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Kefir

The Easiest Yogurt to make

To the right is a salvage operation to revive my milk kefir culture after it had been abused.  I used the pint sized mason jar to keep the batches small.  After starting a new batch, I would also put the jar in a pot of hot water to warm the milk, this started the fermenting process right away.  I was able to make a new batch every 12 hours, after a few days the grains were healthy and reproducing like they are supposed to.

 

If you look close, you can see some of the grains floating on the top, and whey starting to form on the bottom.

Kefir is the first milk culture I started with, and I recommend it to anyone has any interest in making a milk based pro-biotic.  I started with just a mason jar with the standard store-bought lids that came with the jar.  You just put the kefir "grains" in with the milk and let it sit at room temperature for anywhere from 8 hours to a full day with the lid on loosely.  After it was "done" to my liking, I scooped off the grains from the top to make my next batch, and consumed what was just made.  If there was more than I would consume right away, I would store it in the refrigerator to stop it from getting any more “done”.


I made it by the quart, and there was always 2 of them in the refrigerator all the time. One was the jar that was being consumed, it would usually last 3 days. The other one was a batch that was done, but still had the grains left in it. When the jar that was being consumed was finished, I would start the process all over again. After some time, when I wanted a break from kefir, I just left it as-is in the fridge for a month or 2 at a time. It would take a few batched to revive the culture, but it always did come back.


There are 3 things dramatically wrong with what I just described:

1: I only scooped a few grains from the top, the rest was milk curds

2: I left the finished batch of grains in a jar that was was “done”, or already kefir, there was no milk (milk sugar) left for the grains to eat while in the fridge.

3: Several months in the fridge with nothing to eat !!!


With these dramatic errors, my kefir survived at least 2 years before finally succumbing to a a few months neglect in the fridge. If nothing else, this is a recommendation simply because of the durability of the culture. They will tolerate a lot of abuse and keep coming back.


As time went on, I started doing a better job of recovering the grains, and that seemed to help with the consistency of my finished product. But the biggest improvement I noticed is when I started making it in an aerobic environment, like with the Fermentools lid. WOW, now the kefir is slower to separate to curds and whey, and the consistency seems to be much more creamy. I did not expect these improvements, but they certainly were welcome. I have read other blogs and they have mentioned the same thing.


My culture has recovered. I made small batches so I could consume what I was producing. But I must admit, during this time I drank a lot more kefir than I normally would. I also warmed the cold milk from the fridge to room temperature to speed the process at first because the culture was quite small. As time went on and the grains grew in size and number, I skipped this step. After about 1 week of letting the kefir run full blast 24 hours a day, I am now back to normal production. I go through this process once or twice a year to rejuvenate the culture.

 

An excellent site to all thinks kefir is Dom's kefir site located at   http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html . The site map is on the bottom of the page.