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How To Make Milk Kefir At Home - A Step By Step Guide For Beginners

Welcome to Milk Kefir 101:

If you're here because you recently purchased some fresh milk kefir grains then congratulations and welcome. You will soon be well on your way to making a delicious and wholesome batch milk kefir every single day from now until eternity if you so choose! So, let's get started!

What is is milk kefir?

Milk kefir is a yogurt-type drink that contains beneficial probiotics. It has a slightly tangy flavor that's both delicious and nutritious!

Essential Supplies Needed To Make Milk Kefir:

1. Milk kefir grains
2. 3 clean glass jars - Wide mouth pickle jars and wide mouth mason jars work perfectly for this
3. A slotted plastic spoon with fairly wide slots. I love this one, it works perfectly for making milk kefir. CLICK HERE to check it out. (Amazon affiliate link)
4. A clean cloth or paper towel
5. A rubber band
6. Fresh whole milk (highly recommended) or 2% milk.

* It is imperative that you never use metal or stainless steel bowls, jars, spoons, or strainers when making kefir. Metal should never come in contact with your kefir grains as it can damage, weaken, or even kill them.

** I would recommend only using whole milk or 2% milk to make milk kefir. 1% or skim milk might work but it also might not provide enough nutrition to sustain your milk kefir grains and they may end up becoming sick or dying due to a lack of food. Use these types of milk at your own risk. Also, make sure the milk is not ultra pasteurised. Regular pasteurised milk is fine though.


How do I make milk kefir? 

Milk kefir is made by allowing milk kefir grains to sit in fresh milk at room temperature for 24 hours time. At the end of that time you will have a creamy, thick cultured beverage to drink or add to smoothies. Now that you have an idea, I will take you through the step by step process.

1. Wash and dry your hands. Make sure your jar and spoon are also clean and dry.

2. Gently drop your kefir grains into the bottom of your jar.

3. Add 1 cup of fresh whole milk (or 2% if you wish).

4. Gently swirl the milk around in the jar so that the kefir grains and the milk get mixed up a little bit.

5. Cover the jar with a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel and affix it with a rubber band around the neck of the jar. This will allow the kefir to breathe and keep bugs and dust out!

6. Leave the jar sitting on your counter at room temperature (72ish degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours. 

* Keep the jar away from heat sources or drafts.

** Keep the jar away from other culturing or fermenting foods like kombucha, yogurt, sour dough starter, etc.

*** Keep the jar away from your garbage can and compost bin.

7. After 24 hours slightly tip your jar and see if the milk kefir has turned thick, It should almost be the consistency of yogurt. 

*If your kefir is still completely liquid after 24 hours, you may need to wait another 12 hours and check it again. Sometimes new milk kefir grains need a little bit of extra time and TLC in their new home to fully activate. If after an additional 12 hours your kefir is still liquid, strain out your grains and try again with a fresh cup of milk for 24 hours. It may take 2-3 days for the grains to start working right.

8. Smell your kefir, it should smell tangy like plain yogurt or sour cream. 

*If for some reason your kefir smells rotten, strain out the kefir grains and rinse them thoroughly in non-chlorinated water. Place them into a clean jar and try again. Throw away the rotten milk. Milk kefir should never smell rotten, it should smell like plain yogurt. If in doubt, throw it out!

9. Take a clean jar and place your slotted spoon over top. Gently pour your kefir into the clean jar, the slotted spoon will catch the kefir grains. Once you have strained your kefir, it's ready to be drank, added to smoothies, or refrigerated to use later.

10. Place your kefir grains in a clean jar, add 1-cup of fresh milk and lightly swirl the grains and milk around in the jar. Cover the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel and affix it with a rubber band around the neck. Leave your jar on the counter for 24 hours to make some more kefir. You can keep this process going indefinitely. Enjoy!

How do I take a break from making milk kefir?

If you would like to take a short break (1-2 weeks) from making milk kefir, you can place your grains in a jar with 2-4 cups of fresh milk and cover with a clean cloth affixed with a rubber band. Place the jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. This is a great way to take care of your grains when you are on vacation.

If you want to take a longer break, check out this great resource from Cultures For Health by clicking HERE. They have some great long-term storage solutions for milk kefir grains.

Help, my milk kefir grains are growing and now I have too many, what do I do?

If you have too many milk kefir grains, you can gift them to friends or you can store them for use down the road. I think it's always a great idea to have some milk kefir grains in long-term storage in case something happens and your milk kefir grains become sick or die.

Check out this great resource from Cultures For Health by clicking HERE. It will teach you how you can safely store your extra milk kefir grains for up to 6-months!



CLICK HERE for a great troubleshooting guide that will help you solve all of your milk kefir making dilemmas.

If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to send me a message. Thank you for stopping by!