How to Make Kefir
Making kefir begins with its grains. These grains are made of a casein core surrounded by proteins, lipids, and sugars with bacteria and yeast living, symbiotically, on the surface. The live cultures and bacteria will vary, but are primarily made up of lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and acetic acid bacteria. These grains are fermented with milk for about 12 to 24 hours. During the kefir-making process, two fermentations occur at the same time: fermentation of lactose (lactic acid fermentation) and the fermentation of kefir grains from yeast (alcoholic fermentation). After straining the grains, the final product has a smoothie-like appearance with a sour and carbonated taste, similar to drinkable yogurt.
For those interested in making it at home, a starter kit or kefir grains and milk are needed. Kefir starter kits, containing freeze-dried bacteria, can be found online or at select grocery stores. Kefir grains, which can be used repeatedly, can mostly be found online and at select stores as well. But don’t worry, you don’t have to make kefir at home to get the benefits, you can find kefir, plain and flavored in the dairy aisle of grocery stores.
Whether home-prepared or store-bought, kefir can be enjoyed in numerous ways. Try having it on it’s own in a glass, poured into cereals like milk, or us it as a substitute for milk or yogurt in recipes for smoothies, parfaits, bubble tea drinks, pancakes, and milkshakes. With the fermentation process, it is also lactose-free!