kefir headers faq
milk kefir berries
kefir grains

Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk/water drink, originated in the North Caucasus. Kefir comes with a range of health benefits associated with probiotics, kefir contains many more strains of good bacteria than yogurt, and it colonises the digestive tract more comprehensively and for longer. The presence of these healthy bacteria in the digestive tract aids digestion, boosts immunity, and can ease the symptoms of IBS and many more ailments. The Kafir bacteria also produce lactic acid which soothes the gut lining. Kefir is rich in vitamin A, B2, B12, D, K, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Making it very good for your health and well being.

Milk Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) is a wonderfully delicious slightly carbonated fermented milk drink similar to yogurt (or buttermilk) that originated roughly 2000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains. It is one of the oldest milk ferments in existence. The word Kefir is derived from the Turkish word “Keif” describing a state of ‘feeling good’. It is milk fermented at room temperatures with kefir grains generally overnight for about 24 hours. It has many wonderful health benefits and is also generally tolerated well by the lactose intolerant.

Cold temperatures slow the kefir grains down putting them into a state of hibernation. It can be very hard on kefir grains to regularly be put into and then come out of a state of hibernation. It can disrupt the yeast/bacteria balance and may also make the kefir grains less efficient and reliable.

No plastic is preferred, stainless steel is acceptable. Avoid all other types of metal when working with kefir grains, as tey contain lactic acid which can leech the metals and damage the grains.

Milk that is “too clean,” such as ultra-pasteurised/UHT milk, or milk that has been heated by microwave, may be too sterile for the milk kefir grains to use as nourishment.

Snow lotus, Tibetan mushroom, Kefirs, Keefir, Kephir, Kewra, Talai, Mudu Kekiya, Búlgaros, The Grains of The Prophet Mohamed, The Drink of the Prophet, Tibetan Mushrooms, Tara, Yogurt Plant, Yogurt Mushroom, Kin-oko, yogoot-tane-oko (Japanese) Tibetanischer Pilz (German), Galodium (Romanian and/or Polish) and Kefyras (Lithuanian).

Most types of milk can be used successfully. Avoid ultra-pasteurised milk or almond milk for making milk kefir.

Most types of milk can be used successfully. Avoid ultra-pasteurised milk or almond milk for making milk kefir.

Almond milk is a problem. We have not found any of the kefir cultures to work well with almond milk

It’s loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible complete proteins, vitamins and minerals. Milk kefir is also generally suitable for the lactose intolerant. Kefir also supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some foods like yogurt can help, but they are not as potent, and do not contain the beneficial yeasts (just bacteria). Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast. Your internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has thus long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be antimutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. Folic acid (and B vitamins) increases as the length of the ferment increases. Some people let the strained kefir sit on the counter or the fridge another day to increase the folic acid and B vitamin content before drinking. Kefir may also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. As with most things we’ve personally found, food and health is too difficult to reduce to facts and statistics. While kefir is not a magic bullet for health, it’s believed kefir has a myriad of possible health benefits, and those will be individual for everyone. Some feel it helps them digest better, others get colds and flu’s less often, some get more energy, and some people feel nothing much in particular.

There is no need to rinse the grains unless they stop making kefir effectively (which can sometimes be caused by a buildup of yeast on the grains). If it becomes necessary to rinse the grains, use filtered water if possible to avoid chemical exposure.

No, kefir grains must be obtained. Kefir grains reproduce, but one cannot create the grains or have them spontaneously occur in milk. Raw milk traditionally was let to sit out (there were no refrigerators not too long ago!) which would turn to buttermilk. Raw milk contains naturally occurring bacteria and yeast, which will slowly ripen and convert milk to buttermilk. Pastuerised  milk is not capable of doing this since most of those natural bacteria and yeast are killed in the heating process. UHT milk is even more devoid of these. Kefir cannot be created or reproduced without obtaining real kefir grains to start with.

You can stir the kefir while it’s culturing but it’s not necessary, if you have a lot of grains stirring may reveal a bigger surface area.

No you don’t need to rinse them at all, but if you wish to rinse them, do it in fresh milk.

When you nudge the jar and the milk is set like a thin gel (vs watery like milk), it is mostly ready. Kefir ferments usually top to bottom, so if it still looks like runny milk at the bottom, leave it for a couple more hours.

It’s possible to ferment all forms of mammalian milk (mare, goat, sheep, cow, buffalo, camel etc). Some people with cancer have even experimented fermenting human milk as a medicinal therapy. You can also try to ferment other non-milk mediums such as coconut milk, coconut water (also called juice), soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. You can also convert them to be used in making water kefir with sugar and water or juice and water. In this case you use water kefir grains.

