I have been making kefir (pronounced kee-fer) for about four years now. There are two types of kefir “grains”: milk or water. Labeling them grains is a misnomer; it’s actually a rubbery, irregular, shaped morsel made up of yeast and bacteria. Its make-up means these grains multiply with use; so eventually you will have enough grains to share, sell or compost. Or you’ll need to get really creative to use up all the kefir you’ll produce. The milk grains (which I currently use) turn milk into a drink with a taste and texture similar to yogurt. The water grains use water and sugar to make a fizzy drink. The health benefits of this prolific little grain are the probiotics (that’s the good little bacteria) it adds to your digestive system. The value of probiotics are too numerous to mention—a Google search will show how amazing it is—but suffice to say it is a great immune system booster…even better than yogurt.
Currently, I am using the milk kefir grains with raw goat’s milk. Lately, I have been processing about a gallon of milk a week. You can also use pasteurized milk, but I prefer my milk to be raw and of the goat variety—I’ll reserve another post to go over my rationale. It takes about two to three days for the grains to work through the fermentation process of the milk (depending on the grain to milk ratio and the preferred taste—sour to really sour).
I am getting ready to process my kefir, so I thought I’d show the step-by-step directions of how easy it is.
What is needed is two large jars (pictured are half-gallon jars), a non-metal strainer and a spatula. Non-metal utensils are needed for processing kefir because metal kills the active ingredients in it.
The jar on the right is how the milk looks when it is time to process. You can see the separation of whey from the milk protein.
Using the strainer over one of the bowls, I pour off as much as the whey as possible. Then with the second bowl, I pour the rest of the fermented milk through the strainer pressing the drink down through the grains.
This is what the grains look like in the strainer after that process.
Then I put the kefir grains into a clean jar and add more milk.
This is what it looks like at the beginning of the fermentation process. I have the jars covered with a coffee filter and metal ring to allow air to circulate through, but keep dirt and bugs out of the solution. In the comments, please add any helpful hints or tips that you’ve discovered. I would love to hear.
Stay tune for ideas on how I use the kefir. But for now…you may wonder what do I do with the whey that I poured off the kefir? I know you’re sitting at the edge of your seats just dying to know…okay I live in a delusional world…but just in case my delusions aren’t delusions but reality and you really want to know…
I give the whey to the chickens. The chickens love it! The probiotics are great for them too. Tune in Friday for another tip about my girls.
If you would like to give kefir a try, my BFF, my Wrangler Man, my partner-in-crime, my mentor, Carson, has some grains for sell. Contact me and I will forward you his information.