Kefir! It's consistently ranked as one of the world's healthiest foods. It really is magically delicious. In this post, I'll give you directions for the common 24 hour method. This is how most people do it and the method I recommend starting with first. This method produces a thin, drinkable, cultured beverage. When you get the hang of this method, read here to learn how to make a thicker, creamier kefir yogurt.
Common 24 Hour Method
1. Obtain kefir grains.
2. Place 2 tsp. grains in a glass pint jar, or 4 tsp. grains in a glass quart jar. I prefer to use wide mouthed jars. The amount of kefir grains you will need changes slightly with the seasons. When it's colder, you will may need a little more, when it's hot, you may need less, but this amount is a good happy medium to start with. Then you can adjust it as needed.
3. Pour fresh raw milk into the jar and fill to where the bottle begins to slightly narrow.
4. Cover with a lid and shake well. Loosen the lid just slightly, so some of the pressure that develops can escape. The jar can explode if the lid is too tight- not a happy thing to happen.
5. Tighten lid and shake occasionally throughout the day to redistribute the grains. (If you remember, but not critical). Remember to loosen lid slightly afterwards.
6. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
7. Strain thickened kefir through a large fine mesh, preferably plastic, sieve into a bowl or another container. While a metal sieve can be used, it's a bit abrasive and can be hard on your grains, but it's not super critical.
8. Place grains into another jar and repeat process.
9. Store finished kefir in the fridge for several days and up to a week.
Storing Grains When Not Using
1. To keep your grains healthy, it's better to do a small amount more frequently, rather than a large amount, less frequently. While you can take a break and store grains in the freezer, when you go away from home for an extended period, or in the fridge for a few days, in between batches; doing this too frequently can adversely affect the health of your grains. Remember, kefir grains are living organisms and prefer a comfortable room temperature, just like us.
2. Just barely cover grains with milk to store them in the freezer. In the fridge, they will continue to culture, just more slowly and need the food that the milk will provide, to keep them healthy. If kept healthy, kefir grains will last indefinitely.
3. Healthy kefir grains will also multiply. When you notice the kefir culturing faster than usual, measure your grains, and remove the excess amount. You can eat the excess amount, or store extra grains in the freezer to share with a friend, or as a back up, in case they accidentally get discarded.
Soft Kefir Cheese
Follow directions here for yogurt cheese. You can even make hard kefir cheese, but that's a post for another day!
For more information on kefir, see this post here.
For troubleshooting check out the post here.
For ideas of how to use kefir, other than drinking, see this post.