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  1. says

    I’m stopping over from Freaky Friday. You put together a great tutorial for those who are starting out making kefir!

    I recently launched a new real food blog carnival called Fill Those Jars Friday. I’d love to have you come stop by and share this on it.

    See you there!
    Mindy

  2. Nan Roberts says

    Shoot. I can’t tell my grains from the curds. Last night I decided it was time to just make a quart of kefir because evey time I did it with one cup of milk, there was a section of white something (curds, kefir grains?) floating on top of the whey, completely separated. SO I strained the white stuff, started over with a cup of milk. Anyway, I can’t tell them apart.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Nan!

      I strain my grains with a fine mesh sieve, causing the milk to be filtered through. I also use a spatula to move/separate some curds from the grains. Once I’ve gotten as much as I can, then I transfer to a new jar. If you find whey at the bottom, you’ve over-cultured the milk (which I do ALL THE TIME, and it’s no big deal). It just means your milk will be extra tangy. ;) Using more milk will help, or straining the grains sooner. In either case, grains are somewhat firm. They will not squish completely in your hands like a curd will.

      My suggestion would be to try a lesser culture time and strain so you can see what the grains look like without the curds getting in the way. Then when you know what they look like, over-culture like crazy! :)

  3. Melissa says

    This may seem like a silly question..(I have only bought kefir in the store) so steps 1-5 are just for preparing the kefir grains…and you pour the milk out. Then in step 5 after it has sat for 24 hours this is the milk/kefir (like what I buy) to be used??? And then you keep adding milk to the grains to keep them alive or store them in the fridge???
    Maybe once I try this it will seem less complicated!
    Thanks!

    • Tiffany says

      No question is silly :) Yes, #1-5 are to prepare the grains, give them ‘life’ so to speak. When you get them, they’re usually freeze-dried or frozen and are not active to culture anything. They need to be revived in order to properly culture. You can pour the milk out or use it in a smoothie or even cook with it but I wouldn’t drink it. It’ll be warm and may have a not-milk or not-kefir taste. Just my personal preference there. Once the grains are alive, and you’ve cultured milk for roughly 24 hours, you’ll have what you used to buy at the store. Strain out the grains and put them in new milk – they won’t survive alone. Either make more kefir on the counter, or keep the new milk w/grains in the fridge for a slow ferment.

      I’m sorry it sounds complicated – it really isn’t! The reviving period (day 1-5) is no different than culturing, except you’re not making kefir yet and you don’t drink the milk.

      Once the grains are ready, always keep them in milk. Either fermenting on the counter for 12-24 hours (depending on how warm your house is), or in the fridge for several days. Let me know if that doesn’t help Melissa!

  4. Heather Kramer says

    My main question is, can I use regular milk instead of organic? If we are fermenting them for possibly 2 weeks, using 1 c of milk a day, it seems like it could be expensive to get started. Also, how do you know when to actually save the strained milk after the 10 days or so of fermenting? I’m sorry I’m just confused.
    Thank you for all the hard work you put into this website to help us go through the stages. I have only heard of you in the last 4 days, but you are the 1st to actually help me understand meal planning as I never saw how to growing up. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, experience and faith.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Heather,

      Yes, you can use regular milk instead of organic. I would not recommend UHT milk though – I did that recently and damaged my grains (I’m on cycle 4 or 5 now to get them healthy again). Yes, it does seem expensive to start, but you can alleviate that by using that milk for what you’d ordinary use it for, i.e. baked goods, waffles, pancakes, etc. Just keep it in a separate jar in the fridge and note not to to drink it. ;) Another option is starting with only 1/3 or 1/2 cup of milk for days 1-3. They’ll likely revive just fine using less. You’ll notice the smell of the fermented milk to be a bit “off,” or tangy/sour. That’s when you can start using it as kefir. Actually, you can treat all of the milk as kefir from day 1, except don’t use it to ferment other items (like soaking grains or sourdough) until after day 10.

      You’re so sweet Heather! I’m glad we’ve found each other! :)

  5. Leiah says

    I received grains from a friend, didn’t realize how much money I saved. I am only a little scared now, because I have been using UHT milk. I hope I haven’t killed them. I live in Belgium and that is the norm here. I’ll have to go to a dairy to get some fresh stuff.

    You think what I have been drinking has been safe or kefir at all? It wasn’t rancid, but wasn’t delicious either.

    • Tiffany says

      Was the milk kinda tart, slightly sour? If so, that was kefir. UHT doesn’t make the best kefir, but you probably haven’t killed them. They won’t necessarily grow as fast or as large as those fed regular milk though. Given the choice, a dairy would be the better option. :)

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