I was gifted some milk kefir grains this morning and wanted to brew some up right away! The grains are the cultures that sit in the milk and ferment it. Basically they live by eating the sugars in the milk, which is why it's tart when it's done. The process is a simple one:
STEP 1: Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of grains into a clean quart sized mason jar. Fill jar with milk to the base of the threads (so you've put approx. 1 qt of milk in there). You can use raw or pasteurized whole milk, just don't use ultra-pasteurized, that stuff is so dead that nothing will happen and you might even kill your grains. Place a coffee filter over the top of your jar, using just the metal band (or a rubber band) to keep it on there tightly. Then wait about 8 hours, depending on the temp of your kitchen and give it a stir. If it's thickened to a runny yogurt consistency...you're done! If not, wait up to two days to achieve said consistency. Strain your grains out, plop them into a new jar, and repeat!
Here's the process with pictures:
Check out the cultures...they look like clear gelatinous bits of cauliflower, kinda weird
My semi dark "fermenting corner"
Close up of grains after fermenting finished
Oh, and grains grow and multiply. Remember they are live cultures! Pretty soon you'll have enough to give away to friends and family. If they all think you're cracked in the head and don't want them (silly them) then throw some extras into your blender the next time you're making a smoothie to give it an extra probiotic kick! :)
The Kefir turned out...just ok. I let it go too long...about a day and a half. I probably should've stopped the process after 24 hours...I'll do that next time! The milk itself had a kind of separated and gloppy texture that I found not very appealing...a sure sign that I let it go too long as the whey separates from the milk. I'll try making yogurt next...I think that's a ferment I could handle more taste-wise. I will try to put this in a smoothie though...the health benefits are supposedly amazing and I want to give it the old college try before deciding it's a bust! I'll make sure to report back on this one...