Friday, June 8, 2012

milk and water kefir grains: how to

Please bare with me, this might be a bit of a marathon post.

It was brought to my attention, via Joel from his bosses wife, to check out Kefir.

I've seen recipes using Kefir, but never really looked into it.

I am so glad that I have been prompted - thank you dear reader!

Since looking into it, I have heard so many variations on pronouncing 'Kefir'. I have heard 'kee-fur', 'ka-fear', 'kee-fa'. But my supplier of the grains sent me her wealth of knowledge on the how-tos, along with a pronouciation of 'keh-fear'. 
So that's how I will say it.

When I searched on how I could get my hands on some Kefir grains, it came quickly to my attention that it needs to be passed on from person to person, as live culture cannot be mass produced and sold commercially as the shelf life is so variable.

On my favourite Raw Food website there was a contact for a woman who sells the live cultures, and provides a booklet of information on keeping and using the grains.

I got in contact with her and within the week, I had some of my own Kefir grains. 

I was so excited by the time they arrived!

I ordered 2 types of Kefir Grains:

Organic Live Caucasion Kefir Grains (Milk Kefir)
Organic Japanese Water Kefir Crystals/Tibicos (Water Kefir)

Now, the nitty gritty.


“KEFIR” comes from a Turkish word which means “FEEL GOOD” due to over-all sense of health and well-being when consumed.

"Kefir is a living relationship, a symbiosis of a number of bacteria and yeast which form grains or cauliflower-like structures. These living organisms ferment milk/water into the living food Kefir. The Kefir drink is lactic acid – alcoholic fermented milk. 
Kefir grains are a biological production centre. Living foods like Kefir help detoxify, support and balance digestion, and help in building up the immune system to counteract negative influences.
During the fermentation process the Kefir grains change normal milk/water in to the Kefir beverage. Lactic acid, ethanol, acetic acid, carbon dioxide and other compounds are produced as well as vitamins. 
The delicious microbiological living food Kefir can be very helpful in regenerating the bowel flora and works wondrously in this way."

Proof is in the numbers, right? Here are some basic figures that you can compare other pro-biotic sources with.
A man-made probiotic supplement in pill form has around 15 billion bacteria. Bacteria in pill form are in a dormant cycle. The bacteria in both kefir and yogurt are alive and thriving, so they are much more fit to adapt to sudden changes in environment as they enter the body.

Around 500 mL of fresh yogurt has around 1.5 trillion beneficial organisms.

At around 500 mL of refreshing Kefir, you get up to 5 trillion beneficial, friendly bacteria.

How can a pro-biotic pill win against that, while being more expensive?

For us cheapskates you get Kefir naturally for just a few dollars, and they will last you a life time.


Milk Kefir is suitable for people who have allergies to milk products as the fermentation process feeds on the sugars (lactose) that the body cannot easily digest.
You combine the grains with milk (or milk substitute of your choosing) to create a drinking yogurt within 24 hours, or cheeses/creams with longer fermentation.
If you are using a milk substitute, you will need to ensure that you feed the grains every 3-4 cycles with cows or goats milk, as the culture grows best in this environment.
Any tools/utensils that you use, ensure that they are not metal as the metals react with the live cultures.

Basic Recipe

2 tsp Organic Live Caucasion Kefir Grains
1 c organic cows milk or alternative, warmed (not in a microwave)

Pour milk into a sterilized jar, add kefir grains and stir.
Cover with a muslin cloth/chux cloth and fasten with a rubber band.
Cover the jar with a tea towel and set aside in a warm dry place for 24 hours, shaking the jar regularly.
After the 24 hours you will notice that the curds have separated. You can either drain out the whey, or stir up the contents to combine.
Strain through a plastic or porcelain strainer into a glass jar for storage.
Set aside the grains for your next batch (which you will need to start immediately).
You can store the drinking yogurt in the refrigerator for up to 5 weeks - however for maximum benefits it is recommended that you consume within a week.

Tip: if you find that the drinking yogurt is a little lumpy, you can blend it up in a blender until smooth.

