All About Kefir


Milk Kefir

>Kefir is a fermented milk, like yogurt, but with more cultures and it’s easier to make at home. I make mine with both raw milk, and if I run out, goat milk from the store. Kefir is not only okay, but excellent for those on the GAPS diet; all the probiotics it contains are excellent for gut healing.  Like Kombucha, kefir ‘grains’ are colonies of beneficial microorganisims and aren’t really grains at all.

Kefir Grains
Kefir fermenting on the counter
After fermentation
Ready to store in the fridge

To make, all you do is let your milk get to room temperature, then add a tablespoon of kefir grains (you can buy them here) per quart.  Close the lid, allow to sit on the counter for 12-24 hours (24 hours if you’re on GAPS), shake gently or stir a few times during culturing.  When the kefir is done, it will taste tangy.  Pour the kefir through a strainer to strain out the grains, then put the grains aside to use again.  Keep the kefir in the fridge and drink as a ‘drinkable yogurt’ or use in your smoothies.

Kefir-strawberry-banana smoothie

Millie, an active encourager on the GAPS yahoo list replied to me when I remarked how easy kefir is to make,

Yes, it’s a billion times easier and a billion times more powerful and effective. Have you seen the list of strains in kefir? It’s huge and includes beneficial yeasts as well as bacterial strains. I think people don’t really understand how great it is. The fact that it doesn’t need to be heated like yogurt shows you how strong the strains are that they can overpower anything already present in the milk and “win” the microbial battle. Yogurt only has 3-5 strains that are weaker so you have to kill off the ones in milk in order for those to thrive. I make yogurt too and love it, but therapeutically speaking, kefir can’t be beat.

Kefir contains dozens of different organisms that use up the lactose in milk, breaking down the milk to be more easily absorbed and leaving an array of health-building organisms that do things such as control yeast outbreaks, B vitamins, and Tryptophan, the amino acid in turkey known to aid in relaxation.  It is a less thick than yogurt, and tastes similar.  Since I received kefir grains a couple weeks ago, we haven’t bothered with yogurt and have switched over entirely to kefir.

The kefir grains will multiply as you use them, and extras can be shared with friends or even blended into smoothies as powerful probiotics.

You can buy Kefir Grains on my resources page

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  1. Debbie in GA says

    I have never made kefir, but have purchased the sugar-laden stuff from the health food store :)

  2. Liz says

    I entered the contest at Cultures for Health, and I subscribe to your feed via Blogger. I’ve never had homemade kefir, but have purchased from a store. =)

  3. Sara says

    I have never had kefir before. I love yogurt so would be very excited to delve into something new in the kitchen.

  4. Cynthia Winter says

    I entered the contest. I love kefir and have made it at home from packets I purchased through the healthfood store. I would love to try the grains though. Thank you!

  5. says

    I just bought some from a health food store for the first time a few weeks ago and really liked it! I think it was plain though and not sugar-laden :) I would LOVE to try making it myself! We eat yogourt everyday with our 3 kiddos but since reading about Kefir, I’m interested in switching or at the very least, incorporating it as an alternative. Thanks for the helpful post for us newbies to Kefir :)

    • Cara says

      I bet there is some un-sugar-laden stuff at the store! I bought peach, though, and it was super sweet! I was surprised :D

  6. Cheryl Rector says

    I have purchased Coconut Kefir at the store several times. I like it, but you are right, it DOES have sugar in it! I would LOVE to be able to make my own even more!

    • Cara says

      Ooo, our store doesn’t have coconut kefir! Yes, it’s unfortunate that even health food stores have most everything very sweet!

  7. Joy G says

    I’ve never had kefir, I’d be interested to try though. I’ve had trouble with making yogurt, and this seems easier.

  8. says

    I’ve made kefir just recently, but my grains do not seem to be multiplying. I have to use low pasteurized milk as raw is not available to me, so perhaps that is the problem.

    • Cara says

      Mine are multiplying, but I think they could be doing better. I’m going to try not putting them in the fridge, but continuously putting them in new milk every day for a week and see what happens! I’ll update when I know. I’d like to have more to share, so I’d like them to multiply faster!

  9. Heather says

    I entered over at Cultures for Health. They are a great company I order my Kombucha SCOBY from them and it has been great!