A distance of at least 4 feet between cultures. When being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids, there is no need to keep distance between them.

Milk kefir grains prefer to feed every 24-48 hours. It may be possible to leave them at room temperature for 3-4 days once in awhile. If leaving for extended period then refrigerate or freeze.

Yes it contains about 0.08% – 2% alcohol. With the normal amount being around .08 (for a 24-hour ferment). Kefir that is stored and ripened for a few of days will continue to increase in alcohol, up to 2-3% (when it is sealed tightly).

1. At room temperature (68° to 78°F): 1 to 2 days
2. In the refrigerator (40° to 45°F): 2 to 3 weeks
3. In the freezer (0° to 25°F): 1 to 2 months or longer (like ice cream)
4. Storage recommendation: Refrigerate

If cared for properly, milk kefir grains have an unlimited life span and can be used repeatedly to make kefir. Extreme heat is the only thing that will damage Kefir grains and starvation.

Kefir generally takes 24 hours to form. The exact amount of time will vary depending on environmental factors, most important is temperature.

The short answer is yes. Kefir grains need to be strained every 24 hours (or 48 at the max) and given fresh milk. If you or your grains would like to take a break, stick them in the fridge, refreshing them weekly with new milk. This can be done for a couple weeks, then they should be brought back out to room temperature. If you need a longer break, view our section on storage.

The milk and water kefir grains can be reused indefinitely.

It’s recommend using 1-2 teaspoons grains for culturing up to 4 cups of milk. Adjust the amount of grains to avoid over-culturing and to get the best flavour.

The milk will thicken and can have a tangy or sour aroma and flavour. Refrain from consuming anything that looks, smells, or tastes unpleasant.

Once the milk starts to thicken (similar to the consistency of buttermilk or heavy cream) and the aroma is pleasant, the kefir grains are making kefir.

Try water kefir. Water kefir grains contains no dairy and are grown in mineral/spring water and organic sugar.

Kefir grains can be made into a variety of delicious foods and can even be eaten alone.

Yes, milk kefir grains are reusable. Once a batch of milk kefir has finished culturing, simply remove the milk kefir grains and place them in fresh milk. String the process over again.

Water kefir contains fewer strains of bacteria and yeasts than milk kefir, but still far more than other cultured products like yogurt or buttermilk.

Kefir is a white to cream-coloured milk drink with a slightly fizzy, viscous consistency; a distinct sour smell; and a tart, creamy taste similar to liquid yogurt or buttermilk.

Generally speaking, powdered kefir starter has 7 to 9 strains depending on the particular brand of starter. Milk kefir grains and water kefir grains contain a long list of bacteria and yeast strains and subspecies, making kefir grains the more probiotic-rich culture for making kefir.

Allowing the kefir grains to remain in milk longer than 48 hours risks starving the kefir grains and potentially damaging them.

Most kefir grains encapsulate some of the carbon dioxide gas the yeasts give off while fermenting. Also, some grains have less density, and simply float.

Kefir doesn’t need light to culture properly, so a dark cupboard is fine, as is a lighted room. Don’t expose culturing kefir to direct sunlight.

Kefir and its grains are valuable for far more than just a beverage! It can be used to fertilize and nurture house plants, flowers, your lawn, or your garden. The bacteria and acidic nature can be very beneficial for plants. Did you know its essential to have bacteria in your dirt to convert nitrogen to an edible source for your plants? Kefir can also easily be made into cream cheese or other forms of cheese (such as making ricotta). Kefir serves as a great starter for breads and pizzas! Use it in place of a sourdough starter or yeast packet. Excess whey both in the past and present is also commonly incorporated into chicken feed to boost the nutrients (and not waste the whey) and pigs enjoy it as well (and so do many cats and dogs!). Whey can also be used in your hair as a clarifying conditioner (as can kefir). Whey, believe it or not, makes one of the best shaving lotions we have ever tried. It also serves as a nice ingredient in lip balms and lotions. Kefir can be used in place of yogurt, cream cheese or sour cream in many recipes. It can also be made into delicious ice pops. Whey can also be used in place of vinegar (often with a more beneficial affect) in many cases such as to soak grains, soften rice, add to soups and stocks (to help extract the nutrients from the bones) or use in place of some of the salt in making fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. Kefir whey also keeps far longer than the normal unfermented whey separated from milk. It also adds a delicious hearty flavor to sauces and gravies.

Kefir grains generally multiply, but sometimes they don’t. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, kefir grains can be used repeatedly to brew milk kefir or water kefir.