Nov 20, 2019

Grow Kefir Grains

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Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is similar to yogurt. It’s made using live cultures called kefir grains. If you want to grow kefir grains of your own, acquire some active grains and then multiply them by fermenting several batches of kefir consecutively. Once your grains begin to multiply, keep going until you have a sufficient amount of kefir grains for your purposes. Then, use them to make multiple batches of kefir, store them for future use, or even give them away to help others get started with kefir!

===Multiplying Kefir Grains===
#Acquire some kefir grains to get started. Order kefir grains online or get some from a friend who makes kefir. Try to get at least 1-2 tbsp (12-24 g) of kefir grains so you have enough to make a good-sized batch of kefir.<ref>>
#*There are tons of websites that you can order kefir grains from online. Just do a quick search in a search engine using keywords like “buy kefir grains” or “order kefir grains.”
#Combine kefir grains with whole animal milk in a clean glass jar. Pour 4 cups (946.35 mL) of whole animal milk, such as cow, goat, or sheep milk, into a clean glass jar. Gently drop in 1-2 tbsp (12-24 g) of kefir grains.<ref></ref>
#*Kefir ferments faster in hotter temperatures, so if you are trying to grow kefir grains during warm summer months, 1 tbsp (12 g) will most likely be enough. If you are trying to grow kefir grains during a cooler time of year, use 2 tbsp (24 g).
#Cover the jar with a clean, tightly-woven cloth secured with rubber bands. Use a clean cloth that is tightly woven but will still allow some airflow into the jar. Place it over the jar’s opening and slip a rubber band around it to hold it to the jar’s rim.<ref>>
#*If you don’t have a suitable cloth to cover the jar with, you can use a paper towel instead. A cheesecloth also works perfectly.
#Leave the jar in a warm place for 12-24 hours to ferment. Place the jar in an area where it is at least and where it will not receive any direct sunlight. Leave the mixture for at least 12 hours until it has thickened, separated slightly, and started to smell tangy and fermented.<ref>>
#*The time it takes to ferment depends greatly on the temperature. If the mixture does not ferment after 24 hours, the spot you put the jar in is not warm enough.
#*If you are looking for a good warm place in your home to put the mixture during cooler months, try putting it in a closet near your hot water heater if you have one.
#Stir the kefir with a rubber or plastic utensil. Remove the cloth from the jar’s opening. Stir the mixture gently with a rubber spatula or plastic spoon.<ref>>
#*It’s not recommended to let kefir come into contact with metal as it can have adverse effects on the bacteria cultures.
#Pour the kefir through a plastic strainer into a container. Place a plastic strainer over top of a clean jar or sealable plastic container. Slowly pour out the fermented kefir through the strainer until all the liquid has drained into the jar or container. You’ll be left with the kefir grains in the strainer.<ref>>
#*The liquid that you strained out is fully fermented kefir that you can [[Eat Kefir|eat]] or drink.
#Repeat the process until the grains start multiplying. Kefir grains will start to grow and multiply after you use the same grains for several batches of kefir. Keep making batches of kefir with the grains you are left with after each batch until you see that you have more grains than you started with.<ref>>
#*There’s no way to know exactly how many batches you need to make until the grains start to multiply. Kefir grains are living organisms and the exact conditions you are attempting to multiply them in will affect how rapidly they grow.
#*If the grains are getting larger but not multiplying, you can rub them gently between your fingers to break them up. This will give the grains more exposure to the milk and encourage them to multiply.
#*Once you have grown the amount of kefir grains you want, you can either use them to make multiple batches of kefir at a time or store extra grains for future use.

===Storing Kefir Grains You Grow===
#Store kefir grains in fresh milk in the fridge for up to 1 month. Put your extra kefir grains into a clean glass jar and cover them with fresh milk. Seal the jar and put it in the fridge. Strain the kefir grains and change the milk every week.<ref>>
#*This will put the grains into a sort of hibernation and is a good option if you want to take a break from making kefir for a few weeks. After about a month, make a new batch of kefir to bring the grains out of hibernation and keep them active.
#Freeze kefir grains in fresh milk for up to 6 months. Put your extra kefir grains into a clean, sealable plastic container. Pour in enough fresh milk to cover them, put the lid on the container, then place it at the back of the freezer.<ref></ref>
#*It’s possible for kefir grains to stay alive while frozen longer than 6 months, but to be on the safe side it’s best to thaw them out and use them to make a new batch of kefir after 6 months. This will activate them and help keep them alive.
#Dry kefir grains out and store them in zip-top bags with powdered milk. Spread out your extra kefir grains on a few layers of paper towels on a clean baking sheet or other flat surface. Let them dry for 3-5 days until they shrink and look more yellow, then place them in a sealable plastic bag. Pour in enough powdered milk to cover the grains.<ref></ref>
#*You can store dried kefir grains in this way for up to 3 months in a cool, dark place or for up to 6 months in the fridge or freezer.
#*Make sure to let the grains dry in a low-traffic area where they are not likely to get contaminated. Inside of a clean cupboard or on an out-of-the-way shelf are good places.
#Give extra kefir grains away if you have more than you will ever use. Give the gift of kefir to your friends and family by giving away extra grains that you have grown and know you won’t use. Teach them how to make kefir, grow kefir grains, and store the grains to keep the kefir alive and well!<ref>>

==Things You’ll Need==
===Multiplying Kefir Grains===
*Glass jar
*1-2 tbsp (12-24 g) of kefir grains
*4 cups (946.35 mL) of whole animal milk
*Clean cloth or paper towel
*Rubber band
*Rubber or plastic stirring utensil
*Plastic strainer

===Storing Kefir Grains You Grow===
*Glass jar
*Fresh milk
*Sealable plastic container
*Paper towels
*Baking sheet or other flat surface
*Zip-top bags
*Powdered milk



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