CULTURE STARTS WITH A K: Fermented Foods Made Easy Part Two: DO YOU KEFIR?

Get Cultured: fermented foods and drinks have been consumed around the world for centuries-if not millennia.  In every country and every climate, you’ll find one of these ‘cultured’ creations using whole food ingredients favoured locally. Recently, these dishes have hit the headlines, as well as the trendiest menus around.  The secret? Once you get going, they’re incredibly simple. Kids will also love getting involved in this fun mixture of science and cooking–and eating and drinking!


Kefir is a fermented milk drink, similar to yogurt but easier to pour and with a slightly more tangy taste.  Consumed the world over for thousands of years, kefir is so popular in Scandinavian countries that you can find over five different variations in most food markets.  The magic of kefir is that once you get it started at home, it’s a gift that keeps on giving! A single batch will continue to ‘grow’ and culture every time you move the grains into fresh milk– Or if dairy’s not your thing, change it up and try a batch of delicious vegan coconut milk kefir.  Cool and refreshing as a drink on a hot day, or poured over granola in the morning, Kefir is incredibly versatile. Give it a go!

These instructions use a starter culture known as milk kefir grains, rehydrated and ready to make milk kefir. 



  • Glass jar
  • A non-metal stirring utensil
  • A breathable cover for the jar such as a tight-weave towel, butter muslin, paper towel, or paper coffee filter
  • A band to secure the jar cover to the jar like a rubber band or canning jar ring

A fine mesh plastic strainer – to remove the kefir grains when finished


  • 1-2 teaspoons active Milk Kefir GrainsCow or goat milk ( or see the vegan alternatives below!)
  • Cow or goat milk ( or see the vegan alternatives below!)

Step 1
Place the active kefir grains into up to 4 cups of fresh milk.

Step 2
Cover the container with a coffee filter or muslin and hold in place with a rubber band or jar ring.

Step 3
Put the mixture in a warm place, 68°-85°F, to culture.

Step 4
Leave until milk is slightly thickened. This should take about a day, but might be faster in a warmer climate… so keep a close eye on your grains.

Step 5
When the milk thickens, separate the grains from the finished kefir.

Step 6
Remove the kefir grains and put them in a new batch of milk.
Using a plastic mesh strainer
: push the grains through the strainer with a silicone spatula or plastic spoon.  In a bowl:  Scoop out the grains using a plastic or wooden spoon. Once they’ve been removed, pour the finished kefir into a container and refrigerate.

Step 7
Keep the finished kefir cool in the fridge.




Strict vegans who prefer not to use grains cultured in milk may skip to the last section (water kefir grains). This option uses Milk Kefir Grains and Coconut Milk–you can use homemade coconut milk or canned– just avoid additives and sweeteners, as they can interfere with culturing.  Guar gum (added to coconut milk) is fine.


  • Activated Milk Kefir Grains
  • Coconut Milk

Step 1
Place the kefir grains in the coconut milk

Step 2
Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon (do not use metal here).

Step 3
the container with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, secured by a rubber band.

Step 4
at room temperature, 68°-85°F

Step 5
tart checking the kefir after 12 hours.  Check it every few hours, until it has reached the desired consistency.

Step 6
the milk kefir grains and place in a new batch of milk. 


Kefir grains may need an adjustment period, and the first batch of coconut milk kefir may not culture as desired. Just place them in a fresh batch of coconut milk.  If kefir grains are switched from one type of milk to another (cow to goat, pasteurized to raw, dairy to coconut, etc.), they may require an additional adjustment period.


Milk kefir grains can be cultured in coconut milk regularly, but try to revitalized them in dairy milk for 24 hours once every few batches.


This option is completely dairy-free.

  1. Add ¼ cup water kefir (finished kefir, not the water kefir grains) to 2-4 cups coconut milk.
  2. Cover loosely and culture for 24 hours.

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