Saturday, September 3, 2011

Frugal Kefir....

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.


ValerieAnn said...

I LOVE kefir! A friend of mine gave me some grains close to a year ago that she got from her brother who lives in Puerto Rico. I have shared these grains over and over again as they keep multiplying.I have never tried to just pour some kefir in some milk without the grains, so I am going to have to try it.

Donna said...

Grains from Puerto Rico?!?! How exciting! I love kefir too- very much! And the more curdy, the better!

I was given some grains about a year ago. I dried & froze some and killed my live ones. :-( I haven't been able to successfully revive my dried and frozen ones. (taste is wayyyy off)

Do you find the taste to be very strong from your grains?

ValerieAnn said...

The taste can be a bit strong if I leave it too long, but I also add flavored yogurt to it, so it is not too bad. But it definitively has that effervescent zing to it.
I have frozen the grains, but have never dried them. It takes time to prove the grains once they are thawed, but you can do that successfully. I read that you should put powdered milk on them when you freeze them, this was they are protected from freezer burn. Maybe that is what happened to yours.

If you want some grains I can send you some. I have mailed them to a friend one other time and they made it ok.

Donna said...

ValerieAnn, that would be awful kind of you!

Perhaps I did freezer burn them. I didn't do the powdered milk thing, but I had dried them first.

Its so neat how they can work! I love to use kefir in my baking to! They seem to fluff everything up more. :-)

ValerieAnn said...

Hey Donna,

If you do want some kefir grains, let me know where to send them and they will be on their way!


Donna said...

Oh how sweet!
Can you email me at and I'll give you my addy?