Many of the most innovative things have happened by accident, and the cultured kitchen is no exception. I often accidentally stumble upon something that changes the course of what we eat or how we eat or what our current favorite dish is. This week my space cadet tendencies reminded me of the revelation that is a second fermentation of milk kefir.

I’ve actually done this before and written about a second fermentation of milk kefir here on the main CFH site. I had forgotten about it and really only done it a few times as we just consumed the kefir too fast to buy the time to do it.

But one day I left one quart of kefir out on accident. It sat at room temperature with a tight-fitting lid for about 8-12 hours. A second quart of milk kefir went into cold storage. When I served cups of kefir up at breakfast there was a marked difference in the flavor of this kefir from our usual batches.

My family loved it and there was a marked difference between this kefir and the one that had not undergone the second fermentation.

That morning kefir drink was proclaimed to be mild, not too tangy at all, and pleasant to drink. Everyone from the adults to the young children asked what was different about it and, not remembering my mistake, I couldn’t figure it out.

This batch had done a full 24 hour fermentation just like the others. It was thick and creamy when cultured and certainly had that pleasant cultured kefir smell. But it was so mild in flavor – barely tangy or yeasty at all.

And then it dawned on me – this was the kefir that had accidentally gotten a second fermentation!

I then took out the jar that hadn’t gotten the second fermentation and it was much tangier and had more of that quintessential kefir yeast-like flavor to it. I think I might experiment with adding flavors again to our second fermentation and let this mild cultured kefir become our breakfast drink.