What is Milk Kefir?
MIlk kefir is a tangy, yogurt-like beverage packed full of good nutrients and probiotics, made with dairy milk. The word kefir translates to "good feeling", most likely because of how sipping milk kefir made the people of Turks feel. The taste of milk kefir varies depending on the milk choice and fermenting time. The benefit of home made milk kefir is you have complete control.
What are Milk Kefir Grains?
Milk kefir grains consist of bacteria/yeast mixture and look like small pieces of cauliflower. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly bacteria to create milk kefir in as little as 1 day. If cared for properly, milk kefir grains have an unlimited life span and can be used repeatedly to make kefir.
Yogurt VS Milk kefir. What's the difference?
Yogurt and milk kefir are both dairy cultured products, containing beneficial microbes that benefit your digestive health. Milk kefir has a far larger range of good bacteria, and is fermented for a longer period of time resulting in more probiotics. Yogurt can have anywhere between 1 to 5 strains of good bacteria, and milk kefir with 10 to 34 types of probiotics. Both milk kefir and yogurt has a sour taste but most people are generally more familiar with the taste of yogurt. If your main goal is adding a therapeutic, probiotic-rich fermented food to your diet, kefir is the better choice.
Is Water Kefir Grains and Milk Kefir Grains the same?
Water kefir grains and milk kefir grains are two separate cultures, with their own unique composite of good yeast and bacteria. Although water kefir has fewer strains of bacteria and yeast, one isn't necessary better than the other. If you are new to cultured drinks, water kefir can be an excellent first choice as finished water kefir has a mild taste, easier to flavor and is dairy free.
MAKING MILK KEFIR AT HOME
Where can I find the guide for making milk kefir?
See: How to make milk kefir guide.
What supplies do i need for making milk kefir?
You will need fresh dairy milk, a glass container as culturing vessel and milk kefir grains.
What type/kind of milk can i use to make milk kefir?
If you are just starting out we recommend fresh cow's milk. However, If you would like to try goat's milk, the brewing method is the same, but it might take a few batches for your grains to adjust after you change the type of milk used. Choice of organic or non organic milk / full fat or semi fat milk is entirely up to you. We do not recommend using skimmed milk to make milk kefir, as we found the kefir cultured to be thin and watery, not the best.
Can i use powdered milk to make milk kefir?
Powdered milk are highly processed and may not perform well. However if you have extra grains, you could certainly give it a shot.
How long does it take to make milk kefir?
Milk Kefir generally takes 18 - 24 hours to culture.
After 16 hours you will start to notice the thickening of the milk and air bubbles forming. Finished milk kefir will be a thick yet pour-able consistency like bean curd or butter milk.
Can i use plastic container as brewing vessel?
We find that glass is one of the best options for fermenting because it doesn't scratch easily and is relatively inexpensive. Plastic can scratch and might harbor foreign bacteria, which can potentially harm your milk kefir grains.
Do i need to clean/wash the kefir grains?
No. You do not need to rinse the milk kefir grains.
How long can i store finished milk kefir in the fridge?
Up to 2 weeks.
What does finished milk kefir taste like?
Milk kefir has a distinctive taste and some people might find it too sour / tart. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for our palate to adjust to new flavours. You could try adding something to flavour it. Some suggestions would be to add or blend with honey, fruits, juice, yakult, cocoa powder.
MILK KEFIR TROUBLESHOOTING
Every time you make milk kefir, the grains will multiply. It is possible you now have too many kefir grains. It is very important to regularly remove grains otherwise the kefir grains will ferment the kefir too quickly, resulting in very sour, over fermented milk kefir. To slow down production, use a smaller amount of grains (ratio: one teaspoon of active milk kefir can successfully ferment 500ml fresh milk).
I left my kefir culturing for too long. My kefir has separated into a liquid at the bottom and curds on the top. What should i do and can i still consume the milk kefir?
Kefir will separate if over cultured. Try and avoid letting the kefir getting this separated if you can as it can mean that the grains have no food left. Just give it a good shake/stir and sieve per normal. You may find that you have to keep pouring the liquid that has gone through the sieve back through to keep softening the curds but eventually the curds will break down and you will be left with just the grains in the sieve. The kefir is safe to drink but may taste VERY sour.
How long does milk kefir grains last?
Milk kefir grains can last indefinitely and used repeatedly if well taken are of.
I want to take a break from making milk kefir. What should i do?
It's easy. All you have to do is prepare 250ml of fresh milk and put your milk kefir grains in (grains must be fully submerged in the milk). Cover and store in fridge until ready to resume. Replace fresh milk every week. When ready to restart, remove kefir grains and place in a fresh batch of milk. It might take a longer time for the kefir grains to make milk kefir.
Cold temperature slows the kefir grains down and put them into a state of hibernation. We do not recommend refrigerating the grains regularly as it might make the kefir grains less efficient.
How do i prevent mold?
The likelihood of encountering mold is very very low. Once mold has developed, you should throw away the whole batch including your grains. Clean and sanitize/sterilize all equipment and start over with a new set of kefir grains.