I have read about milk kefir extensively and consider it something that we should all have in our daily lives, barring an allergy/intolerance of course. Milk kefir when fermented properly is very low in lactose, my son who is still lactose intolerance can drink it without issue. It may also be OK for some who are intolerant to dairy proteins, as the proteins are pre-digested by the kefir grains and easy for our bodies to absorb properly.
Milk kefir has a very interesting story and no one is really sure where it came from. A story has been passed down for generations that it was given to the people who inhabited the Caucasus Mountains by Mohammed, who also taught them how to use the culture.
Since beginning to drink kefir, I have experienced sounder sleep, increased energy, better elimination and an overall feeling of well-being.
Highlights Of Milk Kefir
It is a potent probiotic capable of strengthening the immune system
It contains many strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that are especially helpful in rebalancing the gut and creating vitamins like biotin, folate and B6, as well as K2. Probiotics help us naturally cleanse our systems and absorb nutrients better. It can greatly help with digestive disorders including IBS and Chron’s. Probiotics are also known for helping with depression, ADHD and autism.
It has anti-cancerous properties
It is high in essential vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to repair itself, reduces tumors1 and has the antioxidant CLA which is a very beneficial also higher in grass-fed milk2. CLA has been noted for its effects on breast tissue, and therefore kefir should be a regular part of anyone’s diet who is at increased risk for breast cancer.
It has the correct form of folate
Folate deficiencies have been getting quite a bit of attention lately, and with good cause. The folic acid in fortified grains are not healthy, and those with MTHFR mutations may experience severe health issues from including these unhealthy products in their diet. It actually tricks the body into thinking it has real folate and can complicate the body systems that need it, including the detoxification system. This is one of the factors that leads to lip ties, tongue ties and even autism. The folate in milk kefir can further be increased by doing a 2nd ferment.
It is a great source of healthy, saturated fat and protein
It is full of essential amino acids that are very easy for our bodies to absorb. The saturated fats and cholesterol in healthy animal foods such as dairy are important for fertility and proper brain development. For this reason, it is best to make kefir with full-fat milk… I even add extra cream! Animal fats are the best sources of vitamins A, D, E and K2, which are essential for healthy babies and optimal health.
The minerals it contains are bioavailable
It is primarily high in calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for many important functions in the body. Vegans will argue that the best source of calcium is spinach and nuts, but this simply is not true. Much of the minerals in plant foods are bound to anti-nutrients such as oxalates, which can actually cause kidney stones and a whole host of other issues, including tooth decay. Especially when not getting enough K2–which is difficult without animal fats!
It is very EASY to make!
All you need are milk kefir grains, a glass jar and milk. It doesn’t even have to be raw milk, but preferably it will be FULL FAT, NON-UHT milk.
How To Make Milk Kefir At Home
- Liter Pickl-It Jar
- 4 8oz drinking jars (swing-tops, mason jars) or 2 16oz (pint jars)
- Nylon or stainless steel strainer
- Wooden spoon
- Pitcher or large bowl
- 1 tbsp milk kefir grains (active)
- 1 quart fresh, raw milk
- In a clean glass jar, put 1 tbsp of milk kefir grains.
- Cover grains with raw milk to the shoulder, leaving a little room for expansion.
- Let sit for 24 hours until you can see bubbles near the glass, or whey pockets beginning to form.
- Strain into pitcher using nylon strainer and wooden spoon.
- Put grains back into the jar you made the kefir in. It is not necessary to wash after each batch. I do tend to wipe the top of the container down to the shoulder so it doesn't look messy.
- Pour finished kefir from pitcher into 4 8oz jars or 2 16oz jars.
- Move finished kefir to fridge.
- Pour a new quart of milk into the jar you made the kefir in. Repeat the process!
Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting Help
The following information will help you troubleshoot issues with your milk kefir, or help you with common concerns. If you have questions that have not been answered below or in the post, you can leave a message and I’ll answer ASAP.
You can, although I don’t personally recommend it unless you don’t have any other options.
This is because most store-bought brands don’t use actual kefir grains but instead a powdered formulation of select bacteria and yeast. Additionally, you don’t know how long it has been sitting. Freshly made kefir is best to use, and can only be used for maybe 2-3 subsequent batches.
Here’s how to make kefir from store-bought kefir: in a clean jar, put 1-2 tbsp of the store-bought kefir per cup of milk. Close and let sit at room temperature for approximately 24 hours.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way how to make kefir grains from store bought kefir. The best way to get kefir grains is to buy them from someone who is actively using them, or find someone kind enough to share from a sharing group!
From my experience, the best place to buy kefir grains is on Etsy. When you buy kefir grains online, make sure you buy active kefir grains. Live, active kefir grains are already in use and being maintained by the person you are purchasing them from. They are more likely to produce great kefir from the beginning than dehydrated grains are.
Click here to buy milk kefir grains from a seller I’ve personally received great kefir grains from!
It is super simple to learn how to freeze kefir grains! Just follow these easy directions:
1. Get a clean, freezer-safe glass jar. I generally use a 8oz mason jar.
2. Put excess kefir grains in the jar.
3. Cover with a little milk.
Your kefir grains will store this way for a year or more. I like to do this to store some excess kefir grains in case I accidentally kill or lose my current milk kefir grains.
To use, all you have to do is set the grains out to defrost, and since there is some milk in there you can leave it for a day or so. Strain, then make a small batch of milk kefir (I generally make one pint (16oz) first before going back to my usual amount).
Milk kefir is best consumed within a week of making it.
However, it doesn’t necessarily spoil for a long time. Instead, it will continue getting more fermented, turning more sour and developing slight alcoholic notes. It becomes unpalatable.
Eventually, you may notice off flavors or mold developing on the kefir. At this point, it has gone way too far and has lost the proper acidity and probiotics necessary to protect it from spoilage.