Homemade Probiotics, Part Two

Kefir grains

To us, being prepared is much more than just having a stash of stuff put away for an emergency.  It is a lifestyle independent of modern systems.  Our goal is to be self-sustaining, and providing our own nutritional supplements is part of that.  If you didn’t read my first post about Homemade Probiotics, go here.

Kefir is a normal part of our family’s breakfast routine as many mornings as possible.  We stir in raw sugar or maple syrup, as it is quite sour alone.  It is great over cooked oatmeal, cold cereal, or fresh fruit.  Often our children request it alone in a glass.  We know families who make smoothies with it, but to me it’s simpler to not use the blender every day.

True kefir is only made using a mother-culture, which consists of little white kernels called grains which look like large curd cottage cheese.  The grains are chewy and sour tasting, and can only be obtained from someone with grains that have propagated in the kefir-making process.  You can purchase them inexpensively from Dominic N Anfiteatro, an authority on the subject.

Straining the grains out the kefir (fermented milk)

I received 1½ ts (7.4 ml) of grains several years ago from a fellow home-educator.  They grew, and now I use ½ cup (118 ml) to ferment two quarts of raw goat milk about every two days.  As the grains multiply I remove extras to share or to treat illness or infections.

Making kefir is simple but takes discipline, which is not a bad trait to develop.  We start by placing the grains in a glass jar and adding milk, stirring so they are completely immersed in fresh milk.  The jar is left on the counter (away from extreme temperatures) with a loose lid to allow for air expansion.

We used to process it every day, but it got to be a burden, so now we do it about every two days.  We like the flavor and texture created by placing the jar into the fridge on the second day (makes it creamy rather than fizzy).  At the end of the second day we use a plastic colander (stainless works fine, but not reactive metals) and strain the fermented milk (now called kefir) into a bowl.  It’s placed into a glass jar and sweetener is added, then it’s placed back into the fridge (it would be OK left out, but it gets fizzier and we like it better not fizzy).

A fresh brew ferments on the counter

Next the grains go back into the original jar (or a clean one) and fresh milk is poured over them once again to start the process for the next batch of kefir.  Meanwhile the strained kefir in the fridge is left for two days to “ripen.”  This wait greatly increases the vitamin content.  After it has ripened for two days, it is ready to devour, and it usually does not last long around our house.

Hope this is inspiring to you.

Second Leg of the Trailer’s Journey

Linked with Homestead Revival


2 thoughts on “Homemade Probiotics, Part Two

  1. Just came over from Homestead Revival. I am new to using kefir and had not heard of putting a sweetener in it after straining it. What do you use and can you still use it in baking (I use it instead of butter milk in some things)? Looking foreword to checking out more of your blog.


    • Hello Cheryl,
      Adding sweetener is completely optional. We eat our kefir raw to get the total health benefit, and we like it better with a little sweetener. I used to wait to add maple syrup, etc till we were ready to eat it. Then I learned it works just as well to add the sweetener right away and saves the time and bother at mealtime. When you use it as a butter milk substitute it would be better unsweetened.


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