All About Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir Sections

Milk Kefir Introduction

These little white balls that look like tiny cauliflowers are what we call milk kefir or Tibetan mushroom.

By fermenting in animal milk (cow’s milk, goat’s milk, etc.) we obtain a beverage named as the grains: “milk kefir“. It is a slightly gaseous and acidic beverage, whose texture  resembles strongly to a yogurt one.

milk kefir grains

History of Milk Kefir

As for the history of the name “kefir“, it would be derived from the Turkish word keif and would mean “well-being sensation“.

We can also find it under some other names, like for example : Prophet’s millet, Tibetan mushrooms and even Snow Lotus.

Milk Kefir Grains
Milk Kefir Grains

The grains would be natives of a North Caucasus secular tradition, but in fact nobody knows exactly their origins.

However, it is commonly assumed that the appearance of the kefir dates back to the days when the nomads were transporting milk in skin bags.

It’s in these bags that had held the grains fermentation, a process that turned the milk into a thick drink and gave it at the same time a better conservation.

The Muslim populations of this area considered the kefir as a gift from Allah. According to the legend, the tribes had received the milk kefir grains from the hands of the Prophet Mohammed himself, as they were crossing the area about 1400 years ago.

This is why we can find these grains under the name of Prophet’s millet and the beverage obtained from these grains, the Drink of the Prophet.

Milk Kefir Grains
Milk Kefir Grains

Equipment needed

Making the basic beverage is not very complicated. All you need is:

  • some milk kefir grains (you will need about 20 grams of grains for 250 ml milk) and
  • animal milk (cow milk, goat milk, etc.), preferably whole or semi-skimmed milk. Wherever possible, please avoid to use the skimmed milk. In others words, it is the whole animal milk that brings most of the nutrients to the living grains.
Equipment needed to prepare Milk Kefir
Equipment needed to prepare Milk Kefir

… and for the kitchen tools :

  • a canning jar – any glass will do. In all cases, it has to be a non-metallic container)
  • a muslin to cover the jar, by using an elastic
  • a fine mesh plastic strainer and
  • a small plastic spoon.

Please notice that the order placed on your webiste comes with the basic recipe for the milk kefir.

If you are looking for the basic recipe, you will find it on our dedicated recipes section.

Hygiene compliance Milk Kefir

In addition to the equipment needed, an important point when it comes to milk kefir beverages is the hygiene compliance. In this sense, there are a few things that you have to pay attention to.

For example, if you notice any unusual smell and/or colors, or if mold appears on your kefir grains, you must not drink the beverage obtained. The grains that smell strange are usually grey or brown.

Healthy kefir grains have naturally a slightly acidic smell, no aftertaste. Always use kitchen tools easy to maintain (glass jar, fine mesh plastic strainer, small plastic spoon).

Washing the kitchen tools is also important, but despite that you don’t have to sterilize them. Simply use hot water and dish detergent – preferably made of natural products – and take care not to burn yourself when doing this.

As the kefir grains can’t withstand high temperatures, you will have to let your kitchen tools cool completely (once cleaned as decribed over here). So, only after that you can start a new culture.

For the container, you can use for example glass jars for vegetables, that can be easily found on the market. Of course, they must be carefully cleaned before use, as described here.

Mesh plastic strainers and plastic little spoons being affordable, the best is to buy them new and used them only for your milk kefir cultures.

Milk Kefir Tips and Tricks

Here below you will find some useful tips & tricks that will help you to successfully make these beverages :

  • the metal ions distort the bacilli contained in the kefir. For this reason, please avoid to use metal utensils when handling the grains ;
  • you must not eat the grains: they serve only to seed your drink;
  • always respect the recommended dosage: use about a tablespoon of grains into 250-300 ml animal milk. If the grains grow too much, simply divide them to always keep this proportion. That saves you to obtain a beverage that could be very acid, undrinkable too ;
  • use preferably whole or semi-skimmed animal milk. The whole milk strengthens the kefir grains – as it contains all the nutrients that they need for their development, while the skimmed milk weakens them. Do not use fortified or “easy to digest” milk;
  • avoid using constantly the same type of milk, as the grains bacteria appreciate the variety;
  • if the kefir grains ferment hardly, simply add a little bit of sugar;
  • hygiene compliance is essential: please thoroughly wash the container after each culture. To do this, you must rinse the grains once per week in bottled still water and immediately put back in milk ;
  • another action is to stir the milk from time to time, as the milk casein (milk proteins) tends to clump and form around each seed. Using a small plastic spoon, carefully stir the grains so that they can disengage and inoculate more homogeneously the beverage;
  • if whey appears at the bottom of the jar, simply stir a little bit with the little spoon: the beverage becomes immediately more sparkling. In the same time, this means that the kefir drink is ready and the fermentation should be stopped ;
  • respect the fermentation time, as it varies depending on the temperature (18-25° C). For example, at more than 25° C the fungus works faster, while below 18° C it ferments less quickly; a too important fermentation will give you a sour taste and we do not recommend to drink the beverage obtained;
  • the effect of the drink varies according to the degree of fermentation:

young kefir (fermented 12h to 24h) is slightly laxative. The kefir is not very thick yet, it has some little bubbles and its taste is not very pronounced;

medium kefir (fermented 24h to 48h) has already bubbles, it becomes thicker and the taste is comparable to a yogurt one;

mature kefir (fermented 48 h to 72 h) slightly constipates.

How to store milk kefir Grains?

Milk Kefir Grains
Milk Kefir Grains

There are moments where maybe you do not want to prepare milk kefir drink.

If so, you can store the grains in a non-metallic container in the refrigerator crisper compartment, in a sufficient amount of milk in order to cover them all.

Also, make sure to leave them some space at the top in order for them to have enough air.

If this method doesn’t suit you, another storing solution consists to dry the grains on a clean linen in the open air, simply by covering them with a muslin. The role of the muslin is to avoid the dust to penetrate. This way, you can store them in your kitchen cabinet, in a jar covered with a muslin retained by an elastic.

Then, the day you would like to reactivate the dried grains, simply soak them a few hours in lukewarm water (do not use hot water).

A third storing solution exists and consists in freezing the grains. In order to later reactivate them, just let them thaw in open air.

Regarding the dried milk kefir grains and the thawed ones, they usually take longer to reactivate, so all you have to do is to be patient.

Where you can buy Milk Kefir?

You can buy milk kefir right here below or you can buy it on our online shop with other kefir or kombucha products in combinations at promotion.

We have hundreds of satisfied customers all over the world. You can find all their reviews on our main website in France here.

Thank you for visiting our milk kefir page and we hope you found everything you were looking for.