Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Kefir

A few months ago, I attempted to transition my baby to cow's milk.
This did not well.
Levi really wants nothing to do with  "moo milk".  Luckily, he loves plain yogurt, so he was getting plenty of goodness from that, but I wanted Levi to try something new, kefir.  Kefir is another cultured dairy product full of probiotics. It is like a drinkable yogurt, tangy and a little sweet. I loved it while pregnant and figured little man would too. Since we are hooked on other Nancy's dairy products I went to Nancy's for kefir. Blueberry kefir!
Levi gobbled it up. Sadly, I realized that spending nearly $5 a quart was gonna make us broke, but I didn't want to give up on our new found culinary treasure. So, I read up on making kefir and learned it is a pretty simple process - all I needed was the kefir grains. Again I turned to a local shop, Mr. Green Beans, for the grains. (This shop has everything you would need for yogurt, cheese, soaps and especially coffee roasting. Love the place!)

Turns out kefir is really, really easy to make. And delicious! And the best part, you can make it with skim or whole milk. Levi drinks the whole milk and I use to skim (which is thick and rich) for smoothies, drinking or in cooking.

This isn't really a recipe, just some pics to show what I do. I make about 3 - 4 pints a week. Each batch takes MAYBE 5 minutes of hands-on time. I am saving money, even buying organic milks.

Have you ever had kefir? Have you ever made it?

These are the grains right out of the package. It took about 2 weeks before they really kicked it into kefir making gear. 
I add milk, stir, and then cover with a coffee filter and a canning ring. I leave it on the counter overnight and then keep in the fridge for another 12-24 hours. 
I strain it through a tea strainer. You have to catch the kefir grains to add to the next batch. Rumor has it they will multiply over time and I will have some to share! 

Thick, tangy, yummy kefir! I add about a teaspoon of jam to each pint to give it a fruit flavor.

Then add the kefir grains to a clean pint jar, add fresh milk, cover and the process begins again.


  1. Hi! I have been making kefir from grains for years. It does multiply; I have over a cup right now and thankfully a neighbor came and took some. I love kefir because it is so much less fussy to make than yogurt. No need to preheat the milk, and no need to keep the temperature at a constant low heat while it ferments.

    That being said, there is some conflict over whether milk is good for babies (and adults!) once they have been weaned. Check out for more info from scientific research articles about dairy. I am currently reading the book by Dr. Leila Denmark, pediatrician who just passed away at 114 years, 60 days. She worked until she was 101! She eschewed sugar and dairy, after viewing the effects on bone marrow of milk fed to animals after they had been weaned. Not trying to be dogmatic, just sharing an idea to think about. I wonder if fermented products like kefir and yogurt are better than plain dairy? Certainly the people of the Caucasus lived long, healthy lives and ate yogurt daily.

    Love your blog and thanks for the many great recipe ideas. Appreciate your taking the time to share what you are trying.

  2. Thanks for the link and the information about dairy. I am a huge dairy (especially cultured dairy) but know many people (including my husband) who can't tolerate it. I agree that making kefir is so much easier then yogurt! And I love that it has the same tanginess.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Oh, interesting! I've never tried kefir before, but I might wait until I get the hang of making yogurt to try something new that I'd need to make at home (price concerns over here too ;) ).

  4. Kefir is WAY easier then yogurt! Just so you know... :)

  5. I have yogurt fermenting right now but would love something easier. Wonder if I can score some grains locally. Hmmmmm. Very timely with it being milk season!