How to make Milk Kefir

In a nutshell, we’re going to use your newly acquired kefir grains to ferment some milk and make kefir. When it’s done (read thickened or coagulated)  you are going to strain the grains out so you can use them with some fresh milk to make more kefir. In the meantime you can eat/drink the kefir you have made. Simples, right?  Unless you are my husband who despite having a phD can’t seem to grasp what to keep and what to throw away.

Apart from basic kitchen hygiene, nothing about making kefir is critical. There can be variation in how many grains you use, how much milk you use, what type of container you use, which milk or how set it is when you stop, what you flavour it with and how you eat it.  But too much choice can make things complicated, so I hope these simple step-by-step instructions will get you started.

Scroll down or click on the links for more detail on each point.

NOTE If your kefir grains are sitting in a jar of fermented and thickened milk, start with day 2. If they are in a packet or in fresh milk start with day 1. If you’re not sure, start with day 1.

You will need:

Day 1

  • A thumb nail sized lump of Kefir grains
  • 1 500 ml kilner jar with gasket for fermenting
  • 1 pint of milk.

Day 2

  • 1 spoon
  • 1 sieve
  • 1 storage container for your strained kefir that the sieve fits over ( i.e. a large jar with lid, plastic tub etc..)
  • Optional – another 500 ml kilner jar

Ensure your equipment, hands and work surface are clean and free from possible contamination by raw animal, pet or grubby vegetable matter. Work smartly to minimise the chance of uninvited air borne microbes joining the party.

Method Day 1

  • Place the kefir grains in the kilner jar
  • Add approx a pint of milk, leaving about 2 cm head room
  • Close the lid
  • Leave the jar on the worktop for approx. 18 hours to ferment.   Kefir has formed when the milk has thickened (and may have separated, quite normal).

Method Day 2

  • Assemble the sieve over your chosen kefir storage container.
  • Open the kilner jar and tip all (if it fits)/some of the contents into the sieve.
  • If it’s very thick, you’ll need to stir the kefir in the sieve with a spoon to separate it from the kefir grains ( you won’t damage them).
  • When the kefir has all strained into your container, use the spoon to transfer the grains from sieve straight to another kilner jar ( if you don’t have another, quickly wash your kilner jar in hot water; soap optional and rinse well) and continue with Day 1 instructions.

Cover your strained kefir container with a lid or cling film. It’s now ready to use.