  10. Stephanie Williams says

    I have a friend who is making kefir water and I really liked it when I tried it. I make kombucha and am getting ready to do the water…maybe if I win this I will be making kefir milk! :-)

  11. says

    I’m so excited to find your website! I subscribed to your RSS feed so I will have your blog delivered to my in-box. Excited to get to know you better!

  12. says

    We love kefir, but my grains are OLD and the kefir often tastes sour. It would be fun to try NEW grains that aren’t hand-me-downs from a friend! But I just made a kefir and honey drink for my youngest since he seems to be having some belly trouble. Kefir is soooooooo easy to make. Love the stuff! We typically make it with raw milk.

  13. elaine says

    I’d love to win more. Have bought it, made it but have stopped for the past months and would like to start again!

  14. says

    Second entry (talking about kefir experience): I have just started making water kefir. I made my 7th batch today, using herbs for flavoring and I LOVE it. I just love water kefir. I have never tried milk kefir, though.

  15. Stevebo! says

    Just entered the Kefir grains contest!

    I remember my Mom making Kefir at home when we were kids…haven’t had it in over 20 years! Looking forward to trying again…

  16. KathleenK says

    We LOVE making kefir. We use it to make smoothies several mornings a week. When I get enough, I strain it and make kefir cheese (similar to ricotta/cream cheese), which we season and use as a dip. I’ve also used it in bread, pancakes, etc. I’d love to see even more ideas.

  17. Jennifer S. says

    I buy raw milk kefir from a local farm. We use it in everything taking the place of milk. I am really looking forward to making my own, especially using coconut milk. Thanks!

  18. says

    I signed up for the giveaway. I have wanted to try kefir for quite awhile, but have had a hard time findng/getting grains. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  19. Ceitllyn says

    Awesome! I tried some coconut kefir, but I am not sure I did it right, then I killed my grains! I would love the chance to do it again, esp since I have started GAPS. I entered once and will let you know about the forwards. Thanks

  20. Ceitllyn says

    For the additional entry:emailed my friends! Hope to get others thinking about other ways to feed their bodies!

  21. Louise says

    I had never tried kefir until this weekend when my friend Sonia (look up about 10 comments!) shared her water kefir with me. I really enjoy it and would love the chance to make some at home. I would have to do water kefir, though, due to my daughter’s milk intolerance.

  22. Susan R says

    I have been sick for several months, culminating with a short hospital stay. My MKG & WKG have starved to death so I would love some to begin again.

    I subscribe to your blog via e-mail.

  23. margaret ruby says

    I entered at Cultures for Health. I have bought commercially made, and made raw milk kefir.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Vanessa says

    I entered at Cultures for Health. I have never made it, but would love to try! I have only ever had the kefir from the store.

  25. Ashley says

    I have not made it myself, but have bought the sugar laden stuff at the store — it is yummy, but I would rather make my own!

  26. says

    I entered at Cultures for Health and subscribed to your feed via email. I have tried commercial Kefir (blueberry is so yummy) and would like to make my own with our blueberries that will soon be ripe!

  27. says

    I have made Kefer from the mixes but never had much luck with the grains I was given, I think maybe they were dead. My family loves kefer. I used to trade our goat milk guy fresh kefer for my sprouted ezekiel bread but we moved.

  28. Christan says

    I don’t know if you’ll count this, but jut today I read about Kefir for the first time in a book I’m reading. It’s something that interested me and I was going to look up to learn more and to attempt to make… and then this post came up! So, no experience attempting yet, but I just learned about it today.


    Coincidence? Perhaps not.

  29. says

    We have been making Kefir with raw milk for about three years. I use it for smoothies every morning plus for soaking my dried beans, grains, and flour.I also started making water kefir about six months ago and that is delicious!! I do a 48hour ferment and have two batches rotating so I can have some everyday.
    I noticed in your photos that it looks like a metal strainer is being used. From all that I have read metal is a no no and can be death to your precious grains. I have a plastic strainer and use a wooden spoon.
    Thanks for the post!

  30. Johanna says

    AH! Metal strainers are bad for Kombucha and Water Kefir [we make both and use plastic mesh or cheesecloth. Wouldn’t they also hurt Milk Kefir grains? Love your demo pics otherwise. I’d love to try to make Milk Kefir, but I’m running out of corners in the kitchen! [different ferments need to be separated by a few feet]

    • Cara says

      I had heard that- But on Dom’s Keir Site he says that stainless (this is stainless) is okay since the stainless is nonreactive and I’m not storing it in the strainer or anything :) But if you have plastic, that’s likely better! I’ve touched my kombucha with metal a couple times (and I don’t remove my rings) and it’s still fine. ~shrug~

  31. Johanna says

    Forgot to add I entered at CFH, that’s how I found my way here! Great site! Compiles all our TF and fermenting interests in one!

