I am often asked how to make kefir. I had Christmas lunch with an experienced blogger and she said "people want you to teach them something!”.
Therefore, The Farmer's wife will teach you how I make kefir!
What I use to make kefir:
- 1 quart glass canning jar, move up to a 1/2 gal jar if you have a large family
- Scoop of kefir grains
- Raw Milk from BLV free cows
- A lid of any sort
How I make kefir:
- Put the scoop of kefir grains in the jar, 1-2 Tbs for a quart
- Pour in the milk to about the bottom of the neck
- Set a lid on top - I might just set a clean plastic container lid on top - not one that I would screw down for a tight seal, just a loosely set something on top to keep the air from dropping dust particles or whatever into the mix. Cloth gets wet, so I prefer plastic. You don’t want the liquid to touch the top so be sure to leave some room as it does expand just a bit in the jar
- In our home the temperature is about 72 degrees F. It takes about 24 hours to culture. To determine if the culture is complete to my taste, I rotate the jar a bit to see if it is clinging to the sides like a big piece of yogurt. I NEVER stir; stirring breaks it apart and makes such an ugly product (in my opinion).
How I get kefir out of the jar:
- I set a stainless bowl on the counter
- I put a stainless colander on top of the bowl
- I invert the jar over the colander and dump the entire contents into the colander
- I use a flexible silicone spatula working gently back and forth in the kefir close to the bottom of the colander to encourage the kefir to fall through the holes until just the plump kefir grains are left in my colander
- I put the kefir grains into a new clean jar, add milk
- I pour the kefir into a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator
Now, other questions I get asked …
- Can you put kefir to sleep?
Yes, you can.
- For a week to 3 weeks, I put fresh milk on the grains and put the container in the refrigerator.
- For longer than 3 weeks, I put fresh milk on the grains and put the container in the freezer (I use a plastic container when I do this b/c the milk expands and can break the glass jar. Many however do freeze in glass, it is a personal choice).
2. How do you wake them up?
- Get them out, defrost if needed, work them in the colander as described above and start like normal. Those that have been frozen may take 2-3 kefirings to fully wake up, so use a small amount of milk each time so that you don’t waste. You can use the watery kefir that results the first couple of time, it is just not the creamy pretty product you will normally expect.
3. What if I don’t want to use the kefir right away?
- You can complete the culturing process, then without separating, set the container in the refrigerator with a lid. Whenever you are ready to use, just pull the container out of the refrigerator and separate as I have described above, consume the refrigerated kefir, and begin a new batch.
3. What is wrong when it looks like the kefir is broken up like curds and whey?
- It means one of two things … you have too many grains to the volume of milk and/or you let it kefir too long. You can change either the quantity of grains or shorten the length of time for your kefir to culture. Grains are safe to eat, just throw them in your smoothy or chew them for a funky funny face contest.
4. What if my kefir looks weird or grows orange stuff on it?
- If I see this, I scoop off the orange stuff and throw it and a bit of the product below the orange in the bucket that goes to our chickens. Then I rinse the grains in well water (you would want to use distilled water if you are in the city or have water in which you do not know the contents). Then I start them all over again and they have always been fine. The air carries mold, sometimes this just happens, don’t panic.
5. DONT wash your grains when they arrive, DONT wash your grains between culturing. Washing kefir grains is a NO, NO, NO!!! Often washing the grains kills them, this is why I said above to use distilled water or known clean well water (we test our water regularly on the farm so know it is clean); tap water often has lots of chlorine and this may be the cause of kefir grain death - I am not sure. These are live creatures, treat them well and they will provide excellent healthy food for your family.
Buy them in our online store for $15.00, enough to start a quart or more sized container of kefir, http://csa.farmigo.com/store/sandcreekfarm, choose the dairy page and scroll down to kefir. Or, send an email and ask me to ship them to you for $20 total, firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept paypal to this email address or you may mail a check.