Are you planning to make kefir but don’t know how to grow your kefir grains? Well, you have come to the right place. Just like you, I have faced the same problem before but after some research, I have finally discovered the best way on how to make kefir grains grow fast.
I got fascinated with kefir after knowing how healthy they are for your body. It can help improve your immunity system, build bone mass, and prevent allergies. If you’re curious on how to make it, start with growing some kefir grains as illustrated below.
What You’ll Need
Kefir grains look very similar to cauliflower florets. During the warmer months or when clumped in a jar, they can resemble the flat shreds of ribbons. Their color may vary from white to creamy off-white.
Do not underestimate the power of kefir grains because it is where the origin of milk kefir lies. These grains contain various strains of good bacteria and yeast along with complex sugars and milk proteins (casein). What I use is the Mr & Mrs Kefir Milk Kefir Grains which are organic and fresh from the farm.
Organic Whole Milk
You need milk to feed your kefir grains with lactose so they can grow and multiply. Without it, your kefir grains will starve and die. I choose organic whole milk because the grains seems to grow faster. Cow’s milk is preferable than goat’s milk because it generates a smooth and thick milk kefir.
For more options, you can also use any of these alternatives if you can’t find any organic whole milk to use:
Almond Milk, Coconut
If you’re lactose intolerant, you can substitute organic whole milk with almond milk to create a dairy-free kefir. Although this may give a nice twist to your kefir, this may not replicate your grains.
Kefir grains also grows in half-and-half generating a rich, thick kefir cream. The taste could be similar to sour cream. If you find the consistency too thick, you can culture the cream with a finished kefir starter.
Sweet Whey Powder
You can also use sweet whey powder instead of organic whole milk as it offers readily available lactose to feed the grains. It also contains whey proteins which can help keep the protein component of the grains even better than casein. If you use this whole milk substitute, dissolve it with fresh water with the ratio: 15 grams to 250 ml.
A strainer is essential to separate the fermented kefir from the grains. It might be best to use a plastic or nylon mesh strainer because its metal counterpart may disrupt the fermentation process of kefir. The metal may also come in contact with the kefir grains cause a reaction.
If you don’t like plastic, you can use stainless steel since it is quite inert. Bamboo strainers also work fine. In general, look for a not too finely meshed strainer so you can allow the kefir curds to fall into the bowl.
You need a shallow bowl to contain your strained kefir. Just like the strainer, a plastic bowl is much preferred over its metal counterpart because you don’t want your kefir to get in contact with metal.
The size should be sufficient to contain the volume of your fermented kefir. The design should be shallow so you can see any grains that may escape from the strainer. Once you’re certain that all the grains are out, you can pour the finished kefir into a clean jar.
A spatula is needed to stir your kefir as you work it through the strainer. Since kefir grains reacts adversely to metals, use a silicon spatula. Alternatively, you can use a plastic spoon or a stainless steel spoon.
2 Glass Jars
Your best option to culture your kefir is to use a glass jar. This won’t react and scratch easily like plastics do. Best of all, it is free from the chemicals, like BPA. What I use is a canning jar because it already has a lid and easy to obtain.
Alternatively, you can use ceramic container, but just make sure that it is glazed with a food-grade material to protect your kefir from any contact to lead. Food-grade porcelain is also safe for kefir fermentation. The materials that you should avoid are plastic, crystal, and metal.
You may need to prepare two jars for this process. One, for fermenting the kefir grains with the milk and second for the finished kefir.
To cover your kefir while fermenting, use any material that allows the culture to breathe, like a tight-weave fabric or towel. You can also use a paper coffee filter and a paper towel. Never use loose-weave materials.
To secure your cover from pests, like ants or fruit flies, an elastic band may be needed. If you can’t find any elastic band available at home, use the canning jar’s ring.
To make kefir grains grow here are the steps that you should follow. For a visual reference, you can watch how it’s done in this video.
1. Mix Kefir Grains with the Milk
In a canning jar, combine your kefir grains with organic whole milk or any milk of your choice. The ratio should be 1-2 teaspoons of grains for every quart of milk. Since fermentation is faster during summer, you can use one teaspoon of grains per quart of milk. In slipping the grains into the milk, do it gently.
2. Cover and Ferment
Cover the jar with a tight-weave fabric or cloth. Make sure that you allow some air to pass through the cover so your kefir stays ventilated. Secure it with an elastic band to keep it safe from pests. Let it sit in the warm place of your counter without direct sunlight for about 8-12 hours. If you want to make it more like a drinkable yogurt, you can let it ferment for 24 hours.
3. Stir and Strain
After the culturing period has passed, you may possibly see that the kefir has gone curdy. Before straining, give a good stir or you can give it a shake. Next, position your strainer over a bowl and pour the cultured kefir to strain the liquid.
If the kefir is too thick, you may give the strainer a thump or you can stir it with a spatula in a swirling motion. You should see the kefir curds drop into the bowl and the grains remain in the strainer. With the strained liquid in the bowl, transfer it to a clean jar and enjoy or store it in the refrigerator until use.
For the remaining grains, use it for another batch of milk and repeat steps 1-3. After several batches, you will notice that the grains will begin to enlarge and multiply.
If you have more grains to handle, you can give some away, toss them to chickens, or begin creating more milk kefir. If you like to use the grains for a much later date, freeze them.
Tips from the Experts
Second Ferment Your Finished Kefir
Cultured Life Food suggests fermenting the kefir a second time around to make it more delicious because it may remove some of the sourness. The second fermentation may also enhance certain B vitamins and makes magnesium and calcium easily penetrated into the body.
To do this, just place an organic orange or lemon peel into the jar and close it securely with the lid. Let it sit for a maximum of 12 hours, refrigerate, and enjoy. If you’re using a nonorganic fruit peel, boil for 30 seconds to remove any chemicals.
Break the Kefir Grains to Multiply
If you notice that your kefir grains are getting bigger but aren’t multiplying, Cultures for Health recommends gently breaking the grains into smaller pieces. To do this, just rub them between your fingers. As your grains become smaller, you increase the surface area to be exposed to the milk.
As the smaller grains become more exposed to the milk, it elevates their chances to acquire nourishment from the milk. As a result, they begin to multiply.
Buy Fresh Active Grains
Kerfirkopen.eu suggests buying some fresh active grains if you want to follow an authentic way to create kefir. This fresh variety contains more probiotics as compared to their powdery counterparts. It is also much preferred to use the living grains than the dried ones because the latter takes too much time to grow.
Try Growing Some Kefir Grains Today!
Did you have fun following the instructions on how to make kefir grains grow? Thanks to this information, I can now create my own batch of milk kefir anytime I want at the comfort of my home. Remember to use the fresh kefir grain variety, such as this.