Kefir / Milk Kefir - The Exotic Bird Amongst All Dairy Products
Frequently Asked Questions about Kefir
Products and Shipping
Unlimited! Our Milk Kefir grains continue to grow and propagate with no end. You may split and cultivate the grains anew as often as you like. Our shipped Kefir drink with “Tibetan Mushroom” (medium packaging unit) is enough for a first batch with 500 ml of milk. Your beverage is ready to drink after about 1-2 days of fermentation. Since the grains are doubling about every 2-4 weeks, the amount of possible Kefir drink increases accordingly. With good living conditions and thorough care, the Kefir grains may service you for a lifetime – all you need is just a small amount for takeoff because it is not about the quantity but the quality of the cultures. We assure you of that we only use fast-growing and high-quality Milk Kefir cultures.
Our Milk Kefir drink with Kefir grains is carefully nurtured exclusively in organic UHT milk. It was therefore awarded the official “Bio” label according to the EG-OEKO-Regulation (eco control authority DE-OEKO-006 / ABCERT AG, Esslingen, Germany). We use organic alpine milk from certified organic farming for our Kefir cultures and the milk comes from acknowledged farmers of the Alpine region only. The animal welfare and natural feeding of the cows in that region are the basis for healthy and tasty milk – this benefits our Kefir right away. UHT milk is the most suitable choice for the nurturing of Kefir for hygienic reasons. The organic Alpine milk we use receives a modern treatment and is heated only very gently. In doing so, the biologically valuable ingredients of the organic milk are being preserved. This method uses just 50% of the regular heating of UHT milk and guarantees for its quality and only best ingredients for our Kefir cultures.
For our full Quality Guarantee with all details please click here. You may also get all information about our products in our online shop.
We are Germany’s oldest supplier for organic Kefir with Kefir grains and do look back on more than 10 years of successful shipping experience by now. Our Kefir cultures are being carefully packed for you just right in time at the date of dispatch. This additional effort guarantees for your culture being sealed no longer than absolutely necessary. Our grains are shipped in fresh UHT milk serving as transport fluid. This way, shipping for several days does no harm but please be advised to open and nurture the Kefir anew right upon delivery – just as described on our Kefir preparation page – and all the better the grains will start their work at your home.
The Kefir culture is hygienically and securely packed in a food-safe plastic bag. The bag does not release any unwanted substances into the Kefir grains and is guaranteed Bisphenol-A free. Your shipment is well protected against shocks and comes in a stable packet.
Of course, we will deliver replacement to you for free in any case of such damage.
Production and Use
On our dedicated Kefir preparation page, we provide a short and easy starter’s guide for your first production of Kefir as well as a detailed how-to manual with many useful tips and tricks. As a matter of course, every Kefir Drink with Kefir grains we ship comes with an additional detailed how-to manual in English language.
This happens virtually by itself. Over time, new Kefir grains develop while the older ones continue to grow and eventually fall apart thus splitting up. For bigger grains, you may even just carefully cut them in half at any time with a plastic knife for example. It is actually better to have many smaller grains instead of only a few big ones because the Kefir culture gets into contact with the fresh milk on a larger surface that way.
Usually Milk Kefir doesn’t get as thick as yoghurt or curd. Its consistency is rather creamy like buttermilk or a yoghurt drink. Therefore, finished Kefir products from supermarkets are almost always made thicker additionally. However, there is a simple trick to get thicker Kefir easily at home: just stir well your batch after one day of fermentation and then leave it untouched for another day (with the grains in it). The stirring gets fresher milk, which has yet not been fully fermented, to the grains. The grains will now work more effectively and your Kefir will become especially thick after an overall of 48 hrs of fermentation. This also improves the wholesomeness of your Kefir because there is almost no lactose left after these 48 hrs but, in return, many more extra lactic acid bacteria and yeasts.
If you prefer your Kefir creamier and more firm, you can of course conveniently thicken it yourself. For this purpose, all natural binding agents suitable for cold binding are ok: Konjac flour, agar agar, locus bean gum etc. – the valuable food supplement soya lecithin (granulated, available in drugstores) is especially recommended. It gives your Kefir a wonderful creamy and full-bodied consistency. Lecithin contains the polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid and has been shown to support a normal level of blood cholesterol. In addition, lecithin is also an important natural source of choline which contributes to a normal function of your liver metabolism.
The Milk Kefir grains come in small chunks at the beginning already and continue to grow maximum up to the size of a cherry. You will soon learn that Kefir rather grows in strings that intertwine spirally clumping together and look like a smaller cauliflower (the bigger chunks) in the end. This structure already breaks apart from simple rinsing in a sieve and also mostly before they have reached the size of a cherry. This is not a bad sign since the grains are no end-to-end organism with organs or the like reaching fully through the body. You may randomly split or even blend it which does no harm to the Kefir. Here, the bigger the chunk the older the inside applies. That is actually why we usually ship only smaller but therefore fresher and younger chunks, for hygienic reasons.
You will soon get bigger chunks if you carefully stir and also carefully rinse off your Kefir grains for a new batch. By the way, it may take up to 2 or 3 weeks before you see bigger chunks, it takes some time for them to grow. If they still remain small it is simply due to the heavier “mechanical stress” you put on them while stirring around in the glass or cleaning them in the sieve. Just be a little bit gentler and your Kefir grains will become bigger over time for sure. A reason for too coarse treatment may often be that too many solid casein components have developed while preparation. This solid, curd-like mass is hard to get off the Kefir grains and mostly occurs in the upper part of a Kefir drink. Helping the growth of bigger chunks, it is better to produce a more fluid Kefir which is therefore easier to be taken off the grains.
