Quick Start Guide
This is all you need to know to have happy, healthy, growing kefir grains.
- Stir in two cups of cold milk for 3-4 tablespoons of kefir grains. If you got the smaller package of two large kefir grains, try ½ cup of milk for the first batch. Both of these amounts are guesses. You will know more after 24 hours when you stir and strain it and then taste it.
- Be sure to use a strainer and then taste the kefir you made. You don’t know anything unless you taste it. I use a vinyl strainer but have used metal in the past. The strainer material that is questionable is silicon. Metal works fine if that’s all you can find.
- Start the process over in a clean jar, adjusting the milk for the next batch. If is too sour, they need more milk. If it is not very sour at all and no thickness, use less milk. If it tastes a little “off” indicating there is too much yeast, rinse them with water first. You seldom have to rinse kefir grains, but do it if necessary.
- Start with cold milk but leave your culture jar at room temperature. Ideal temperature is 70ºF - 75ºF. You can use a cooler with a hot water bottle when it is too cold and ice in the cooler when it is too hot in your house.
It is all a guess how much milk to use for the first batch or two because your home has a totally different growing condition, different milk, different temperature, than what they were used to. Be patient with them and with yourself.
You may use any kind of dairy milk except ultra-pasteurized. They will make kefir just fine in skim or 2%, however, the higher the butterfat the creamier the kefir and the faster your kefir grains will grow. My kefir grains are grown on raw goat milk from my own herd. They switch to cows milk just fine.
Milk kefir grains will ferment any beverage but they will lose their growth factor in non-dairy “milks”. If you want them to continue growing always use a portion of your kefir grains in real milk and feed them daily. You can use your extra kefir grains in a separate jar for all your experiments, including coconut milk.
I suggest you make a back up once per month. In a small jar put about a tablespoon of kefir grains in ½ cup milk. Label and date the jar and put it in the refrigerator. If everyone would make a back up even every few months, but monthly is better, I wouldn’t have to replace them so often.