Kefir is made by adding live culture, or kefir grains, to room temperature milk, including soy, goat's milk or others. You can buy commercial kefir or make your own at home.
You can buy commercial kefir but it's easy to make kefir at home. I recently bought some kefir starter which will yield 42 quarts of kefir at the cost of 61 cents per quart, plus the cost of a quart of milk. A quart of commercial kefir costs $3.79 a quart so depending on how much you pay for a quart of milk - whether it's cow's milk, goat's milk, soy or other, you are saving about $1.50 per quart of kefir by making kefir at home.
What You Need to Make Kefir at Home
1. A quart of liquid. You can use:
- Whole, non-fat, 2% or 1% cow's milk
- Goat's milk
- Coconut water or milk
- Soy milk
- Rice milk
- Almond milk
2. Kefir starter - I use Body Ecology Kefir Starter, which I purchased on Amazon.com. The box makes 42 quarts. Once you make your first batch of kefir, you can use some of it to make the second one.
3. Sealable glass quart jars - I had some glass jars I bought a long time ago with sealable lids which look like this one from Amazon.
Full instructions for making kefir come with the kefir starter but all you do is heat the quart of liquid to skin temperature, about 92 degrees, add a packet of kefir starter and stir until it's desolved.
Pour the inoculated milk into a glass, closable jar like the one above. Allow it to sit undisturbed on your counter or anyplace at temperature of about 72 to 75 degrees for 18 to 24 hours. The milk will thicken and may be slightly clumpy with bubbles on top.
The taste will be tart and tangy.
Refrigerate after fermentation. Save 6 tablespoons of this batch to inoculate the next batch. You can repeat this 7 times before using a new packet of starter. if you'd like to make 1/2 gallon of kefir, use 2/3 cup of your old batch in 1/2 gallon of milk.
Store each batch of kefir about one week in the refrigerator. Also refrigerate the kefir starter until ready to use.
Kefir can be mixed into smoothies, used as a drink, mixed with berries or poured over cereal. You can also make salad dressings from kefir. Use it as you would yogurt.
Read more about the health benefits of Kefir.
Andrew Weil talks about kefir