Health Benefits

-Improves digestion and cuts the risk of stomach upsets
-Cleans the gastrointestinal tract and helps detoxifies the body helps prevent bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis helps protect children against allergies may even reduce the risk of colon cancer useful for older people, bolstering levels of 'friendly bacteria' which dwindle with age

-Benefit those on antibiotics, replacing 'good bacteria' killed off indiscriminately by the drugs
-Clears the body of salts, heavy metals, radio nuclide's and alcoholic products
-Good bacteria in kefir are able to fight off pathogenic microorganisms
-Natural remedy against allergies 
-Treats Ringworm and fungal infections 
-Treats gallbladder, dissolves gall bladder stones 
-Cleans the body of chemical antibiotics and replenishes body of good bacteria
after antibiotic 
-Normalizes metabolism thereby can be used as for weight loss 
-Cures acne 
-Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties 
-Nourishes hair 
-Regulates blood pressure and lowers blood sugar 
-Helps with constipation and diarrhea 
-Treats yeast infection 
-Eliminates vaginal odours 
-Helps with stomach cramps 
-Treats kidney stones 
-Lowers level of LDL cholesterol 
-Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treats gastritis 
-Improves the human immune system and body functions 
-Cures Candida and Thrush 
-Cures hypertension 
-Stops growth of cancer cells 
-Treats eczema 
-Helps with inflammatory diseases
-Boosts the bodies energy and it’s a natural feel good food


You can combine the Water Kefir grains in a ‘sugar’ water solution to create a far more superior and complex pro-biotic drink.
The sugar is vital in this as the Kefir grains need the sugars to feed on and ferment.
The process can take from 24-72 hours depending on the level of fermentation that you desire. The longer you leave it, the more ‘fizzy’ it becomes.
Kefir Water has a mild refreshing sour kind of flavour. Sort of like Lemonade without all the added sugars and preservatives.
There are so many different varieties of ‘fizzy’ drinks that you make with the Kefir Water. I will be experimenting and sharing my finds with you.

Basic Recipe

2 tblsp Organic Japanese Water Kefir Crystals/Tibicos (Water Kefir)
  ½  tblsp naturally dried fruit (I used some dehydrated banana I had from a recent batch)
thin slice of organic non waxed  lemon (fresh from the garden if possible)
1 ½  tblsp coconut sugar (any raw sugar will work)
2 cups spring water (we have rain water)
½ clean egg shell (sterilize egg shell by boiling in water for 10 minutes)
pinch of bi-carb soda
few fresh mint leaves (optional)
·        very small piece of washed limestone rock (if you have access to some)  

Combine all ingredients into a sterilized jar (4L), add kefir grains and stir.
Cover with a muslin cloth/chux cloth and fasten with a rubber band.
Cover the jar with a tea towel and set aside in a warm dry place for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours you will notice that the water is bubbly and aerated. 
Strain through a plastic or porcelain strainer into a glass jar for storage. Ensure that you seal the jar so the water remains light and bubbly.
Set aside the grains for your next batch (which you will need to start immediately).
You can store the water in the refrigerator for up to 2 months - however for maximum benefits it is recommended that you consume as soon as possible.

Health Benefits

-Live pro-biotic
-Gives energy and improves metabolism
-Has youthful effects on the body cells - it is the only pro-biotic culture known to contain co-enzyme Q10
-Strengthens heart - Q10
-Inhibit cancer cell growth
-Replace antibiotics in asthma and respiratory inflammations
-Clear nose and gives relief from symptoms of cold and flu, also headaches
-Effective arthritis relief - glycoronic acid
-Lowers blood sugar
-The strongest natural detoxifier known - it works stronger than Milk Kefir Grains or Kombucha

Milk and Water Kefir before fermenting

Jars covered from light to ferment

Grains left after straining

I have so much information gathered on Kefir, and am happy to share this with you. Just get in touch with me and I’ll email you all the info.


  1. I look foward to getting your grains and trying this. Ill share my feedback on here for all of you interested, Grace xx

  2. Ooh very cool Jena :) I'm getting started on fermenting all the things and have just ordered some Ziili to add to our milk. It's supposed to help add back in those enzymes that get destroyed through pasteurisation. There's so much to know about all this stuff! Makes me go cross eyed.
    Trin xx

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