DIY Kefir FAQ
Real Food for Health, Roots, Peace and Community
Where can I buy kefir grains?
How do you refresh dried kefir grains?
To refresh the grains simply put into a glass jar (preferably with a plastic lid) and add about 1/2 – 3/4 c of milk. Let the jar sit 24 hours at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Gently strain out the grains and discard the thin fluid. Repeat this process for about 3 days or until the strained fluid becomes thick and rich. Then you can drink the kefir and add more milk to create larger amounts of kefir (use 1 cup milk for example and slowly increase to your preferred amount).
How long do you ferment it?
This depends on how you like it. If you want it more sour leave it longer or in a warmer place or add more grains. The culture I send you will keep growing more kefir grains so once it becomes too strong or ferments too fast for you, remove some of the grains and give them to a friend or rinse them in filtered water and let them sit out on a plate for a few days until they dry (or dehydrate them if you have a dehydrator)
How can I store my kefir grains if I am going away?
I recommend growing your kefir grains in dairy milk (goat or cow) until the grains have doubled in size. Then take out half the grains and rinse them in filtered water. Drain and place on a plate for about 3 to 5 days until they are completely dried. Keep these dried grains in a glass jar in your fridge. They will keep at least two years like this and will provide a back-up if anything happens to your culture.
If you are just going away for up to 10 days all you need to do is strain your grains, add more milk (1/2 cup or so) and place in the fridge.
How much do you make at a time?
This will depend on how many people you have at home. I suggest making enough for about 1/2 c for each person and this can increase to 1 c per person taking 1/2 c twice a day.
How do you store it? And for how long?
When you are going away, the kefir grains can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days (people have stored it for longer but this is the recommended time). Just strain the grains, add fresh milk and put in the fridge. After the grains have been stored for a while they will take a couple days to get full strength so it is important to strain them and add fresh milk every day to revive them. Other good ways to store the grains is to dry some out and just keep them in a air-tight jar in the fridge. They keep this way for 2 years. I have also frozen them and they keep that way too. Just add a small amount of milk when freezing.
The liquid kefir is best drunk daily but it will keep in the fridge for a week as well.
How much should I drink daily? How about my children?
I would start with low amounts 1 – 2 T and increase. I have found 1/2 c once or twice a day is plenty for kids and adults. Once your body is adjusted to the kefir you can drink more. I have found when my gut is not used to kefir that if I suddenly drink it on an empty stomach I will get diarreaha quite quickly. I usually drink it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It is also important to remember to start slowly as it could cause a die-off of unfriendly microbes in the first week of using it that may cause toxic symptoms (herxihimer reaction).
Do the kefir grains grow?
Yes these kefir grains are very vibrant and will grow. If you kefir is becoming to sour for your taste and the time you are fermenting it and the temperature has remained constant this is a good time to remove some grains. If your kefir culture begins to separate into curds and whey this is a sign that you need to remove some kefir grains from your culture.
Are the grains you use organic?
The question of organic grains depends on the milk used. I use raw, grass-fed milk for my kefir. If I can’t access that I use organic pasteurized milk so I would say they are better than organic.
Why do you only sell dried kefir grains?
I have found Canada Post not as reliable as necessary to ship fresh grains, and don’t want to risk destroying the culture in the post. Shipping dried kefir grains also keeps the cost of shipping down.
Is lowfat Kefir made with lowfat milk or are the grains somehow low fat?
The amount of fat in your kefir depends on the type of milk used. Low fat milk will make low fat kefir, but I recommend using full fat milk.
Can you make kefir with other types of milk?
You can also use coconut milk, almond milk and other types of milk to make kefir with. But the culture may loose potency over time so it is best to refresh your dried culture with dairy milk and to grow a backup culture (see above) if you are planning to use another type of milk.
Have you ever made coconut Kefir?
Yes coconut milk kefir is delicious, but see above. I have also used dairy kefir grains to make coconut water kefir which I also like better than coconut water kefir made with water kefir grains. If you want to make coconut water kefir with your dairy grains be sure you save some of the grains as after about two months it is a good idea to start using new grains. The grains will not grow in coconut water and will eventually deplete. More info here and how to make it here.
Can I use kefir for cosmetics reasons?
Yes, kefir can be used as a face peel. It is quite strong so don’t leave it on for too long (20 mins or less). The whey from strained kefir also makes a nice skin toner/cleanser. Kefir or kefir whey can also be used in a bath. Cleopatra loved fermented milk baths – more info on Cleopatra’s baths here.
