Kefir is a fermented milk drink that promotes a healthy gut microbiome. It
contains more beneficial nutrients and bacteria than yoghurt.
Kefir with blueberries and chocolate powder
Milk Kefir is not lactose-free. The fermentation process of milk with Kefir grains reduces the lactose greatly because the Kefir grains feed on the lactose sugar in the milk but the process does not bring the lactose content to zero. People with a mild lactose intolerance can consume Kefir.
Making Kefir, tips
You need about one teaspoon of Kefir grains per one cup (250ml) of milk.
This ratio will ferment the milk in about 24h at room temperature (19-25'C). If you take more milk or fewer grains then
the process will just take longer.
The best is full fat organic milk.
This is what Kefir Grains look like
The grains sit initially at the bottom of your jar and rise to the top during the fermentation as the liquid starts to thicken and gases build up. The shape of the jar that you use matters. A wider jar allows you to distribute the grains more evenly over a bigger area. Each grain will have more space and milk around it. This will allow for a maximum efficiency of the process as grains do not compete with each other for nutrients.
If you use a more narrow jar then gently stir every 6-8 hours to allow the milk to fully come into contact with the grains.
If you want to go on vacation then just put the Kefir grains into a big jar with plenty of milk and
store it in the fridge. The colder temperatures in the fridge will slow down the fermentation process.
If the Kefir has the proper growing conditions then you don't have to worry about rinsing the jar
and keeping it clean. The Kefir will completely out-compete any fungus or foreign bacteria. There is no need to wash the jar even if there are spots of dried milk or Kefir near the lid. You can
wash it once a month when too many stains have built up.
Making Kefir every day
Every 24 hours you, strain the fermented milk and Kefir mixture to get the grains back.
Add one cup (250ml) of fresh milk to the
strained grains. You can drink/eat the fermented Kefir milk just naturally or add
something to it. I like to add a few frozen blueberries and a bit of chocolate powder.
Your Kefir grains will grow over time and you can start to use a more coarse strainer which will not
catch all the small baby grains. A more coarse strainer simplifies the straining process.
The ideal temperature for making Kefir is 19-25'C (66'F-77'F). Warmer temperatures accelerate
the fermentation process and lower temperatures slow it down.
The Kefir Grains are damaged if the temperature is
below 0'C or above 40'C. The grains are however fairly hardy and can recover
unless the temperature was very much outside the range from 0'C-40'C (32'F-104'F).
The Kefir Grains become smaller at higher temperature and they grow bigger at
lower temperatures. Grains kept in colder environments will multiply very slowly but reach several inches in diameter.
If your Kefir Grains are slow to ferment and you are just getting a thin and sour milk even after fermenting for longer times then try to find a warmer place.
Don't wash the grains with water. Rinsing the Kefir Grains with tap water damages them. They will
however recover as long as you don't do it too often.
If you need to rinse your grains because you dropped them on the floor then rinse them with
Kefir Grains will multiply and grow under the right conditions and you will eventually have more grains which in turn allows you to add more milk per batch.
The Kefir Grains will completely out-compete any fungus or foreign bacteria. There is no need to wash the jar. You can wash the jar if you find that too many stains have built up but it's not required for a healthy Kefir environment. Just make sure to use good milk and the right temperature to keep the grains happy. They will then take care of the rest. Note however that milk which is already unsafe to consume may not become safe. This is because Kefir will stall the development of e.g listeria bacteria and escherichia coli bacteria but it does not remove them.
During the fermentation process, carbon dioxide will be released. This makes
the kefir a little bubbly and causes it to expand slightly.
Milk Kefir Grains can ferment once in a while nut milk but they will only grow and thrive in dairy milk.