Check out Dawn's Kefir Making Photo Tutorial... With pictures it's as easy as 1-2-3!
7 Things You’ll Need:
- One container of 'Kefir Starter Grains'... (One Family Cow ‘Kefir Starter Grains’ is 6 teaspoons of grains.)
- Raw milk... (Preferably organic since possible antibiotic residuals in non-organic could kill the living grains.)
- Jar or Crock for fermenting the kefir... (We like a crock but a mason jar works too.)
- Cloth to cover the jar
- Strainer... (Use one with holes small enough so the grains don’t pass through.)
- Bowl... (The bowl should be smaller than the strainer so the strainer sits on top.)
- Spoon or Spatula... (We like a wooden spoon just because… :)
To Make Your First Kefir:
- Pour the entire contents of the “Kefir Starter Grains” into the fermentation jar.
- Pour 16 oz (1 pint) of raw milk over the kefir starter grains.
- Cover with a cloth or towel. This keeps dirt out but lets oxygen in.
- Set the jar at room temperature for 24 hours to culture. Don’t set it in sunlight.
- After 24 hours, Stir the cultured kefir. This breaks up the thickness and makes it easier to strain. Don’t be alarmed at the curdled look of the kefir. Curds are a perfectly normal part of cheese, yogurt or kefir making.
- Set the strainer on top of the bowl and pour the kefir into it. Use the spoon to help the kefir through. Don’t rinse the grains after you strain them. In fact, it’s best to leave a few curds with them.
- Return the grains to the fermentation jar to be ready for the next batch.
- Place the freshly strained kefir in the refrigerator to chill.
To Start The Next Batch:
Return the grains to the fermentation jar… Pour in another pint of raw milk… Cover the jar with the cloth and repeat the whole process. It’s that easy!
Serving suggestion: Use a food processor or blender to puree your choice of fruit (frozen is best). Then blend the pureed fruit with the chilled kefir. If you want more sweetness, feel free to add maple syrup or other sweetener to suit your taste. It is totally up to you to decide how sweet you like it or what flavors to add. We enjoy banana, peach, strawberry, blueberry, nectarine, orange, apricot or even a blend of several. Your imagination is the limit!
(Try freezing cool pops with kefir instead of cool-aid. Your children will love them!...or freeze a pan of kefir and then process the frozen kefir with frozen fruit, and a little sugar. (It tastes almost exactly like sherbet.)
If You Need a Break for a week or two… Hibernate the Grains:
- Place the grains in a small container,
- Add raw milk until the grains are covered
- Cover container with a paper towel or cloth secured by a rubber band,
- Refrigerate. The cold temperatures will only allow a very slow fermentation.
- When you are ready to make kefir again just take them out and use them like normal.
- The first batch or two after you take the grains out of “hibernation” will take longer than 24 hours to ferment while the grains revive from their dormancy.
Need a Longer Break? … Freeze the Grains.
Freezing won’t hurt them. It just puts them into a deeper sleep. :) Simply place the grains in a zip-lock bag and freeze. They should last up to a year if kept frozen. When ready to wake them, just thaw and use like normal. Remember… they will be sluggish for a few days.
Be Careful: If you use antibacterial soap or something like Clorox to wash the jar and kefir making tools… rinse well with clear water because any residuals could kill the grains. It is actually not necessary to wash your fermentation jar every time. The little bit of Kefir left on the inside of the fermentation jar will help the next batch get started.
NOTE: After several batches of daily kefir making, you’ll notice that you have more grains than you started with. When you have 4 tablespoons or so, you may start culturing 1 quart of raw milk per day…when you have ½ cup of grains they will culture up to ½ gallon per day. As the grains keep growing you’ll be looking for a friend who wants some Kefir Grains!
Questions? Check out our Kefir Making Photo Tutorial. Pictures always make things easier! :-)
For more info on the science behind it read: 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kefir.
More questions? Send an email or call my wife (our kefir guru) at: 717-261-0127.
Happy Kefir Making!
Your Farmer~Edwin Shank