By Diana Earnshaw
Kefir is made by mixing kefir “grains” with milk. The grains are actually the SCOBY – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The origins of kefir seem to be the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. The story goes back to around 3000 BC but no one really knows how the grains came to existence as no one has been able to replicate them. They are an entity just as we are – a mixture of bacteria and yeasts! It is hailed as the king of pro-biotics!
Raw milk is best, but if you don’t have access to this, organic whole milk can be used.
Related article: The wonders of Kefir
- Kefir grains (easy and inexpensive to buy online).
- 500ml raw or organic whole milk
Making the kefir is child’s-play. You put a tablespoon of grains into a glass or ceramic jug/bowl, add about 500ml milk, cover and wait! Leave on a work surface in the kitchen and stir twice daily. How long you wait depends upon how you like it and how warm it is. In the UK in November, it takes my kefir about 36 hours to thicken slightly and develop a fizz. Strain the grains from the kefir which can then be stored in the fridge with about 150-200ml milk for a few days until you make the next batch, or freeze them if you don’t need them for a bit. Nice but not essential is to give it a short secondary fermentation – I usually do and most often use a couple of lemon slices. Store the kefir in the fridge and have a small glass daily or use in ice-cream, smoothies or whatever you like!
As the grains grow and multiply, it would be a good idea to put some in the freezer anyway, in enough milk to cover – in case you have problems with your in-use grains. To reuse – thaw and revive in a little fresh milk for a day before straining and making the kefir.