One thing I have been very conscious of during 2020 is trying to eat healthily and boost my immune system. I had a mild brush with Covid-19 in March, and although I recovered fully it left me feeling washed out and sluggish.
I wasn’t entirely new to the concept of kefir, as it was a go-to drink at one particular place of work, so the idea of helping my gut health with the vitamins and probiotics it contains was appealing.
The idea of making it myself had never occurred to me.
I’m not bad in the kitchen; I make a mean curry, and I’ve done all the cooking in various households I’ve lived in for 20 years now. However, I’m hopeless at the simplest things – I fail at sourdough starters and my attempts at banana bread are dubious.
It was clear I couldn’t do this without a kit, and Kefirko kindly supplied me with one.
(I’m also a terrible photographer)
The kit contains everything you need to make milk or water kefir .This one came without grains; however, you can find the full kits including grains here: Water & Milk Kefir Starter Kits.
Note that there are different grains, so make sure you get the right ones for what you’re planning to make! They’re cute, like little cauliflowers.
As you may know, kefir is a kind of drinkable yoghurt in its milk form, and a slightly effervescent non-dairy drink. I’m making milk kefir, so I’m looking forward to the drinking yoghurt texture and tangy taste. I find it filling, so my plan is to have it as part of my breakfast to get the day off to a good start.
Of course, kefir *isn’t* yoghurt as such – the grains are home to the bacteria and yeast that ferment the milk rather than you heating milk and adding a culture. It takes about 24-48 hours to make a serving of kefir dependent on room temperature. I put about a teaspoon of grains into the jar and added about 300ml of milk. As the instruction leaflet says, I left the top lid of the jar open slightly to allow enough air flow for fermentation.
Anyway. Fast-forward 24 hours.
Something is happening. I have slightly thick milk! However, I think it would probably work quicker with full-fat milk (I used semi-skimmed as that’s all I had in the fridge). Another 12 hours might make a difference.
I strained my kefir, making sure I kept the grains back to use again, and was surprised – given my usual success with trying new things - that I had something drinkable that tasted a little like yogurt. And tasted good!
My kefir grains are now sitting in milk in the fridge ready to be used again soon. I’m looking forward to making more kefir, and to my kefir grains multiplying so that I can give some away!
As with everything new when changing your diet, it’s best to start slow so I’m only going to be making small amounts of kefir a couple of times a week at the moment. By the way, keeping them in the fridge can help slows the process down.
Is there anything I’d recommend to other first-time kefir makers? Yes – if your kitchen is too cold or too warm, the grains might not be able to do their job properly. Also, make sure your jar of kefir is out of direct sunlight. You might also need two or three goes to make the perfect kefir. However, this kit really does make it easy!