This is a recipe (?/process) for making milk Kefir at home. The benefits of kefir are many more than just improving probiotics, and could be explored in detail here. Like Kombucha, kefir is also a fermented drink used to improve gut health and act as probiotics in the gut. You can also find the health benefits of kombucha tea here, and how to make kombucha tea at home here.
To enjoy the benefits of kefir, it is recommended you make this drink at home. Please see below the requirements and the method.
To make Kefir, the first time, you will require one glass container, a cotton cloth/cheesecloth, a rubber band, some starter kefir grains, and about 300mL of milk (buffalo or cow milk is fine, but make sure its of good quality). You can buy the kefir grains from Cultures Market from here:
Steps to follow are:
- If you are making Kefir for the first time, take out the grains from starter pack by straining through strainer (preferably plastic) with help of water. If needed, use a plastic spoon or your finger to stir while straining.
- Now place the grains carefully in a clean glass jar. Make sure grains stick together while you take them out. It’s good for their health if they stick together.
- Fill the jar with lukewarm milk by leaving at least an inch of space at top. Full fat and non/semi pasteurised milk (means no tetra pack) is preferred. Always use one type (brand) of milk to keep the kefir grains healthier. Make sure milk is of high quality.
4. Put a clean, cotton cloth on the top and tie it with a rubber band or a ribbon. You do NOT need the lid.
5. Leave the Kefir in a clean and dark place. Make sure the place doesn’t have any moulds.
6. To keep the Kefir fermentation conditions sterile, buy a spray bottle and plain vinegar. Pour vinegar in the spray bottle and occasionally spray on top of the cloth during the storage period. This will ensure clean conditions.
7. Keep this Kefir for at least 16 hours. In most places, it would take about 24 hours to ferment but could also be made in 16 hours. You will need to see according to the humidity, dampness, and other environmental conditions in your place. If you take it soon, it might not be completely formed. If you store it too long, it will go a bit sour or very sour depending on how long you let it ferment. Hence, try to find the ideal time in the first few times and make a note of it for yourself for future occasions.
8. Strain this Kefir with the help of a sieve (preferably plastic). The grains will collect on the top and the kefir will filter down in a vessel. This might need finding a sieve which does not let kefir grains run down. You will need kefir grains each time to make kefir. Grains would have used all the lactose (milk sugar-as their food) and multiplied in number. Each time you will make kefir, grains will increase.
9. Keep the filtered kefir in a glass jar in the fridge and enjoy as a cool, nutritious milk/yogurt replacement along with numerous health benefits. This kefir will go a bit more sour even if you keep it in the fridge (the fermentation keeps happening at a very slow rate-even without the grains now!) and ideally should be consumed within three days. However, it can survive in the fridge for weeks (but goes very sour/tart).
10. To make kefir again, use the grains and procedure above.
11. If you don’t want to make another batch right away, place kefir grains in a clean glass jar and fill it with small amount of milk. Put the lid and place it in fridge till you wish to make another batch. You need to change this milk in every two days to keep your grains alive inside the fridge. And when you want to make another batch, follow the procedure mentioned in Point 1 to 6.
12. If you are travelling or going away for long, you should put the kefir grains in a fridge (don’t freeze) in larger volume of milk, depending upon how many grains you have and how long will you be away for. For the size of total grains shown in this procedure, you can use about 2 litres of milk if you are away for 10-15 days.
13. Kefir grains will grow each time you make new kefir under sterile conditions. Hence, clean vessels and environment is critical for kefir grains. People usually buy the grains once and the grains keeps growing for life in size and number.