Here are the most frequently asked questions about kefir and the answers you want to know:
Table of Contents
- 1 Fermentation Time?
- 2 How do I know when the Kefir is ready?
- 3 What temperature should the milk be at the start?
- 4 Where do I leave the milk with Kefir?
- 5 What Milks can I use?
- 6 What kind of container do you recommend culturing Kefir in?
- 7 How much milk can one use with the Kefir Grains supplied by you?
- 8 Can I take too much Kefir?
- 9 How long does the culture live?
- 10 Normal Care & Operation
In general, the amount of time needed to complete the fermentation of kefir is determined by how active your grains are, the grains to milk (or other medium) ratio and temperature.
Kefir made with established kefir grains should be ready after a 24 hour fermentation. Although kefir can also be fermented for longer than this, and may also depend on how you like your kefir. The longer you leave kefir to ferment the more sour it becomes. For eliminating lactose levels you may need to ferment your kefir for about 36 hours. For those who have bought “fresh” kefir grains, there may be a recovery time that may take 2 – 7 days when using these fresh grains, which have travelled for a length of time. Your first few batches of kefir may take more than 24 hours to complete the fermentation, which is quite normal. But with ongoing batches the grains will become more and more active.
Kefir is ready when all the milk has fully coagulated.
How do I know when the Kefir is ready?
The Kefir is ready when it is reached a soft set condition. At this point refrigeration or immediate use will stop further fermentation into a curds and whey separation. If seperation does occur, drain this product through a sieve and refrigerate the now soft creamy like cheese. This cheese is Quark and is delicious with herbs, salt and pepper or with jam on croissants or toast.
Note: The Kefir will vary, experiment until you find the consistency you like.
What temperature should the milk be at the start?
Cold or at room temperature. It is not necessary to warm the milk, unless you want to speed up the process or live in a very cold climate. Warming the milk may change the taste. Do not use a microwave to warm the milk, as this will interfere with the Kefir production.
Where do I leave the milk with Kefir?
Generally in the kitchen at room temperature, although in colder regions the container of milk being cultured may need to be kept in a warmer place such as by the fireplace or in a warming cupboard.
Dairy milk cultures in 24 hours at temperatures 65º-75º F (20º-30ºC). Other milks may do faster or slower depending on what temperature your milk is to begin with.
What Milks can I use?
Kefir grains will work with most milks. Cow, goat, soy, yak, sheep, low fat, flavoured, just try them out! (UHT will not work). The fresher the milk the better the taste. Do not microwave the milk.
What kind of container do you recommend culturing Kefir in?
Ceramic containers seem to make the best tasting Kefir. Glass and plastic can be used also but do not place container in direct sunlight.
How much milk can one use with the Kefir Grains supplied by you?
- We recommend making one litre a day to consume.
- The grains supplied should be started with 300ml to kick start the grains.
- The larger amount of milk used with our Kefir grains the longer it may take to set.
- If too much milk is used it may go off before it ferments. If this happens wash the grains
well and start again, using less milk.
Can I take too much Kefir?
You can take too much of anything. We are all individuals and have to find out our own requirements. What is a healthy dosage for one person can be harmful for another. Negative effects of Kefir intake are not known, however, people with an intolerance to lactose should start with very small dosages like a teaspoon at a time. Kefir grows well in soy milk so lactose intolerant people can use lactose free soy milk to make Kefir. Use common sense and watch your body’s reaction is the best advice I can give you.
How long does the culture live?
The grains or plant live, with proper care as long as their owners. Kefir cultures reproduce themselves and do not know a physical death.
Normal Care & Operation
- Place Kefir grains in container and fill with your choice of milk you wish to make into Kefir.
We recommend making one litre (1½ pints) each time, though quantities of up to 2 litres is possible.
- Wait 24 hours or until the milk is soft set, then refrigerate.
- Clean the Kefir grains daily by placing them in a sieve then allow medium flow of water to wash through the grains.
- Repeat Steps 1 to 3.