Instructions for making Milk Kefir from dehydrated kefir Culture

Milk Kefir is a cultured milk beverage and furthermore it is a SCOBY (Symbiotic community of bacteria and yeasts). It is well known for its excellent probiotic content. 

Before you get started

  • Your packet contains dehydrated milk kefir grains in a small amount of milk powder. Store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • If you handle it with care it will outlive you!
  • Your kefir will grow and you’ll need to subdivide it when it reaches the size of a pecan nut. If you allow the kefir to become too big your kefir will start tasting very tart and stringent
  • The speed of culturing is dependent on the size or amount of the milk kefir grains used, the temperature at which it cultures and the amount of milk you want to culture
  • A pea-sized kefir grain will culture a 1 litre milk in approximately 48 hours if kept at 25°C; The colder the temperature especially in winter, the longer it will take to culture
  • More or bigger kefir grains will culture a batch quicker
  • If you want to culture more milk then it will take longer
  • Avoid handling the grains with your hands. Non- reactive utensils should be used such as sterilised plastic, wood or stainless steel
  • Avoid aluminium utensils at all costs

Instructions for making Milk Kefir

NB: For the very first few batches your dehydrated milk kefir grains will not culture they will only start to rehydrate. Once they are hydrated they will start to culture. You can use the milk you soak them in but you may prefer to throw it out as it won’t be very fresh or fully cultured

  • Transfer the kefir grains into a glass jar/fermentation vessel and add 1 cup of fresh milk
  • Cover the top of the glass jar/fermentation vessel with either an airlock (preferred) or with a muslin cloth or paper towel secured by a rubber band
  • Place in a warm spot, 20°C – 30°C, to culture
  • Culture until milk is slightly thickened and aroma is pleasant - Generally 24 – 48 hours
  • After culturing is complete, separate the kefir grains from the finished kefir
  • Place the kefir grains in a new batch of milk
  • Store the finished kefir in the refrigerator
  • Finished kefir will remain palatable if kept in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Additional Tips 

  • For best results use fresh full cream organic or pasteurised goat’s or cow’s milk
  • Low fat milk may also be used
  • Avoid using ultra pasteurised or UHT milk
  • Rice, soya or coconut milk may also be used but alternate every second batch with goat’s or cow’s milk otherwise your kefir will die as kefir feeds on the lactose in milk
  • If you want to take a break from making kefir you can pour fresh milk onto the kefir grain/s and put it in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 weeks
  • If you intend to stop making kefir for longer than 3 weeks, ask somebody to tend your kefir grains
  • Fermented foods have a sour but clean aroma and flavour. Never consume anything that smells or tastes unpleasant

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