Saturday, September 3, 2011
There are several ways to make homemade kefir but the way I've been doing it is a little more frugal and a lot less talked about.
You can buy kefir grains which will cost you up front and you'll have to pay shipping ($15 to $25) unless you have a GREAT friend who will give you some. (I have one of those and I'm very grateful for her!) Making it this way produces a very strong flavor and you have to take good care of your grains- or you'll lose them!
The 2nd way is to buy the kefir powder from your local health food store. This will be around $10 to $15 and you'll get enough to make 6 quarts. You can re-culture with it a few times but it fizzles out and you do have to heat your milk and all of that, like you do with yogurt.
Now, this 3rd way that I've come to love because of its ease and frugality, is culturing like you would buttermilk. Do you remember when all of those coupons were floating around for Lifeway kefir? Well, way back then I bought a bottle of it and I've kept a culture going from it since, just as I would buttermilk. I pour about 1/4 cup in a mason jar and top it off with milk. I allow it set at room temp and/or on the warm stove for 12 to 24 hours and it cultures up very nicely. Curdy. And it has a very pleasant, almost sweet taste. Mmm.
I don't yet know exactly how long this can go, but so far, it's lasted months now. My buttermilk usually doesn't do this well as it will get very very thick after about 2 months of using.