I was completely clueless about how to make milk kefir when I first got my kefir grains. But I am great are researching! Here are some milk kefir resources I used to get started.
When a friend announced on Facebook that she had some extra kefir grains, I was curious and started asking questions.
I had heard of kefir and knew it was supposed to be good for gut health. And gut health is important for all around health.
The idea of making milk kefir was completely foreign to me (even though I have made my own yogurt). I had never even tasted kefir before.
She offered to mail me some of her extras. I was mainly hoping I wouldn’t end up killing the live cultures she sent me. I’m not exactly great at taking care of house plants.
I immediately started searching Google and Pinterest for tips and milk kefir resources.
What are the benefits of kefir?
To start, kefir grains are not really grains, but their texture resembles grains. They are actually SCOBY – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
My friend told me kefir has the largest number of strains and the highest total count of beneficial microbes of any food. That’s pretty amazing!
But I also wanted to do my own research. I came across an in-depth article from Dr.Axe.com that noted kefir can boost immunity, improve allergies, and may even fight cancer.
How to make milk kefir
I am not an expert at making milk kefir. That’s why I sought out milk kefir resources from people who have way more experience than I do.
I received my kefir grains in the mail from a friend who lives several states away. I started by following her advice to throw out the first two batches of kefir I made as the cultures re-stabilized. Then I used milk kefir resources from bloggers I trusted.
Bloggers with step-by-step tutorials on making kefir:
How to take a break from making kefir
After I had been using the grains to make milk kefir for just over 2 weeks, it looked like the cultures had tripled in size! I was really surprised since I had been using 1% milk instead of whole milk that some sources recommended.
My kefir grains have grown to the point where I can ferment milk into kefir faster than I actually use it.
I use 24 oz spaghetti sauce jars to ferment milk on my kitchen counter. Then I pour those jars into a larger half-gallon jar to store the milk kefir in my fridge. I use the kefir to make smoothies for me and my family several days a week.
When that half-gallon jar is full and I have already made smoothies that day, I know it’s time to rest the live cultures for a few days while I use the existing kefir.
I rest the cultures by putting them in a jar with about a cup of milk. Then I put a paper towel and rubber band over the top (just like I do when I ferment them on my counter).
I put the jar in the refrigerator until I am ready to make more kefir. Refrigeration slows down the fermenting process.
It only takes a day to make more kefir when I am ready to pull them back out and add more milk.
How to encourage kefir grains to multiply
If you have the opposite dilemma and need help getting your grains to multiply, check out this article from Cultures for Health.
How to enjoy kefir
My friend told me she flavors kefir by letting it ferment a second time with fruit after taking the lives cultures out. For the second fermentation, she likes to add apple with cinnamon sticks or orange peel with vanilla stevia.
My favorite way to use kefir is to make green smoothies with spinach, frozen berries, and bananas. Yum!
I got started with green smoothies by joining a challenge at Simple Green Smoothies. I just replaced the liquid in the recipes with milk kefir instead.
Have you tried making your own kefir? I would love to hear your tips!