Fizzy yoghurty stuff! Yay!
October 28, 2013 4:34 AM   Subscribe

I love Kefir. Not only is it delicious, I generally feel better when I am drinking it. My stomach problems are generally better when I am drinking it regularly. I have been a big fan and drinker of the Liberte Kefir, but I would really like to try making my own because the store bought stuff is pricey. TELL ME ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT KEFIR!

I would love any tips or tricks to make the tastiest kefir I can. I like it to be fizzy, so ways to maximize that would be lovely. What are some good ways to flavour the kefir after straining it? How long would strained "finished" kefir last in my fridge? What sorts of things should I be careful of? Does skim milk work as well as, say, 2% or whole milk?

I also have read about water kefir, which I am super curious and interested in as well.

One problem I have, though, is that I have no clue where to get some kefir grains. I live in eastern Canada, in a fairly small-ish city, and I have yet to hear of a place where I can get some. Any help with that would be hugely appreciated.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Cultures for Health ships to Canada:

There are some sellers on

Unfortunately, unlike yoghurt, there is no way to make kefir without the grains. The good news is that once you have the grains, they'll last forever.
posted by LittleMy at 4:57 AM on October 28, 2013

Emma Christensen's True Brews has a section devoted to Kefir/Water Kefir with a master recipe and then flavour variations.

I've not tried the recipe but have had success with the other sections (soda and mead) that I've tried from the book.
posted by halcyonday at 5:08 AM on October 28, 2013

I have been making kefir on my kitchen counter for a few years now. I prefer to do it at room temperature, but use the fridge when I have to put it dormant for a while because I've gotten bored with it.

When you are using just milk and grains, the texture is a little different than what you get in the store. It doesn't have stabilizers (or whatever), so it is thinner and sometimes even more carbonated (it isn't always carbonated, you have to catch it just right).

Whole milk works best, IMO. I know people use all kinds of milk, but I like the result and texture of whole. I don't flavor mine generally, but every now and then I'll spoon a little malt or brown sugar into it and let that percolate with it. Not usually, but sometimes.

If you leave it in the fridge for a while, maybe more than 3 days, it goes a little sour and off. I've strained this and pressed it to make a kind of sour cheese, but it isn't that good and is kind of a PITA.

I have tons of kefir grains that I will be sending out to a few friends in a couple of weeks. I would be more than happy to include you on the list if you'd like!

I usually send them in sugar water double packaged. As long as they stay moist, they are fine.

Just let me know.
posted by Tchad at 5:20 AM on October 28, 2013

I've used the Cultures for Health water kefir grains and they work really well, FYI. You just need to babysit it if you're brewing at room temp because it can get too vinegary if you aren't careful. Now that I have a bottle capper/bottling setup for my brewing endeavors, I'm planning to start bottling it to keep it from going sour. Good luck!
posted by at 5:58 AM on October 28, 2013

I made kefir for a long time and, like you, really love how it regulates my digestion. I only ever made plain kefir from whole milk. I let it 'brew' longer for a fizzier result.
posted by Dragonness at 6:30 AM on October 28, 2013

You need this site! Loaded with corny puns, but sooo much information and enthusiasm.
posted by bink at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding bink (I assume that's a link to Dom's Kefir page, which contains everything you want to know and many things you never considered asking).

I have had good luck getting grains from Etsy. If you find someone geographically close to you to buy from it's better because the grains don't have to travel as long. (Travel stresses them and they get stinky, though they feel better after a couple days of fresh milk.)

The biggest problem I've had is that the grains need to be fed every day, or you need to make them dormant, and sometimes that's a little overwhelming. Like having Sea Monkeys or something.

I made water kefir and didn't like it. You have to put sugar (or another sweetener) in to feed the grains and then you have this sweet fermented liquid that doesn't have much in common with milk kefir at all, IMO. Lots of people do like it, though, so it seems worth trying if you like sweet drinks.

Homemade kefir is delicious with berries mixed in.
posted by feets at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am curious. Kefir is fermented. Is an alcohol created by the fermentation? Is that the reason for the "feel good" effect?
posted by Cranberry at 12:44 PM on October 28, 2013

Well, I heard a Radiolab show that says that eating yoghurt makes you happy: Guts, but maybe just having a happy tummy makes you feel good all over.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 2:47 PM on October 28, 2013

A Canadian source is Culture Mother in Saskatchewan. Check out their FAQs and FB page for lots of tips on kefir too!
posted by bluebelle at 8:14 PM on October 28, 2013

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