Kefir from the Home Dairy

Once the milk is up to room temperature, a few tablespoons of grain-filled starter are added.

We’re lucky to have a go-to person with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to natural foods. My mother in law Jane had an awakening similar to ours when she had my husband’s oldest sister. She began to see the importance of nutrition and how she could set her kids up for a healthy life. Her journey was probably not as easy as ours. “Health food” was a hippie notion, as the general population was still in awe of the convenience of the T.V. dinner.

Jane bought a goat and started milking it to feed her children. She also made yogurt, has been baking her own bread, gardening, sprouting grains and more for years. If we ever need advice, we know where to turn.

It’s stirred, covered with a few layers of cheesecloth, and then allowed to ferment. Is it a coincidence it looks like a shepherd to me?

A few years ago she discovered kefir and its many benefits. Kefir is an ancient fermented milk that is said to be discovered by shepherds who kept their milk in leather pouches. Although similar to yogurt, Kefir has a different blend of bacteria, as well as some yeast. These cultures work on the milk at room temperature and create an effervescent and lightly alcoholic drink that has the consistency of runny yogurt. After you drink it, the cultures work together in your gut to help your body fight off pathogens like intestinal parasites and E. coli.

The grains are strained out and it’s ready!

Instead of continuing to purchase a tiny, overpriced container of kefir at the grocery store, Jane decided to make it herself. She started by trying dried starter culture, adding it to room temperature milk and letting it ferment overnight. After some research she purchased live kefir grains, which look like a chunk of sea salt, and can now make kefir by simply adding them to her milk. The grains grow with use and are strained out after each batch. They have been said to have been passed down from generation to generation, so she is pretty much all set, she just needs to keep buying milk.

If you want to make your own dairy products, a great starting point is Ashley English’s Home Dairy. We’re huge fans of her Homemade Living series, so we were pretty excited when she sent us Home Dairy. Since she includes a section on kefir, we passed the book on to Jane and she asked to hold onto it since it had some details that were left out of other guides. She’s planning on trying out some of the cheese recipes, and I know my father-in-law has a DIY project on his hands with the homemade cheese press plans.

Jane ordered the grains online and was fermenting right away. Kefir couldn’t be simpler to make, and it probably couldn’t be any healthier for you. It’s safe for lactose-intolerant people and it’s got an exciting and bubbly flavour. Pick up some starter or grains and get fermenting. Or simply make your own grains with that goat leather you’ve been wondering what to do with.

7 comments

  • Do you drink it? or eat it like yogurt? I'm interested in the taste!

  • Thanks for the great idea. I have been making my yogurt for a while, but haven't tried kefir yet. I spent some time at a place in costa rica where the kefir was made fresh every day and often blended with fresh fruit — it was drinkable but also great as a spread on pancakes or with granola.

  • @mary anne You're supposed to drink it. It doesn't get thick like yogurt. I don't think. My mom's is just a bit thicker than milk.

  • Thanks for doing this post! I just started making it myself 6 months ago after having a lot of digestion issues. I was always bloated and felt crappy after I ate anything and having a daily cup of kefir has done wonders. I really recommend it for anyone. I'm not crazy about the taste on it's own, so I add agave, maple syrup, or lemon curd to mine with fruit. The cultures themselves have a texture like tapioca, it's yummy.

  • I've been making it for a few months now and thinking that someone should do a simple introduction to kefir blog post (because most sites talking about kefir are so intimidating, when it's quite simple). I would love to see you do one!

  • Seller talks about growing kefir is like art, but the kefir that i got from him was flat. After readind on “DOM'S KEFIR” site i believe the grain was squeezed by the “Seller” ouch !

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