Kefir's a fermented yogurt drink - similar to a drinkable yogurt, originating from the north Caucasus Mountains. It's one of those things where you think it's all complicated and beyond making at home (or at least I did) until I actually gave it a try. Then I realized - yes, it is a complex process. But it's also totally doable at home. Reason being - you're not the one making the kefir, you just combine milk and kefir grains and then let the kefir grains do the work! No worries if you're on a grain-free diet either. Kefir grains aren't grains in the traditional sense. Instead, they're a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a symbiotic culture (or SCOBY). These grains resemble cauliflower, ranging in color from white to yellowish. During fermentation, the kefir grains break down the components in milk, making it more tolerable and easily digestible.
Comparing making yogurt at home to making kefir at home, I'd definitely say kefir's much easier. You're not worried about maintaining any particular temperature (aside from ambient), don't need to heat the milk, or any other complicated steps. Simply mix the kefir grains and milk, then allow the grains to do their thing!
|milk||I like to use whole milk.|
|1. Gather all materials.|
|2. Combine all materials. I like to use a glass jar, but anything non-reactive will work.|
|3. Allow kefir grains to do work. I just cover the top with a cloth and let the jar sit at room temperature for about 24 hours. Usually at that point, you will be able to see some whey at the bottom of the jar. You can taste the kefir throughout the fermentation process to determine how tart you like it.|
|4. Pour the jar into a strainer. I like to press on the kefir grains a bit to get more kefir out. After straining, I will return the kefir grains to the jar and add more milk.|
|5. (optional) Sometimes, we do a secondary fermentation since we find it gives the kefir a better flavor. I'll add some fruit so the kefir will take on some of those flavors. Another option is to make a smoothie. Or you could, of course, also drink it straight. :)|
|6. (optional) Sometimes we add in some chia seeds too. I'd recommend adding chia seeds after the secondary fermentation if you're doing one since they tend to taste quite bitter if you let them go through the secondary fermentation.|