Milk Kefir Grains Instructions
How to Make Milk Kefir From Grains
Please read entirely before beginning.
Release the grains from the package and begin ASAP.
Please note that there is a recovery period for grains that have traveled. Do not be discouraged by initial brews that are not thick. If you follow the below instructions you will get nice thick kefir in a short time. BE SURE and read the HOW TO STRAIN instructions as well.
For FIRST BREWS, you want to:
*Use only 1 cup milk
*Stir often – 3-4 times a day at least
*Wait a full 48 hours
*Strain and repeat – every 48 hours
****After about 3 brews of this (more if you are an international customer) you should be getting nice thick kefir, wherein you can now make larger batches. This is a foolproof method to revive your grains from travel. ****
These recovery instructions must be repeated UNTIL you are getting satisfactory kefir. Do NOT increase the milk until this happens. This will halt the recovery process.
Recovery batches may still be consumed although they usually are not very palatable. In order not to waste milk you can add them to smoothies to mask the flavor.
The instructions for kefir are really quite simple. Drain out grains from their package (or you can use the liquid in the package as well) and place them in a glass jar. You can add some milk to the bag and shake a little to get the smaller grains out. Use cold milk straight from the fridge – no need to heat or boil the milk first. You can use raw milk, organic milk, non organic, it does not matter as far as having success in producing kefir. We use raw organic milk.
Pour milk over the grains (1 c. for first brews as mentioned above) and then cover with a paper towel or coffee filter and a rubber band, to secure. This will keep out fruit flies, but also give the brew enough air. You do not want to use cheesecloth as bugs can get in. All you do is just sit it on the counter out of direct sunlight for 18-48 hours. (48 hours for your first recovery brews above remember) Stirring midway is fine, and even helpful to be able to view the progress of the brew. YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO STIR A LOT FOR THE INITIAL BREWS TO HELP THEM RECOVER FROM TRAVEL. It is best not to use any metal utensil. PLEASE BE ADVISED that in the cooler months the brew may take up to 2 days.
How will you know that the kefir is done? After you are finished with the recovery brews mentioned above, where you change the milk every 48 hours no matter what, you will be looking for thick kefir to indicate it is finished. Sometimes this will also amount to SEPARATING WITH WHEY ON THE BOTTOM AND THICK KEFIR ON TOP. This is GOOD and NORMAL and not curdled milk. Kefir does this naturally so please be advised that it is normal. See below on how to strain kefir like this.
After you are getting nice thick kefir with your recovery brews, you can THEN increase the milk to 2-4 cups milk. And then as your grains grow, you can use even more milk.
HOW TO STRAIN YOUR KEFIR
You must mix up the brew very well before attempting to strain. The grains will be in the thick part of the kefir that is on top of any whey, if it has separated. It is very hard to pick out kefir grains, so we advise a Fine Mesh Strainer like the ones we sell for this purpose. While straining, you want to mix what you are straining constantly. Mix IN the strainer, in circles, until all you have left is grains in the strainer and thick kefir in your bowl. Often the kefir will just sit in the strainer since it is so thick, so this mixing is necessary in order to push the thick kefir through the strainer. You will not harm your grains with vigorous stirring.
We sell the perfect set of hard to find Strainers in our store if you are interested – they will be gentle on your grains, and make sure you do not lose any grains while straining, as they are made with very fine plastic mesh. People love these fine mesh strainers, as they strain the kefir so nicely and help mix the whey back in through the straining, thus imparting a wonderful smooth texture to the kefir. We have found they are essential.
Use the grains to start another batch. Do not rinse the grains.
How to store Kefir Grains
If you want to take a break or are going on vacation, just store the grains in an airtight glass container in some milk in the fridge. As long as it is fresh milk they will survive for two weeks or more in this. If you are home though, it is best to change out the milk weekly.
Additional Ideas for Kefir
*You can sweeten with honey or add vanilla to make it less tart, but be sure and do this AFTER removing the grains. We use our homemade Vanilla Extract that we sell in our store.
*Another way to make it more palatable is to use the kefir to make smoothies! Kids love it! We love the kefir straight, but for picky palates, just mix some kefir, bananas, and berries in a blender and blend till smooth. You can create endless combinations with smoothies!
*COCONUT MILK kefir – use half dairy and half coconut milk as the grains need dairy to feed on and to continue to grow. Or if you do not want to add the dairy, you can just rest the grains in some dairy between your coconut milk batches, for them to feed on dairy. This is the only way to brew with coconut milk and also keep the grains alive.
*SOY kefir – you can use soy, but the grains need dairy to survive, so you would want to alternate batches, or at least let them rest in some milk for a day, between soy batches. The same as with coconut kefir.
Using alternative milks may affect the growth of the grains, and even cease growth, so be aware of that.
Replacement Policy: We will replace any culture that has not proved viable upon receipt to make a successful first culturing per our instructions. If a first batch is successful, this is indication of a viable culture. We are here to help troubleshoot during your culturing if you have any concerns so please email us BEFORE discarding any cultures, as we cannot replace a culture that we have not been able to determine viability through troubleshooting with you. Again, email WHILE you are culturing, as 99% of the time we are able to help with a successful batch, if the cultures are still on hand. Discarding the culture before contacting us for help will nullify the exchange/refund policy. We are here to help you have successful kefir! Thanks so much.
**BUYBACK FOR YOUR EXTRA GRAINS - PLEASE CONTACT US CONCERNING OUR BUY BACK POLICY WHEN YOU COLLECT EXTRA GRAINS YOU DO NOT NEED. WE OFFER CASH OR STORE CREDIT UNDER CONDITIONS WE WILL SPECIFY UPON INQUIRY. THANK YOU!**
Feel free to contact us with any questions along the way.