and i would like to buy some kefir grains, can you tell me where i can get them please.
    i am of bad health, and really would like to try some to see if it helps
    thanks
    regards anna

  21. Maru says:

    I used to make beautiful yoghurt using cow milk and yoghurt as culture,but was told to avoid cow milk so switched to goat and the resulted yoghurt was runny. Before reading this article bought some kefir probiotic and did as it said on the pack. Left on the bench 36 hours and ended up with a nearly runny yoghurt which was better than my previous yoghurts. There was no grain or fermented taste. Reading above article dissapointed me of my creation.
    please advise me what have I done. Thank you

    • Donna says:

      I think your kefir is probably fine Maru. Goat’s milk does not have the high fat content of cow’s milk. The cow’s milk I was getting was organic, raw, whole milk from grass-fed cows in NZ (famous for it’s rich cream content). The cream is what helps to thicken the kefir. If you strain through cheesecloth it will separate the curds and whey. Taking out some of the whey makes it thicker. But the whey is nutritious too, you can use it as a fermentation starter for other fermented foods, or drink or add to smoothies. You can use it in baking too, although cooking will kill the probiotics. Also try to get kefir grains, I think they make a thicker kefir. Commercial yogurt is thick because they add thickeners to it… like gelatin and other thickeners (yuck), or powdered milk. So you could try adding some powdered milk to your milk and see if that thickens it up. I hope that helps.

  22. Maru says:

    Thank you, I have bought some grains and experimenting.

  23. Sara says:

    Ok. I started with the process. After 48 hours it smells just like rotten milk. I just can’t stomach trying it. This is my second batch too. The first smelt the same. What gives?!

  24. sabrina says:

    I do kefir everyday…I definitely end up with too much kefir in my fridge!
    I never use my hands on the kefir grains. No matter how clean are our hands, they still have healthy or not bacteria on the skin. The bacterias on the skin are not probiotic! Well, I guess the bacterial transfer may not be to big, but still it could change the bacterial population around the kefir grains. I use clean plastic mesh, and its bowl. I put the fermented milk with grains in the strainer and move it around with a spatula/plastic-silicone spoon. The result is quite thick. I need to use the spoon and ease the thick cream to fall in the bowl.
    I move the grains in a clean glass jar (large opening), pour some fresh organic whole milk. I leave some space in the jar for the fermenting gases. I close the lid. The fermenting of the milk depends a lot on the temperature of the kitchen and the rate grains/milk.
    As the grains grow, you need to use more milk… and so it goes.

  25. Ally says:

    I love a big glass of kefir every morning, great for digestion!

    I wouldn’t use raw milk though, despite all the myths on the internet, there is no health benefit of raw milk vs pasteurized milk – and, if I was going to drink raw milk (we did when I was young and owned our own dairy farm), I would be VERY strict as to where that came from. The risk of disease transfer is too high.

    I’ve found pretty good kefir results with goat milk too. Also coconut milk is a very tasty twist!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Ally. I only get organic grass fed raw milk, and make sure the animals are under good clean conditions. Does the goat milk kefir come out thinner than kefir made with cow’s milk or about the same? I’ve tried coconut milk kefir, I’ve yet to master it, but I did only attempt it once. Here I’ve got lots of easy access to coconuts though so I’ve been intending to try it again. Do you use milk kefir grains or water kefir grains for your coconut milk? Do you mind saying how you make it, with coconut cream, or water, or water blended with meat?

    • Rebecca says:

      I do use raw milk and it’s certified. I get milk from a dairy that is inspected, tested, and pure. I don’t recommend just any ol dairy because most are not sanitary and rely on pasteurization to “fix” their laziness.

      I recently found a website with Kefir Chai recipe on and I have a jar in my frig right now dedicated just to my Kefir Chai. This morning I put about a half cup of applesauce in a glass then filled it the rest of the way with my thick kefir chai and then stirred. The thickness of the Kefir kept the applesauce suspended and it was absolutely addicting !!! Making the Chai is easy. Just fill a jar part way with kefir milk and put an Indian Chai tea bag in the milk and let it sit on the counter for about 12 to 24 hrs. Then refrigerate. The second “culturing” makes it more mellow and then use it at will. I’m adding more kefir milk as I need it.

      • Donna says:

        Wow, Rebecca that sounds amazing! So the tea bag imparts it’s flavors even though you’re not heating it and extracting in water. That’s interesting. It sounds great, I’ll have to try that!

        • Rebecca says:

          Yes ma’am it does. I was skeptical too but it worked. It is such a mellow and light flavor. The recipe says you can put a cinnamon stick in the kefir milk too if you want a more cinnamon flavor. There is also a recipe for citrus where you take off some lemon and/or orange peel and let that infuse into the kefir milk over night. With the lightness it probably tastes like lemon chiffon !!

          I love Indian Chai because I spent 3 months in India way back in the 70s. The green cardamom also adds a unique flavor to the Indian chai so I’m going to try a small net bag with crushed cardamom seeds in it. There are green and black cardamom but I think the green has a more aromatic quality but I’m going to look into both kinds since I do have them.

          This is opening up new avenues for me to try. :)

  26. Julia says:

    “* (except perhaps New Zealand which has the strictest biosecurity in the world and probably don’t let anything like this into the country legally).”

    Interesting, I live in New Zealand and a friend of mine just gave me some kefir grains.

    So we somehow got them into this country.

    • Donna says:

      Yes both milk and water kefir grains and Kombucha SCOBYs were brought into NZ at some point and people propagated and spread them so you can find them locally. I sold all three when I lived there. So at some point those things were brought in, maybe it was easier in the past, and even now I think it’s probably possible to smuggle things in if you are clever and lucky. But if you order grains from outside the country to be shipped in there is a very high chance of them being confiscated by MAF. Also with shipping time and cost it makes more sense to get them locally. During the time I lived in NZ there were a few incidents where pests managed to slip past MAF and customs and proved to be costly and devastating, so I’m sure they have tightened security even more because of things like that. NZ is the only country in the world I have been to where they spray you with some pesticide or other poison to disinfect you before they let you disembark from the airplane.

