I first drank kefir when I visited my son in Moscow, Russia, about 10 years ago. My son had just moved there for his job and he was determined to expose himself – and all of us, apparently – to the local cuisine and culture.
So, sitting in his small kitchen, I took my first sip of kefir. It was like nothing that I had ever tasted. As a fermented milk drink, kefir tastes somewhat “yogurty.” The kefir that I tried was pleasantly sour, with small bubbles.
I drank it for the rest of my trip, but, when I returned to the U.S. I forgot completely about it. It was just one more thing that I associated with my son’s life in Russia.
Fast-forward to 2015 and I was once again exposed to this amazing drink. Ironically, it was my son who reintroduced me to kefir, but, in a round-about way.
To help me overcome some stomach problems that I had been having, he recommended that I read Brain Maker, by Dr. Perlmutter. In his book, Dr. Perlmutter argues that our brain health is strongly influenced by the bacteria in our stomach.
As a probiotic, kefir is often used to treat all kinds of stomach problems. In addition, some people use kefir to renew their healthy bacteria after using antibiotics. Dr. Perlmutter’s assertion that foods like kefir can help our brains to stay healthy was the final straw. I knew that I had to try to make my own kefir.
Here’s a quick summary of how to make kefir…
If you want to make your own kefir, the first thing that you will need is milk kefir grains. Actually, the word “grains” is a bit confusing. In truth, they look more like soft cauliflower. Since I have Russian in-laws, I was able to take some extra kefir grains from them. If you check around, you may find that some of your neighbors have them handy. Alternatively, you can buy milk kefir grains here.
With such an exotic history, you might imagine that making kefir would be difficult. The good news is that you don’t need any special skills or equipment to make kefir. All you need are:
Making kefir is so easy that is almost seems ridiculous describing it here. That said, here’s the process that has worked best for me.
First, put your kefir grains into your jars. Make sure that you put about one tablespoon of kefir grains for every cup of milk that you want to turn into kefir.
Next, poor your milk into the jar. Give it a quick stir.
With your milk and kefir grains where they need to be, cover your jars with your cloth covers and secure them with rubber bands. This helps to give your kefir room to breathe. If you decide to use the lids that came with your mason jars, make sure that you loosen them to let the air escape.
Now let your jars sit, at room temperature, for about 24 hours. The amount of time that you have to wait will depend on several factors including how strong you want your kefir to be, how warm your house is and how much kefir culture you use. Have fun experimenting!
When you are ready to serve your kefir, pour it through your strainer. This will allow you to collect your kefir in a new container, while keeping your kefir grains separate for your next batch. Yes, that’s right! Kefir grains can be used pretty much indefinitely. In fact, you will probably end up throwing some away every week or two.
Finally, put your kefir in the fridge to let it cool. In a couple of hours, your kefir will be ready to serve. Your kefir will probably separate a bit, so, don’t forget to give it a good shake before serving it.
One of the great things about kefir is that it can be prepared in so many ways. In addition to milk kefir, you can also create kefir with coconut milk, or even fruit juice. I’ve tried blending in berries or a banana. There really is no “wrong” way to eat kefir. Just experiment and find a taste that works for you.
I’d love to hear about your adventures with kefir. Please take a few minutes to join the conversation below.
Have you tried making kefir? What is your favorite way to make kefir? Please join the conversation.
Tags Healthy Eating