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How To Make Kefir
Pronounced "kuh-FEAR" | updated 11/13/22
If all disease begins in the gut, as Hippocrates so famously said, then all healing must begin in the gut as well, yes?
Starting the healing is simple: if you want a healthy gut, consume foods rich in probiotics -- fermented foods* -- at least once a day!
*Love that Wardeh who wrote the book on fermented foods... she was the first real food blogger I discovered. Changed. My. Life.
There are plenty of good probiotic-rich foods to make at home: yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented veggies, kombucha and kefir, to name a few of the most common.
Sauerkraut and kefir are the easiest to make, the gateways to more intense and complicated ferments. Both are veritable probiotic elixirs of the gods. Kefir is yogurt on steroids.
Kefir's tart taste is akin to buttermilk, a friend of mine drinks it with a slash of freshly ground pepper. If, however, you are not a fan of the taste, no worries, make it delicious with honey and/or fruit. We use kefir as the base of our gut-healing smoothie with banana, honey, raw egg and vanilla -- yummy!
Quick Video of me doing the daily kefir :)
How To Make Kefir
Put your kefir grains in a clean glass jar. We use a quart-size Ball jar.
Add 2 cups milk and stir. We use raw milk, but kefir grains are so powerful, it can turn even dead pasteurized milk into a health tonic!
Cover with a coffee filter (unbleached) or cloth held in place with a rubber band.
Let sit 24 hours, then strain the kefir separating the grains from the liquid. Set a stainless steel wide-mouth funnel onto the kefir-receiving jar, then set a stainless steel sieve (the middle one in this picture) onto that. Fill the strainer with the fermented kefir. Gently tap the strainer against the funnel to get the liquid and grains to separate. You'll refill the strainer probably 3-4 times until all the kefir is in the jar and all the grains are in the strainer.
Dump the kefir grains back into the fermenting jar — you can use this several times before washing. Thems good germs in thar!
Now, taste your kefir. If it's the right amount of "tart" for you, you have the perfect recipe of 2 cups of milk to your grains. If it's not tart enough, fine tune the taste by adding less milk to the next ferment or let it ferment another day. To make less tart, add more milk.
Once you have your recipe, add the right amount of fresh milk to your kefir grains in the new jar, cover and let sit 24 hours.
Repeat forever! Your grains will multiply quickly, it's pretty amazing. Remember, that the more grains you have, the more tart the result. So when you have too many grains, you can eat them, feed them to your pets (chickens and dogs love kefir and the grains) or share grains with friends so they can make kefir!
What kind of milk?
You can use any milk: coconut, goat, cow. You can use pasteurized milk. Ultra dead (ultra pasteurized) is the least desirable, but it will still make kefir. I tried it with canned coconut milk in Costa Rica, but didn't like it. I just rinsed the coconut milk off the grains and poured fresh milk over them again, worked fine.
Here's the KefirLady. Tons of good info and she sells kefir grains :)
At some point, we'll get water kefir grains from the Kefir Lady -- can't wait to try that. You can brew it faster than kombucha so it will be good to fill in the down times. Here's how you make grape soda from water kefir grains. Sounds good, huh?
A search online will provide you with MANY variations to the basic kefir recipe here. Here’s to your digestive health :)