Milk kefir is not only easy to make, it is a delicious, probiotic-rich, versatile beverage your whole family can enjoy. Whether you are just exploring how to make milk kefir at home or have cultured dairy before, this video and instructions are here to help make culturing milk kefir at home easy.
Before You Begin
- These instructions utilize the traditional starter culture known as milk kefir grains, rehydrated and ready to make milk kefir. If you wish to make milk kefir with a powdered Kefir Starter Culture, consult our article on How to Make Kefir with Direct-set Starter Culture.
- If you have purchased our dehydrated milk kefir grains, please follow the instructions included with your milk kefir grains or watch our how-to video on How to Activate Milk Kefir Grains to get started.
- If you wish to use raw milk to make milk kefir, be sure to activate your milk kefir grains using pasteurized milk first. You can then slowly transition them to raw milk.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE MILK KEFIR
To get started, first, gather your supplies and choose a variety of milk to use.
Supplies for Making Milk Kefir
You'll need the following supplies to make milk kefir, most of which can be found in the Milk Kefir Starter Kit. For more information on what supplies work best (and what to avoid) read our tutorial: Choosing the Best Equipment for Making Milk Kefir.
- A glass jar
- A non-metal stirring utensil
- A breathable cover for the jar such as a tight-weave towel, butter muslin, paper towel, or paper coffee filter
- A band to secure the cover to the jar like a rubber band or canning jar ring
- A fine mesh plastic strainer for removing the kefir grains from the finished kefir
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MILK KEFIR
- Transfer the active kefir grains into up to 4 cups of fresh milk.
- Cover with a coffee filter or butter muslin secured by a rubber band or jar ring.
- Place in a warm spot, 68°-85°F, to culture.
- Culture until milk is slightly thickened and aroma is pleasant. This generally takes 24 hours, but can take less time in warmer temperatures, so keep an eye on your grains.
- After the milk changes texture and culturing is complete, separate the kefir grains from the finished kefir.
- Place the kefir grains in a new batch of milk.
- Store the finished kefir in the refrigerator.
REMOVING GRAINS FROM FINISHED MILK KEFIR
Use Your (Clean!) Fingers
As your milk kefir grains grow in size, you may choose to remove the kefir grains by hand. Make sure your hands are very clean and well rinsed, but do not use anti-bacterial soap to avoid contaminating the culture.
Use a Plastic Mesh Strainer
Sometimes milk kefir can be a bit thick. If necessary, you can use a silicone spatula or plastic spoon (in a swirling motion) to help work the kefir through the strainer. Stainless steel can be used if necessary; just be sure it's stainless steel and not a reactive metal.
Pour Kefir Into A Shallow Bowl
This will make the grains easier to see. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, scoop the grains out. Once the grains have been removed, pour the finished kefir into a container.
While kefir sometimes turns out to be thin, it is also possible for kefir to over-thicken or turn into curds and whey. If this happens, you may need to strain your kefir grains with extra care. You can find tips in our Straining Over-Thickened Kefir tutorial.
Following the above process you can make milk kefir at home on a regular basis. If after making milk kefir for a while you decide you don't need 4 cups every day, it is possible to make smaller batches. Just choose a method in our tutorial How to Slow Down Making Milk Kefir + Make Smaller Batches.
Resting Your Milk Kefir Grains
If you ever reach a point where you need to take a break from making milk kefir, there are a few ways you can put your kefir grains on pause. This includes refrigerating them for shorter breaks or drying them for longer breaks.
In either case, it's important that your grains have been activated and culturing kefir regularly for 3 to 4 weeks before you attempt either of these resting methods.
SEE INSTRUCTIONS: How to Take a Break From Making Milk Kefir