A super easy guide on how to make homemade kefir. This fermented milk drink is full of beneficial bacteria and simple to make with just 2 ingredients!
Kefir is a fermented milk drink product, similar to yogurt, although since it has a thinner consistency can be enjoyed as a drink, just like milk.
It is said to have originated from the Turkish word “Keif” which means “good feeling”, and it's believed to have originated centuries ago from the shepherds of the Caucasus mountains.
Why Kefir is so good for you?
Milk kefir is considered to be a superfood among other milk products, even more than yogurt.
In addition to beneficial bacteria, kefir grains often contain strains of yeast that can metabolize lactose. You can read more about them here.
When you add kefir grains to milk, they consume the lactose in the milk, producing a fermented drink that’s loaded with beneficial bacteria and yeast.
Due to its process, people who are lactose intolerant may be able to consume homemade kefir, as the bacteria present in kefir break down much of the lactose.
Homemade VS Store-bought
Making kefir at home is SO much better than buying it at the grocery store, because:
a) You're in control of the ingredients. Most commercial brands add sugar and flavourings.
When you make it at home, you know exactly what goes in, and you can keep it plain and simple.
b) It’s cheaper – If you want to incorporate it in your daily routine, you’ll find that buying the grains and making it yourself, in the long run will be loads cheaper than buying the store-bought alternative.
What is The Difference Between Grains and Starter?
The main difference between kefir grains and the starter is that the bacteria in the powdered starter is freeze-dried and the bacteria in the grains are alive.
The grains are a bit more expensive (think of them as a small investment) and are live cultures, so you need to keep feeding them by making kefir over and over again, otherwise, they will go to waste.
The powder, on the other hand, is cheaper and intended for one-time-use (although you can technically make a few batches with 1 sachet).
For first-time users, I recommend you use the powder instead of grains.
Perfect if you want to try homemade kefir for the first time, or you’re making it only occasionally.
What Milk Can You use?
Whether you use grains or powder, they work best with fresh whole animal milk.
You can use cow milk (I used a2 Milk™), sheep or goat milk, with the same results.
How To Make Homemade Kefir
You don’t need any sort of special equipment to make kefir at home.
All you need is milk, kefir grains or powder, a large mason jar and a small cotton cheesecloth (or a plastic strainer).
Avoid using metal tools in direct contact, as it's believed to harm the kefir grains.
Start by placing the kefir grains or powder into the jar, then pour the milk in.
Cover the jar with the lid, but do not close it all the way, to allow the kefir to “breath”.
Alternatively, cover the jar with a cheesecloth and secure it with a band.
Allow the kefir to sit at room temperature (ideally between 19-24 degrees) for about 24 hours.
Once the 24 hours have passed, gently stir the kefir with a wooden or plastic spoon.
It's ok if it's a little too thick, once strained it will reach a thinner consistency.
Using a plastic strainer or kitchen cloth*, strain the prepared mixture into another jar, to separate the grains from the ready-to-drink kefir.
*If you’re using the milk kefir powder, you don’t necessarily need to strain, and the kefir is ready to drink immediately.
How To Store Your Kefir Drink?
I recommend storing it in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.
What To Do With Your Kefir?
Drink it straight-up, or add it to smoothies, lassi or to smoothie bowls. You can also use it to make kefir yogurt if you like.
If you have used the grains, once strained, transfer them immediately in a new jar and repeat the whole process to make a new batch of kefir.
Similarly, if you have used the powder and want to make a new batch, just save 60ml from the kefir you have just prepared and repeat the process.
Where To Buy Grains or Powdered Starter Culture?
The easiest way to get your hands on kefir grains is finding a friend who already has a bunch of them.
If you don’t know anyone, you can check on online local communities or local Facebook groups.
You can also buy kefir grains online, they’re easily available on the most common online market places.
Kefir powdered starter cultures come in convenient sachets and are also available online.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
How To Make Homemade Kefir
- 250 ml fresh whole milk, I used a2 Milk™
- 1 tablespoon milk kefir grains or powder
- Start by placing the kefir grains or powder into the jar, then pour the milk in.
- Cover the jar with the lid, but do not close it all the way, to allow the kefir to “breath”. Alternatively, cover the jar with a cheesecloth and secure with a band. Allow the kefir to sit at room temperature (ideally between 19-24 degrees) for about 24 hours.
- Once the 24 hours have passed, gently stir the kefir. It's ok if it's a little too thick, once strained it will reach a thinner consistency. Using a strainer or kitchen cloth*, strain the prepared mixture into another jar, to separate the grains from the ready-to-drink kefir.
- *If you’re using the milk kefir powder, you don’t necessarily need to strain, and the kefir is ready to drink immediately.
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Drink kefir straight-up, or add it to smoothies, lassi or to smoothie bowls. You can also use it in place of yogurt/buttermilk/milk when baking cakes, muffins or pancakes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in June 2017 and updated with more info and a video recipe.