Direct-set powdered kefir starter culture is a great option for those interested in making kefir without maintaining milk kefir grains. Learn the differences between milk kefir grains and the powdered starter culture in our article, Choosing a Kefir Culture: Grains vs. Direct-set Starter.

Equipment:

  • One glass or plastic container
  • A plastic, wood, or stainless steel stirring utensil
  • A coffee filter or cloth
  • A rubber band to secure the cover

Ingredients:

  • 1 Packet of Direct-Set Kefir Starter Culture
  • 1 quart Liquid for Culturing
    • Dairy Milk. Pasteurized milk is most commonly used with this culture, but fresh raw milk may be used, as well. For best results, avoid ultra-pasteurized milk.
    • Coconut Milk
    • Coconut Water
    • Fruit Juice

How to Make Kefir

  1. Pour 1 quart milk, coconut milk, coconut water, or fruit juice into a glass or plastic container
  2. If using a refrigerated liquid, heat to 70º-75ºF
  3. Add 1 packet kefir starter culture and stir gently until the culture is fully dissolved.
  4. Cover the container with a coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band, and place in a warm spot, 72º-74ºF, for 12-16 hours.
  5. Cover finished kefir with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator.

Reculturing the Kefir

Kefir made with a direct-set style starter culture can often be recultured anywhere from 2 to 7 times. The exact number of successive batches will depend on the freshness of the kefir and hygienic practices employed. Be sure to reculture within 7 days. Longer periods between batches may not result in successful batches.

  1. Pour 1 quart milk, coconut milk, coconut water, or fruit juice into a glass or plastic container
  2. If using a refrigerated liquid, heat to 70º-75ºF
  3. Add ¼ cup prepared kefir from the previous batch and stir gently.
  4. Cover the container with a coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band, and place in a warm spot, 72º-74ºF, for 12-16 hours.
  5. Cover finished kefir with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator.

Signs the Kefir is Finished Culturing

  • Dairy Milk: The culturing process is complete when the milk thickens to the consistency of buttermilk or heavy cream.
  • Coconut Milk: The coconut milk takes on a distinctive sour, less sweet aroma. Cultured coconut milk does not thicken like dairy milk.
  • Coconut Water or Juice: The coconut water or fruit juice becomes cloudy and less sweet.

Flavor Your Kefir!

Whether you decide to make dairy or non-dairy kefir with the direct-set starter culture, there are nearly endless options for flavoring. Here are some of our favorite kefir flavor recipes, but don't be afraid to experiment on your own - we'd love to hear how they turn out!