Kefir is yoghurt’s low-maintenance, tarty cousin. She’s got a gutsy attitude and is addictively refreshing among a sea of shiny, clean eating accessories. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be her year.
When can you meet? Today! Find kefir grains in the refrigerated section at your local health store or trendy café. We got ours from The Hopsack in Dublin 6. Failing that, a quick Tweet thankfully sorts out most bourgeois problems in Ireland. Kefir grains look very similar to cooked rice pudding. Nothing too freaky, I promise.
The grains burp and feed on whole milk, gobbling up the natural milk sugars and lactose. All those gorgeous good bacteria multiply faster than grass through a goose. What you’re left with is a funky ferment more potent than natural yoghurt.
Use organic milk, raw milk, goat’s milk, even coconut milk. I drink kefir straight up on ice, but yogi types like to flavour their kefir with second ferments using honey and vanilla pods. Kefir is also really great with spicy curries, to help your tastebuds and mascara survive the heat. It makes a rather brilliant marinade for meat, replaces buttermilk in baking recipes, and sings with soft cheese as a last minute mash-up for spreads.
2-3 tablespoons milk kefir grains
500ml full fat organic milk (goat’s, cow’s, nut milk)
1 Using a clean mason jar or 500ml glass bottle, pop the kefir grains in with your preferred type of milk.
2 Cover with kitchen paper, secure with a band, and leave on your kitchen counter 24-36 hours to ferment.
3 When the desired tang is achieved, remove the kefir grains with a plastic sieve and pop the live grains into fresh milk to start the process all over again. You’ll know the grains have doen their work when you see the milk split a little.
The fresh kefir can be refrigerated or guzzled straight away to pimp your flora.
If you aren’t reusing the kefir grains straight away, they can be stored in a little whole milk for 1 week in the fridge. The milk be will perfectly good to use – the chilled temperature merely slows down the fermentation process. It’s okay to keep extra kefir grains in the freezer too.
One final point – if you are using plant milk, the kefir grains tend to benefit from a little cow’s milk every 4 or 5 batches of kefir-making. This is because the kefir grains like lactose as a source of go go juice.
Taking the hell out of healthy.
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Wonderful, thank you!
If one is short on time, what do you think of store versions? Do they still offer health benefits?
Can you give Kefir to small children (eg six yrs) with regard to its alcohol content?
There’s some great store bought ones. Each has their own unique twang! I find my 6 year old won’t take it – too sour and fizzy. Doh!
Thanks so much for this guide on how to make kefir at home! I think it is a great thing for people to have a resource in which they can make their own healthy foods. Can’t wait to try making this at home!