written by @JuliaRecipes
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Kefir is tangy, fermented milk. It has a mild taste of acidity and it tastes like drinkable yogurt and has been a regular part Eastern European diets for centuries. It’s a full powerhouse, packed with calcium, protein, potassium, and other minerals and vitamins, and it abounds with healthy bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes. It is packed with probiotics, more then you can find in yogurt. You can enjoy it plain or add some fruits and make a smoothie from it. You can also use it in baking as substitute for buttermilk or yoghurt.
Store-bought kefir beats the probiotic supplements, when it comes to the number of diversity of probiotics. Kefir is full of live organism, ranging from 150 billion to 950 billion per cup. It is far more, then found in most of probiotic supplements. And homemade kefir, wait for it, contains even more microorganisms than the store bought one. And why? Because most of home ferments use kefir grains that contain between 30 to 50 different strains of healthy bacteria and yeast.
Kefir is a fantastic cultured beverage that has been used as a tonic in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for centuries. Kefir is traditionally made with cow’s milk or goat’s milk. But you can make it from any plant-based milk (such as coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk) or even from water. The best part is that kefir is amazingly simple, super fast, absolutely inexpensive, and safe to make at home. The entire fermentation process only takes 24 hours at room temperature.
Benefits of kefir:
Kefir is a Fantastic Source of Many Nutrients
Kefir is a More Powerful Probiotic Than Yogurt
Kefir Has Potent Antibacterial Properties
Kefir Can Improve Bone Health and Lower The Risk of Osteoporosis
The Probiotics in it May Help With Various Digestive Problems
Kefir can sooth digestive system
Kefir May Improve Symptoms of Allergy and Asthma
Kefir can protect against infections
Kefir can help you heal your cold sores. I used to have a lot of cold sores at least 4-6 times a year, but since I am daily drinking kefir, it completely disappeared. Kefir is great against any kind of candida infection. Daily drinking kefir, will makes you go regulary. If you have a sensitive gut, start slowly with kefir, take few tablespoons morning and evening, so you give a chance to your body to get used to of kefir.
How can you make Kefir at home ? First things first, you need to know, that Kefir is made from milk and milk kefir grains. Milk kefir grains aren’t a real grains, it is rather a mixture of lactic acid, bacteria, and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and they contain the cultures that turn milk into kefir.
Where to get kefir grains ? I got mine from a friend Georgia, her boyfriend is making his kefir for years and she is the one who got me introduced to kefir, thank you Georgita 😍. Later on, when I was making more research, I found few sold on Amazon.com and local advertisement sites, such as Kijiji and Craig list, has been offering some Kefir grains. I would suggest to ask, as well in your local natural store. Grains do multiply, so eventually, you might be able to share with your friends.
Now I will go back to how to make kefir. You simply place your kefir grains into clean sterilized jar, pour over whole milk (2% works best), cover with cheese cloth of the cover for jar and let stand covered on the counter or in your cupboard for 24 hours. You do not need to tighten the cover. Then you will strain the kefir to separate the grains and you can enjoy it right away in your smoothies or pour it in sterilised jar, tighten with cover and let it chill in refrigerator for few hours (that is how I consume it). Or you may ripen the kefir for another 24 hours in the same jar by letting it stand again on the counter (always covered with cheese cloth or jar cover). The kefir will become more thick and sour. Always strain the grains 24 hours after being in milk in temperatures in between 65º – 82ºF (18º – 28ºC)
Please make sure when you work with kefir grains, you do not want to get them in contact with metal utensils or strainer or spatula. Grains might go through chemical reaction and could lower the production of grains. Always use plastic strain and wooden spatula, when working with kefir grains! Do not expose the fermentation beyond 28ºC/82ºF and on direct sunlight. If in your home is during the day more then 28ºC/82ºF, then try to keep the kefir in refrigerator during the day and at night place it on the counter. Lower temperature will slow the process. Always remember do not exceed 24 hours of fermentation (milk with grains), your milk could get spoiled (remove the grains after 24 hours of fermentation while on the counter). If you are having it in the refrigerator, it can stay there in jar for 5-7 days, then you need to strain it.
STORING GRAINS: If you are leaving on a vacation where you cannot continue making kefir, you just simply place the grains in a small jar, pour over the milk to cover the grains and leave it up to 5-7 days in refrigerator. Once you want to use your grains again, you strain the milk and use the grains with new fresh milk. Once in a while, is good to give a little break to your kefir grains. I would say twice a year is sufficient. You can also store your grains in freezer or dry them completely for longer storing period, this requires special treatment, you can read about it here www.yeemos.com they have Kefir 101 FAQ and they even the kefir grains.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE KEFIR
Preparation time: 15 minutes⭐ fermentation time: 24 hours⭐ servings: 1 l (4 cups)
- 2 tbsp kefir grains
- 3/4 l (3 cups) whole milk 2%
- Clean and sterilized your jars.
- Place grains in the first clean jar and fill the jar with milk.
- Cover the jar with lid, but do not tighten it.
- Set the jar on the countertop out of direct sunlight or in a cupboard for 24 hours. Shake occasionally.
- Strain the kefir through the non metallic strainer into the mixing bowl.
- The kefir has to be thick, tangy, and slightly fizzy.
- Transfer the kefir in the second clean jar and either consume it or keep in closed in the refrigerator. You may also ripen your kefir in clean jar (without the grains) for another 24 hours on the counter. It will become more thick and sour.
- Move the grains from the strainer into the last jar. Repeat the process to make another batch of kefir, or cover the grains with milk and place in the refrigerator. Keeping the grains in refrigerator, slows the fermentation, so the grains will rest there until you’re ready to make kefir again.
- You can drink your kefir plain or add it to your smoothies or baking.