How To Make Homemade Milk Kefir- The EASY Way!

Kefir Image FB

If you’re new to making milk kefir, here are step-by-step instructions on how to make kefir, the easy way!

(Note: Yesterday I posted a tip to make your homemade kefir-making much easier. This post gives you step by step instructions from start to finish on how to make kefir the simple way, in case you’re new to the process.)

Why kefir?

Kefir is a cultured dairy product made from milk. The end product is similar to yogurt, although the texture is sometimes a bit runnier. The culturing process not only results in a final product loaded with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, but lactose is removed during the fermentation, which means people with lactose issues can typically tolerate homemade kefir. (Store-bought kefir is not the same caliber as homemade. You can read more on that here.) 

For a long time I made kefir the normal way (see here). But for the last five or so months, I’ve been using a much simpler method, and it works great!

The easy way to make kefir:

Step 1: Add kefir grains to a glass mason jar and fill the jar with milk (get kefir grains from a local friend who has extra, or order some here). You can use most milks- cow, goat, pasteurized, unpasteurized, full fat, skim. Use about a heaping tablespoon of grains for 1 quart/liter of milk, as per Sandor Katz in his fabulous book The Art of Fermentation.

Step 2: Loosely cover and let sit on counter for two or so days. Shake or stir periodically if you think about it. I use these plastic mason jar lids, but you can use a dish cloth fastened with a rubber band, or anything you want to keep debris from falling into your kefir.

grains with milk small

When I notice the milk start to pull away from the sides of the container, with a jello-looking texture, it is finished.

completed kefir

This can take a day or two, and the length of the process will change based on the temperature in your kitchen.
Step 3: With a slotted wooden spoon, a regular stainless steel spoon (most flatware these days), or your very clean fingers, remove the kefir grains from the top of the completed kefir. Transfer grains to a new mason jar, cover with fresh milk, and allow to culture on the counter, effectively starting the process over. As for the completed kefir (the one you’ve just removed the grains from), simply put the lid back on your mason jar and refrigerate until use.
You will be able to easily spot the location of the grains floating near the top of your kefir:
kefir grains labeled
scoop the grains
What you’ll end up with is this:
how to large

Over time your grains will reproduce and grow, and you can either start making larger and larger batches of kefir, or you can give some away to friends.

If you need a kefir-making break, you can cover your grains with milk and refrigerate for up to a week. If you need to refrigerate them longer than a week, just replace the milk weekly. When you’re ready to use them again, toss the milk they’ve been refrigerated in, add new milk, and set out on the counter.



P.S. Need some ideas to use up all your kefir? Try smoothies, pancakes, ice cream, fish taco sauce, kefir cheese, or even a face mask for your skin!

Kefir Image PIN

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  1. Ha, why didn’t I think of that? I’ve been just using my fingers like you said. I always have a few grains at the bottom though too. I’ve taken to blending up my kefir after it’s cultured. and it gives me a chance to grab them out when I dumb the rest of the quart in the blender. BTW- the taste of the kefir, I didn’t used to be that crazy about it, but since I read that somewhere in the world they call it the champagne of milk it kind of changed the way I look at it. If I bend it up so it’s not all currdy and then let it sit out for a little while to get effervescent before I store it I find I do really enjoy just drinking it and think of it as having champagne with my breakfast *grin*

  2. Hi! Thank you so much for the recipe! I’ve not tried it yet but plan to soon, going to order my kefir grains this week hopefully. We have only ever drank the storebought version of kefir thus far…which is flavored with different types of fruits flavors (blueberry, cherry, strawberry, pomegranate)…my question would be, can you flavor the homemade kefir? Could I just put it in my food processor with fresh or frozen fruit? Thank you again for the great information! My kids love kefir 🙂

  3. My raw milk kefir separates (curds & whey) before it gets to jello consistency. Is that correct or am I doing something not quite right? Maybe I’m not shaking it or shaking it enough? Thank you for the info.

    • Kefir is so dependent on the temperature in the house that the consistency will change and some people do seem to get runnier kefir, while mine was always more of a jello consistency. I never remembered to shake mine though, so maybe that had something to do with it. It would reach jello consistency before it separated out. All this to say, who knows!


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