Timing Milk Kefir


As milk kefir grows in popularity, you might be interested in adding it to your diet, if the taste weren’t so strong. Did you know that you can culture milk kefir differently to produce a flavor that suits your taste buds? 

Varying the culturing time and temperature can produce a mild, slightly tangy, or a strongly flavored robust kefir, depending on the variables.

Below are three examples showing how timing affects flavor, assuming a culturing temperature of 68º-72ºF.

12 Hours. Place kefir grains in milk. After 12 hours, separate the kefir grains from the kefir. The finished kefir will be mildly tangy and thinner in consistency. 

24 Hours. Place kefir grains in milk. After 24 hours, separate the kefir grains. The finished kefir will be a bit thick, similar to buttermilk or heavy cream. It will have stronger flavor. It shouldn’t be overpowering, but it will have a distinctly tangy, sometimes yeasty kefir flavor. Kefir cultured for 24 hours is wonderful in smoothies, as the stronger flavor is masked by the sweet fruits and add-ins.

48 Hours. This kefir is for the veteran kefir lover. When cultured for 48 hours, the kefir will generally begin to separate into curds and whey, which can be whisked back together, for a smoother finished product. Alternatively, drain the whey off to make kefir cheese.

Taking Temperature into Account

In a space that is not a perfect 68-72 degrees, is there a way to produce consistent results? The answer is yes, although there will be some trial and error through the various seasons to determine how long to culture milk kefir to get results that suit your preference. Keep in mind that when the culturing area is warmer, the culturing occurs more quickly; when the culturing area is cooler, the culturing slows down.

Learn more about maintaining temperatures year-round:

Warm Weather Care for Starter Cultures

Cold Weather Care for Starter Cultures

Give milk kefir a shot! You may be surprised to find that you actually really love milk kefir — mild or extra zingy!

Ready for Some Flavoring Ideas for Milk Kefir?

Timing Milk Kefir

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Milk Kefir Grains Milk Kefir Grains
Milk Kefir Starter Kit Milk Kefir Starter Kit
Real Food Fermentation Real Food Fermentation

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