I’ve had my kefir grains for several months now and they are growing well. I may have several tablespoons now.
I also have access to raw goat’s milk which is excellent for making kefir. My research has found raw milk to be the best for drinking homemade kefir (if you were going to drink animal milk) .
We began our kefir journey by purchasing kefir in the healthfood store, or where ever I could find it. Then I looked into making my own kefir so I would have complete control over the milks we were using.
Raw Goat’s Milk is more digestible for those who have problems with cows milk or casein. Add the millions (or billions?) of good bacteria to this (from the kefir) and it makes an excellent, nutritious drink. Because of the abundance of enzymes in kefir, the health benefits of this drink are tolerable for even the lactose intolerant persons and an indispensable aid in digestion.
How do I begin the Kefir Making Process?
Start by pouring milk onto your grains. The amount of milk depends on the amount of grains you start with, as does how long you keep the milk on the grains. I started with about 1 Tablespoon of grains and 1/2 cup milk. Increase the milk as the grains grow.
Below I explain the process:
I begin by pouring my kefir milk off my grains. Right here I am using the last of my raw Goat milk. (I will run tomorrow up to the farm to purchase more).
I have read you should use a plastic strainer, but my metal one works just fine. I don’t have a plastic one.
Here are the kefir grains left behind after ‘tapping’ the kefir out of the strainer. This may take a moment, but it will eventually all strain through.
I dump the kefir grains (without rinsing) back into the jar they came from if I am making more Goat milk kefir. If I am using a different milk (like coconut milk) I use a clean jar.
I wash my jar with the grains every few days. The left over kefir stuck to the sides will aid in the fermentation process.
Right now, since I am out of goat milk, I put the grains into a clean jar ready to make coconut milk kefir. I don’t bother rinsing my grains, but you can. Just be sure to use non-chlorinated water. The chlorine will kill the grains.
I use canned coconut milk. Look for the least ingredients you can find on the can.
If I can find organic coconut milk, I grab several cans of that.
Pour the coconut milk from the can right on the kefir grains. I have seen where some add water (with no chlorine) to the canned coconut milk or even some coconut milk you might find in the milk section of your grocery. My grains are not much, so I just keep the volume down for now.
Leave the grains and milk out on the counter in a dark place to ferment. It may take 12-24 hours, depending on the temperature.
What did I do with the goat kefir I poured off? I put it in a pint jar and set it beside the coconut milk and kefir grains. It will continue to ferment.
I leave the kefir out on the counter. As the kefir sets on the counter it still ferments, this also causes a tart-er taste. I have not let it set out more than 3 or 4 days. We usually have it all gone in a few days.
If after a few days the jars begin to stack up, I put a lid on them and put them in the fridge. Be sure to label the date on the jar. The kefir should last a long time, at least a week and quite possibly longer.
After a day or two of setting on the counter I begin to see a separation of the whey (clear) and the curds (white). The whey has been used for its great healing properties in treating skin rashes to drinking to heal damaged digestive systems.
What do I do with my kefir?
I make both Goat and Coconut Kefir. I like the sweet taste of coconut kefir in my coffee, as well as in smoothies. Try replacing buttermilk with kefir in recipes for biscuits, breads and pancakes.
One great way is to skim the curds off the whey (after it has set and separated for 2-4 days) and add some honey. Then add the whey to a smoothie.
How do I know my Coconut Kefir is ready?
I know my Coconut kefir is ready when I can taste a tangy or tart taste to the milk. This all depends on the ratio of milk to kefir grains. It may take 24 hours (like mine) or two days. Temperature also plays a role in the fermenting process. The warmer it is, the quicker things seem to ferment. The easiest way is to taste it and see. And, if you strain it off too early, it’s okay. Just wait longer the next time.
How do I use my Kefir in Smoothies?
To make a kefir smoothie you just replace the liquid called for in the smoothie with kefir. This works especially well for smoothies that call for milk. Or, you can add just a few tablespoons of kefir to the liquid called for in the smoothie recipe and you are still getting the beneficial bacteria in your system. It’s best to begin this way because kefir does has a tart or fermented taste to it.
For those who don’t care for the taste of kefir, smoothies are a great way to mask the taste by adding lots of fruits and even some flavoring, such as vanilla.
How do I make a Kefir Smoothie?
Try the smoothie recipe below.
Chocolate-Strawberry Kefir Smoothie
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 or 1/3 cup kefir (coconut or other)
- 1-2 Tablespoons of hot chocolate powder or cocoa powder
- 1-2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
- 5-10 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- ice (optional)
- Place all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 2
I had some Peppermint Hot Chocolate mix I used. This added a very nice hint of peppermint to the smoothie. Yumm!