How to Make Kefir with a Direct-set Starter Culture

 

Direct-set style powdered kefir starter culture is a great option for people interested in making their own kefir but who do not want to maintain a set of milk kefir grains. Click here for more information on making kefir with milk kefir grains. Click here for information on the differences between direct-set kefir cultures and milk kefir grains.
 

Milk considerations. Pasteurized milk is most commonly used with this culture. Non-homogenized milk can be used if desired. Ultra-high temperature (UHT) and ultra-pasteurized (UP) milk are less likely to culture effectively. Fresh raw milk will typically culture effectively for the initial batch but is difficult to reculture due to bacteria content. 

A note about hygiene. When working with kefir, it is important not to introduce competing bacteria to the process. Be sure and wash and rinse your hands well prior to working with the milk. Also be sure to thoroughly clean and rinse the container and all utensils that will come in contact with the milk or the starter culture. Beware soap and food residue the dishwasher may have missed. When in doubt, give everything an extra rinse. The culturing container can be cleaned with regular soap and hot water (rinse very well) or with vinegar. Never use bleach on any item that will come in contact with the milk or starter culture. 

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

 

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 reculturings will depend on the freshness of the kefir and hygienic practices employed. We recommend reculturing kefir within 7 days of making each batch. Longer periods between batches will decrease the likelihood the new batch will culture successfully. Please note: reculturing is less likely to be effective if raw milk is used due to the bacteria content of the raw milk. If you prefer to use raw milk, we would strongly recommend using milk kefir grains to make your 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 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.

 

Choose a safe spot. An ideal culturing spot should be relatively warm but not excessively so. The best fermenting spot for kefir is out of direct sunlight. Indirect light or darkness is neither favorable nor problematic. Be sure the kefir is not fermenting near any other cultured foods such as kombucha, yogurt, sourdough, sauerkraut, etc. Do not culture your kefir near a garbage can. Cross contamination of stray yeasts and bacteria can be problematic for the kefir and any other fermented foods you are working with.

 

Signs the Kefir is Finished Culturing:

Cow or Goat Milk. The culturing process is complete when the milk thickens to the consistency of commercial cultured buttermilk. It will be a pourable liquid and not an “eat with a spoon” level of thickness. The milk will also take on a distinctive sour fragrance.

Coconut Milk. The coconut milk takes on a distinctive sour, less sweet fragrance. Cultured coconut milk does not thicken reliably like dairy milk.  

Coconut Water or Juice. The coconut water or fruit juice becomes cloudy and less sweet.


 



                                                
   


Related Articles & Recipes

 

Related Products

Milk Kefir Grains Milk Kefir Grains
Milk Kefir Starter Culture Milk Kefir Starter Culture

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