Can kefir be used topically?
Kefir is very good for athletes foot as well as other fungal issues on the skin. Strain the kefir and let a small amount of the strained kefir sit out for a few hours until it thickens into a cream. Apply to the feet or other areas of the body and allow to dry. Do this every day until the condition improves.
Based on the issues with live grains and metals what type of strainer should I use?
To be honest I use a metal strainer when I do my kefir. As long as it isn’t sitting in metal for hours the metal doesn’t have a chance to leach into the kefir and it is not problem. Just be sure to rinse off any kefri from the strainer so it won’t start to rust. There are plenty of plastic strainers avilable though if you prefer not to use metal.
What other tools do I need?
I have found for the same reasons you mentioned above that it is best to use a glass jar to ferment them in with a plastic lid. Metal lids begin to rust. I also use a spatula to gently strain the liquid through the strainer with out pressing the grains thorugh.
Do you flavor the kefir with anything?
We like it plain or with a touch of himalayan salt. But you can flavor it with what you like, it is fantastic added to smoothies. One thing I like to do is to add a bit of salt and ground cumin. You can also flavor it with maple syrup and rose water (See this short video on howto make Maple-Rose Kefir)
How about store-bought kefir?
Store bought kefir isn’t as potent as homemade kefir and I have definitely found that to be the case in my own experience. I am not sure what they do differently but the cultures just aren’t the same. I believe it makes a huge difference when you develop a relationship with your own kefir culture. As you care for it daily with love and appreciation it also cares for you. Your personally cultivated kefir culture will be able to alter the ratio of the various micro-organisms in it depending on what your gut needs each day. More info on this theory here.
What are the health benefits of kefir?
There are so many health benefits to drinking kefir that I have a whole article about it here: The Amazing Health Benefits of Dairy Kefir
What should I do with my extra kefir grains?
You can give them to your friends, you can dry them and powder them and make your own probiotic supplement, or you can donate them to helladelicious to support the continued plethora of quality information on gut health and nutrition that we love to provide. Please contact us to arrange to donate your grains.
The kefir has broken down into little tiny bits. What should I do to get them big again?
The kefir is breaking down into smaller pieces because of over working them in the strainer. They like to have a fair amount of the liquid kefir still on them when they have been strained. The grains will grow into larger sheets of kefir if you strain them very gently and allow some of the liquid kefir to remain with the grains each time.
Have you ever done a Kefir enema?
I would be very careful about kefir enemas, it is quite a strong and acidic culture. I don’t think there is any more benefit from doing a kefir enema than drinking it as kefir is different than yogurt in that the cultures begin to colonize your colon immediately. If you do try it just use a very small amount with a lot of water and let us know how it goes. Some people ingest the kefir grains themselves (as if they were a supplement) which will speed up the colonization time, but please, remember to start slow with the kefir.
Do you have any water grains as well and what are the advantages and disadvantages to those compared to milk grains in regards to health benefits?
I don’t currently sell water kefir grains. I personally found that I much prefer the dairy kefir grains. It was much easier to use as you simply strain the grains and replace with more milk, and this cycle happens every 12 or 24 hours depending how many grains you have in the liquid, and how warm the room temperature is. More grains and warmer environments causes them to ferment faster. Health-wise I much prefered the milk kefir as well. I actually found I had problems with water kefir as water kefir seems to be heavier on the yeasts than bacteria (don’t quote me on this, it is just what I experienced) My partner and I are very sensitive to yeasts as we lived in a moldy apartment which is what made us get so sick in the first place. Other people find that they prefer water kefir so this is an individual preference.
Where can I get more info on kefir and cultured foods?
Here is the link to my favorite site for info on kefir of all types as well as kombucha and more.
- The Amazing Health Benefits of Kefir
- Howto video on kefir (Camping with kefir in Chaco Canyon!)
- Create Your Own Custom Probiotics with Homemade Kefir
- Buy Kefir Grains here: Healthy Immune Boosting, Probiotic Rich Kefir Grains
- Raw Milk, Yogurt and Kefir an Ayurvedic Perspective
- Coconut Water Kefir
- Coconut Water Kefir Tips and Benefits
- KefirKraut — Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut
- Living Smoothie: Apple, Ginger, Carrot & Kefir
- GAPS, Kefir, Fungus and Raw Milk
- Maple Rose Kefir – DIY Video