      • Julia says:

        What country were you coming from? I have never been sprayed on disembarkment when returning to NZ.

        I am sure it is possible to legally import kefir grains into NZ, just it is probably very expensive

        • Donna says:

          I was coming from the US. The flight attendants walked down the aisles wearing face masks and spraying something from aerosol containers. They spray it up in the air, not directly at people. So it’s not like they hose you down or anything. But being really sensitive to chemicals I was shocked.

    • Geoff Pearce says:

      I was given Kefir grains by a woman in a health food shop in Dunedin, NZ in the late 1970s….It was given to me as yoghurt culture but definitely Kefir – its been in NZ at least that long

  27. Prof.Dr.shakir mirhish says:

    Dear Sir; I am glad if send more information about keffir

  28. Rebecca says:

    I am making my own kefir milk and yogurt using raw Jersey cow milk. They are both absolutely DECADENT !!!

    I have been using Dannon original yogurt (with active enzymes) to make the yogurt and I’m wondering if I can use the kefir milk for this purpose. I love the taste of both and what could be a more perfect combination if the kefir milk used as a “starter” for the yogurt ??? OR IS IT ? Please help me ! :)

    Rebecca

    • Donna says:

      Hi Rebecca, kefir and yogurt are two different things, although similar. I guess you could try combining them and see if you like the result though. One of the ways of ‘resting’ kefir grains is to put them in yogurt, so the yogurt strains don’t seem to bother the kefir culture.

  29. Chris Keane says:

    Can u take Kefir everyday,Is it good for you, and is it fattening. Thank You.

    • Donna says:

      I have eaten kefir day after day, but I listen to my body and if I don’t feel like it I don’t have it. The probiotics are good for you. Whether it’s fattening or not depends on how much you eat, what your total caloric intake is compared to how many calories you burn in a day.

  30. Jesse Brown says:

    I make delicious raw goat milk yogurt and get good texture. I am starting another batch and am thinking about adding some kefir at when I add the yogurt starter. Is this a good idea? could there be some negative complications?

    • Donna says:

      I don’t think there will be negative complications, but the result will no longer be straight yogurt. Not that it’s a bad thing. I like to combine different strains of kefir grains when I can, I figure the more different beneficial micro-organisms you can introduce the better.

  31. Biz says:

    I have my first batch going and wondered if it is normal that it smells like sour/rotten milk. I’m assuming it would but just want to make sure.

  32. Cheryl says:

    I’m dairy and GF I make kefir water and coconut milk kefir, is there a recipe to make dairy free kefir cheese?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Cheryl, I don’t think I’ve ever run across coconut milk kefir cheese. I think you could do it though if you blend up the young coconut meat with the water and then kefir that. It should give you more substance to make cheese with, or at least it would come out like a pudding or yogurt. Are you using water kefir grains to make the coconut milk kefir?

  33. Cheryl says:

    Hi Donna
    Thanks for that, yes I am using water kefir grain for the coconut milk kefir they work well, when I rest them I put them in a little milk in the fridge with the lid put on losely , I’ve been told by my friend who I got the grains from once you have put them in milk you can’t put them in water, the coconut milk kefir is slightly fizzy I flavour with blueberries, banana, just wonderful taste.

    Cheryl

  34. Belinda says:

    I have been experimenting with kefir now for about 2 months, I make it everyday. I make it on 800 mls cows milk and add about 100-200 mils of pure cream, this makes the first strain of the kefier rich thick and creamy. I then do a second strain through cheese cloth for that thick creamy sour cream. I have a sweet (add honey) container and an unflavoured container. I also make a coconut kefir, I found it was not able to be strained through the cheese cloth as it was way to thin so now I use a 2/3 coconut milk and 1/3 cows milk and after the first strain I leave it for 24hours in the fridge, I then do the second strain an it works perfectly and leaves the most delectable cream ever.
    I just love the versatility of kefir. Today I made a no bake lemon cheese cake but instead of creamed cheese I used Kefir… My family said it was the best cheese cake I had ever made!!
    My 18 yr old son uses the first strain of the kefir INSTEAD of the whey powder to bulk up. He is rapped that he is not shelling out so much money and getting a much healthier result.
    All six of my children love it and we make and use up to 2 litres a day!!
    I am relatively new to kefir but in a short time I have found countles uses for it and believe the are endless possibilities for its use on both a sweet and savory level!!!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Belinda, for that awesome testimonial for kefir! I love hearing about how you use it, your recipes and how you and your family have embraced it so fully, and you’ve been so creative it using it in such a short period of time. Thank you so much for sharing that!

    • Gale Harpe says:

      Hi Belinda,

      I would love your cheese cake recipe? Gale.

      • Donna says:

        Belinda I’m sure others would be interested too. If you want to take some photos and send the with the recipe I would post it on my site as a guest post. If you’re interested send me an email through the contact page. Thanks, Donna

  35. Kirsty says:

    I currently have my first batch of water kefir on the go and am super excited. I also want to do a batch of milk kefir using raw milk. However, it was recommended to me to use bath milk which is raw and unpasteurised. After I got it home I read the label and it said it is for cosmetic purposes only? Does anyone know anything about bath milk and is it safe to use, otherwise how do I get a hold of “raw” milk?

  36. Joan Riley says:

    Please tell me …How much Kefir do we need daily..Is Kefir acidic or not…as I have a very acidic body …not good…

Leave A Comment...

*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.