It only takes 5 minutes every morning.
This summer I had pneumonia. It was my first time being seriously sick and also the first time that I had to endure an extended stay in the hospital. They pumped me full of antibiotics for six days. Guess what. It completely destroyed all the good bacteria in my gut. The nurses were wonderful and were sure to remind me to get on a regular probiotic routine as soon as I was done with my course of antibiotics.
Luckily, even before I got sick I drank kefir grains every day. Milk kefir is super good for you and is a wonderful way to get your daily supply of probiotics. It is certainly an acquired taste and you might want to try some from a local health food store before you try making your own.
Kefir is a fermented milk that has the consistency of liquid yogurt. It has a slightly tart taste and can be made with cow, goat, sheep or milk – plus soy, coconut, or rice milk. Almond milk is the only one I’ve found that you cannot successfully culture.
I thought I would share my daily kefir grain routine so you can see how easy it is to incorporate into your life.
Gather Simple Kitchen Supplies
Once you have the grains there really isn’t much to the process. You probably have the equipment in your kitchen already. When culturing and straining kefir grains you should never use metal. Some people have success with stainless steel, but I don’t use it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- milk kefir grains.
- milk to culture the grains. I use 2% but you can use any kind of milk you like.
- a plastic strainer with small enough mesh to trap the grains.
- a canning funnel for ease when straining.
- a glass canning jar to hold the grains and milk while culturing.
- a coffee filter or other tight weave piece of fabric.
- a canning lid or rubber band to keep the jar cover in place.
- a plastic spatula to help separate the grains from the cultured milk.
- another glass jar to hold the cultured milk once it is ready.
To begin the process place the grains to a glass canning jar, add the milk, and cover the jar with a piece of cloth or coffee filter. Use a jar band or rubber band to hold it in place.
That;s it, set it on the counter until tomorrow and let it do its stuff.
Processing Cultured Kefir Milk
After 12 to 24 hours the milk will have thickened and take on a tangy taste. You can tell that it’s ready for the next step when the whey begins to separate from the milk solids. Some people do not let it get to this stage, and process after 12 hours. I just don’t want to mess with it more than once a day.
Get your supplies ready and begin to strain the fermented kefir grains.
Take the clean glass canning jar and place the canning funnel in the neck.
Add the strainer over the top of the canning funnel. I’ve found that this traps most of the milk and keeps it running down the side of the jar. This can be a messy process and there really is no way to stop it completely, so I place a napkin below the jar to catch any mess it might make.
Next use the plastic spatula to move the grains and help strain the milk into the jar. It separates fairly quick.
Once you have finished the process, place the strained grains into a fresh glass jar and add fresh milk. Place it on the counter with a coffee filter and band on the top. It will culture and be ready for the process again tomorrow.
You’ll find that happy kefir grains begin to multiply and what was once half a cup become a full cup of grains. You can either increase the amount of milk being used or find another use for them. Try one of these posts for ideas:
Finally, place the cultured milk in the refrigerator. We use ours in a daily kefir grain probiotic smoothy so it doesn’t stay around long. Some people work their way up to several quarts of cultured milk. I make only as much as we can drink in one day.
This process takes longer for me to describe than it will for you to do. It really does take only 5 minutes for my daily kefir grain routine and to have cultured milk each day. Will you introduce this healthy probiotic into your food storage routine?
You can find Milk Kefir Grains at Amazon