Milk Kefir Recipe: Making This Healthy Fermented Probiotic Drink Recipe at Home Is Super Easy by Margaret Steck
Milk kefir is a fermented probiotic beverage that has been used for centuries by tribes living in the North Caucasus mountains in Russia, a region known for its people to have good health and longevity. It was introduced to the world by Russian immunologist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Illya Illyich Metchnikoff, who studied the benefits of kefir as it related to well-being and longevity.
Today, kefir is still used widely in Eastern Europe for its healthful benefits and is sold worldwide. You can find flavored kefir in your supermarket's dairy aisle, but making it at home is far more economical and the kefir is fresh and has a higher number of cultures and probiotics than store bought.
Kefir "grains" aren't actually grains but clusters of tiny living organisms that are healthy bacteria. Milk kefir is almost like a pourable yogurt in that it's creamy and tangy, but kefir is loaded with way more probiotics and it's so easy to make. You'll be hooked!
Prep Time: 16 to 24 hours
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 16 to 24 hours
- kefir grains
- whole milk
- frozen fruit (optional)
- glass jar (you can use a mason jar with a plastic lid, but I bought a Kefir glass jar that has a strainer on top)
- plastic slotted spoon
- small plastic strainer (one can fit on the mouth of your glass jar)
- unbleached coffee filters
- elastic bands (to secure the coffee filters over the mouth of the jars)
Here's how to make it:
- Once you receive your kefir grains in the mail, place them in your clean glass jar, pour 1 cup of whole milk over them and close the jar with the plastic lid. Let it sit on the counter for 24 to 36 hours, or in a warm spot (kefir does well in rooms that are around 70 degrees F). The first time you use the grains, it takes a little longer to wake them up to ferment. Once they are fully functional, your fermentation time going forward can be anywhere from 16 to 24 hours.
- Once the time is up, give the mixture a little shake and open the lid and strain the kefir into another glass container. The strainer will catch the kefir grains that you will use again to make more kefir. Thoroughly clean your first jar with soap and water and dry it. Place the kefir grains back into the glass jar and pour another 1 cup of cold, fresh milk on top to start the process over again.
- The liquid in the second glass jar is kefir, but you'll want to do a second fermentation because it may taste too sour at first. Plus, you can also take a few pieces of frozen fruit and add it in the jar to enhance the flavor. Take a coffee filter and secure it over the mouth of the jar and let that sit for 8 hours. Once that time is up, you can put a lid on the jar, give it a little shake and set it in the fridge to use. For smoothies, I use a cup of my kefir in place of Greek yogurt.
- You can use the grains over and over, so long as you keeping feeding it with milk. You'll notice, too, that your grains will multiply and you will have to use more milk to feed them, or you can divide them up and give some away to your friends. Either way, you will be able to enjoy milk kefir every day!
Notes: You can buy kefir grains online from a reputable source. I bought mine from fusionteas.com. The company provides a free e-book with purchase.
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