What you will need
Organic milk (coconut milk and almond milk can also be used)
Non-metallic sieve or cheesecloth
2 – 3 glass jars with lids
Place your kefir grains in a glass jar and add your organic milk. You can either place a lid on the jar or cover with cheese cloth depending on how you like your kefir.
Once you have added your fresh milk, place lid on jar, gently stir contents and let stand at room temperature for about 24 hours, or until the product thickens or sours to your liking. If the jar is airtight you will get a slightly more carbonated kefir. If you do it this way make sure there is at least ¼ of the jar not filled otherwise a small explosion may result! I prefer to have a lid slightly ajar so that the gas can get out during the fermentation process. Place the jar in a spot at room temperature but not in direct sunlight.
Once the Kefir shows signs of separation and or thickening your kefir is ready. You may see small pockets of liquid which is whey. Leaving Kefir to ferment for too long after this can make it sour; this is OK if it is how you like it. I would not advise fermenting for longer than 48 hours.
When you are happy it is ready 24- 48 hours after starting. Pour through a sieve into a bowl. You may need to gently stir it with a wooden spoon but be careful not to squash the grains. Now place the grains into another clean dry glass jar, add your milk and you next batch of kefir has begun!
You can drink your strained kefir straight away or keep it sealed in the fridge for a few days and have it chilled. Or you can leave it sealed at room temperature for another 24 hours where it will ripen further and produce even more B vitamins and probiotics.
To avoid damaging your kefir grains, never add kefir grains to a hot jar straight after washing the jar with hot water! First add fresh milk to the jar before adding any kefir grains. It’s wise to make this a habit. Do not use milk straight from the fridge where possible; room temperature is kinder to the grains.
PLEASE NOTE – if you are not going to start making kefir straight away place the grains in a little milk in a container in the fridge. Change the milk every few days. Once you are ready to start making kefir, follow the above process but the first ferment won’t be very strong as it takes the grains a little while to “wake up” after being refrigerated.
For more information about fermented foods, visit Elaine Oliver’s website: naturaltherapyshop.com.au Natural Therapy Shop has all your starter cultures and equipment for fermented foods and drinks, GAPS friendly foods, digestive health products and books. Plus expert practitioner advice.