Hi I'm Julie from Cultures for Health today I want to talk with you about how to make milk kefir at home. Now, milk kefir is a probiotic-rich, delicious beverage, and it's easy to make. Now, if you've ordered your Milk Kefir Grains from us, they've arrived in a dehydrated state, so today I want to talk with you about how to activate those kefir grains and get them woken up and ready to make kefir for your family. You can do this! Let's get started. Kefir grains are living organisms and they require food in the form of milk. During this activation process where we're waking them up, you're going to be feeding them increasing amounts of milk, going from 1 cup to 4 cups over a 3-7 day period. We'll watch them carefully during this process so that they don't starve. Now, each packet contains enough kefir grains to make 4 cups of kefir per batch. Kefir grains are very powerful, and you don't need a lot for this process. Add the kefir grains to a glass jar, and add 1 cup of pasteurized, whole milk.
If you wish to make kefir using alternative milks in the future, you can! But let's get these kefir grains activated and working reliably for you first. So right now, stick 1 cup of pasteurized, whole milk. Now I want to cover the jar to keep any fruit flies or ants out. We can do that using either a paper coffee filter or a tight weave dish towel. You'll want to secure this with either a tight rubber band or you can use the metal ring off your canning jars. Now find a nice, warm spot where this can sit safely, and we'll come back and check on it later.
Now, this jar has been culturing for 24 hours. I started checking it at 8 hours, and have been checking it every few hours since. When we check on the kefir grains, we're looking for any slight change in the texture of the milk. While we're there, we might as well give them a little shake to agitate the grains and help them along. So, in this case this jar has been culturing for 24 hours and I'm not seeing any change in the texture of the milk. This is perfectly normal at this stage in the process. We're just going to go ahead and feed the kefir grains! I'm just going to pull that top off, grab a clean jar. I'm going to strain the kefir grains into another jar. I like to use a plastic or nylon mesh strainer, something that's fairly tight weave. Pour the kefir grains through… and there they are! Now, I'm going to grab a clean jar and add the kefir grains. Since there wasn't any texture change in this milk, I'm going to use the same amount of milk I did last time. 1 cup of whole, pasteurized milk. Now I realize it might seem like we're wasting milk during this process of activating the kefir grains, but as long as this milk tastes and smells okay, you can actually drink it, or use it in a smoothie, or for some other cooking project.
Go ahead and set this back in that nice warm spot in your house, and we'll come back and check on it later! Now, this batch of kefir grains has been activating for 5 days. I've been checking every few hours, looking for any change in the texture of the milk. Every 24 hours I've been feeding the kefir grains with a fresh cup of whole, pasteurized milk, using the same process I just showed you. Now here we are on day 5, and I am seeing a texture change in the milk – it's starting to thicken.
So now when we feed the kefir grains, I'm going to add a cup and a half of fresh milk for the next day. Take the lid off… just like we did before… using a spoon to help work the kefir through the strainer. This process may take a few minutes, but be patient and be gentle with those kefir grains. Okay, so now that we have removed our kefir grains, we're going to grab a clean jar, put the kefir grains in the jar, and add one and a half cups of fresh whole, pasteurized milk. I'm gonna go ahead and cover this and put it back in that safe warm spot and we'll come back to check on it again later. Now, moving forward, you'll want to keep the same idea. As soon as the milk thickens, move the kefir grains to fresh milk. With each batch, you can increase the amount of milk you use by 1/2 cup until you're culturing 4 full cups per batch. If the milk doesn't thicken within 24 hours, go ahead and move the kefir grains to fresh milk, but use the same amount of milk you did for the last batch.
It's Important to move them to fresh milk as soon as you notice the milk thickening, otherwise, you risk over culturing, which can mean the milk separates into curds and whey, or the kefir has a grainy texture, and the flavor may not be what you hoped for. If this happens, it just means the kefir grains are hungry. Move them to fresh milk and your next batch is likely to turn out fine. Now that your kefir grains are activated, you're ready to make milk kefir on a regular basis. Check out our website at CulturesforHealth.com for more information about making milk kefir and other cultured foods at home.