Your Kefir becomes less creamy when you either:
- do reduce the amount of Kefir grains or increase the amount of milk. 1 part Kefir grains on 6 parts milk should be the absolute maximum. Your Kefir becomes perfectly fluid and casein-free with 1 part grains on 10 parts milk.
- keep your batch in a cooler place! In winter, there is always less solid casein. Some Kefir fans do even produce theirs in the fridge.
or when you just leave it for two days without stirring at all.
When trying one of these three options, you will see that much less casein develops which may also be easier and more smoothly taken off the grains.
Your fermentation container (e.g. Mason jar) should be cleaned well and rinsed hot in any case for every new batch. Whether you should clean the grains as well every time is still discussed. On the one hand, it is hygienically the safest but on the other hand, it also stresses the grains very much. They may lose stability and pull strings. This is no sign for bad quality but shows that they are dealing with tough living conditions. Therefore, many Kefir fans do clean their grains with every 3rd or 4th batch i.e. about once a week.
Caution is advised when you have bad water quality at home. In Germany and Central Europe, water is usually not chlorinated and rinsing your Kefir grains is without problems. Whereas in other countries it is often recommended not to clean them with tap water due to the bad water quality, which may be quite correct. In this case, please use some still mineral water from the bottle or a dash of fresh milk for that purpose.
Normally, Milk Kefir is a strong community (symbiosis) of yeasts and bacteria that can defend itself very successfully against contamination by other microorganisms. Spoilage is virtually impossible if you reasonably follow the basic rules for Kefir production, especially for hygiene.
A clean chunk of Kefir grains looks like a nice and clearly structured mini cauliflower. Also, the fresh and slightly sour, yeasty smell of your finished Kefir drink is a good sign for that your Milk Kefir culture has started working. If your finished beverage smells musty or behaves otherwise weird, please pour away the whole batch for safety reasons. Then rinse your Milk Kefir grains in a sieve and start anew.
This is usually not a lack of quality but goes away by itself with time. The “Tibetan Mushroom” reacts to stress and new environments with an increased formation of strings. Just wash your Kefir grains carefully before your next batch but please make sure not to clean them every single time in the future. It is better to stir your finished drink well before you take out the grains again. This way, the solid components of the milk are much easier to detach from the grains which are then already clean when taken out of the batch. It is enough in most cases to rinse your Kefir grains once a week and or for every 3rd or 4th batch.
Whenever you produce Milk Kefir yourself at home, you will notice that the taste changes slightly every time: you may have to experiment a little bit with the ingredients, the season, amount of Kefir grains per glass and the temperature etc. until your beverage tastes the way you like it best. One factor of many is that your Kefir tastes more yeasty when stored in a cooler place. If it is stored in a warmer place (also in summer), it becomes more sour and contains less yeast flavor. But this is actually what makes it so exciting: it’s a living piece of nature that changes and adapts, not a sterile finished product.
By the way: genuine Kefir is usually not available in stores. You will find the name affix “Kefir, mild” on mostly all of such Kefir products. They may only be limitedly compared to genuine Kefir. For industrial Kefir, suppliers use an isolated culture which is easier to process providing a steady taste and consistency throughout; especially the yeast flavor is mostly missing.
You should keep your finished Kefir drink in the fridge and drink it within a few days just like opened milk or yoghurt. Since your small friend produces Kefir practically overnight, you’re always supplied with fresh Kefir.
In case you can’t set up a new batch for 4 or 5 days, you may just store your Kefir in a cool place in your home for the time being. If you want to go on vacation for a longer time, a “Kefir mentor” is the best solution. He or she should provide your Kefir culture with fresh milk every 3-4 days. If that is not possible, your Kefir grains may survive a longer break in your fridge as well. Keep them fully covered in a mix of milk and maybe some milk sugar (available in drugstores) and use a capping which is not completely airtight. When you return home and want to start a new culture, please pour away the old milk in any case and set up a fresh culture medium. It may take some batches until your Kefir grains will have recovered to full extent.
Some Kefir fans do also freeze or even dry them when they go on vacation risking that their culture may not revitalize at all – which we do not recommend.
Your Kefir grains are most comfortable at around 16-20 degrees. They can withstand several hot summer days without any problems because they are trained by us for that. However, they may be very grateful for a cooler place in summer as well. Milk Kefir likes it a bit cooler in general compared to Kombucha and Water Kefir which start working best at warmer temperatures. That’s why we have a proven tip for you for the hottest days of the year: simply use milk from the fridge for half of your batch so that your new Kefir culture medium will have about 10-15 degrees initially. It will benefit the grains to work a bit cooler for some hours also yielding a more balanced taste. This extra effort is not necessary if it doesn’t get hotter in your home than 23-24 degrees anyway.
Note: All information and tips on our website have been selected and verified by us with great care. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee for the currency, completeness and validity of the given data. We assume no liability for any damage and or accidents.
When following our recommendations, tips, and notes, please also use your own personal judgment and experience in the proper and safe handling of food.