  32. Laura says

    I’ve only had kefir made by a Amish farmer that we buy our milk from. I wasn’t impressed with it because it seemed so much more sour than yogurt. But perhaps he just lets his sit longer? I’m inspired to try to make our own now – I had no idea that kefir was so good for you! Thanks for this post.

    • Cara says

      It does entirely depend on how long it’s sat for. And I’ve found that adding extra cream makes it taste sweeter.

  33. says

    We love kefir but i had no idea that it is even more beneficial than yogurt. I just thought it was kind of a yogurt substitute that has different cultures! We purchase the sugary stuff every once in a while when I have a good coupon. We also have the powdered kefir starters. The prep for that is the same as yogurt so its great to know that the real grains don’t require heating the milk first!!

  34. says

    I used to have some kefir grains, but I let them go because it was hard to keep up with them. But now that I have dairy goats and daily access to an abundance of fresh, raw milk, I’d love to give kefir another try!

  35. says

    I just entered my email address at Cultures for Health. I’ve been wanting to try Kefir, but haven’t finished my research.

  36. says

    We haven’t tried kefir yet in our household (even though I’ve read marvelous things about the benefits of kefir) because I have a daughter with a cow’s milk protein allergy.

    Do you happen to know if the dairy proteins are broken down in the fermentation process?

    • Cara says

      Kari, does she do well with goat milk? You can use goat milk. I don’t think the proteins are broken down enough, though the probiotics could help prevent the body from being allergic.

  37. Cristina says

    Just a few months ago I learned to make Kombucha, and I’ve made yoghurt on & off for years, but I really like what you’re saying about Kefir. I’ve been turned off by the price in the grocery store, so we’ve only tried it a few times. Making it ourselves sounds like a great way to incorporate it into our diet! Boy would I like to start soon! Just shared it on FB…

  38. Karen says

    i like making coconut milk kefir…but i have trouble knowing if my grains are still good or not, and wonder if i need to pitch them and get others. (i was on vacation for a while and i’m not sure if i stored them properly) if i win, i’ll either pitch the ones i have and use the new ones, or if i decide they’re still okay, i will give them to a friend. i used to really like store-bought kefir, but now it feels too sweet to me or something… not sure why i don’t like it much anymore. thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Kristina Hicks says

    I love kefir! I try to have a shake everyday. I have tried to make kefir but it always just seemed to watery and didn’t turn out. But I took some grains from a friend, so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. I buy my kefir from the store, which in return can get expensive.

  40. says

    Entered to win. I’ve made kefir many times before, but lost my grains. Have you tried water kefir? That’s fun too.

  41. Jen says

    I have just started making kefir for the family and can’t believe I have only just gotten round to making it-my grains aren’t multiplying quickly enough to keep up with demands!
    Smoothies are so popular,and it is perfect for adding to grain soaking liquid.
    I entered to win, and I subscribe.
    Thank you for all your great information!

  42. Jen says

    I have never before made kefir, but I love the yogurt culture I got from Cultures for Health – no keeping it warm required to do it. I would love to try kefir for all of us, especially for my younger daughter with digestive issues. We have tried the blueberry flavored kefir from the store, and my girls love it, but I would rather make it myself and control the sweetness with honey.

  43. says

    I have made yogurt before, but never kefir. This sounds so much easier! I have purchased the flavored stuff at the grocery store but that’s way too pricey to keep it up.

  44. Lacy says

    We just bought store kefir last week…the plain kind, and are adding it to smoothies. Would love to make my own!

  45. Sarah says

    I actually just made my first batch of kefir two days ago. A friend shared her grains with me and I put them in a quart of raw goat’s milk and it worked just as everyone said it would! I am unsure of how to store the kefir grains when not using them to ferment…suggestions?

  46. says

    Hello – I just subscribed and am very interested in Kefir – I have been going thru GNOWfGLINS ecourse and just learned about Kefir. I am looking forward to making it and using it in smoothees and other things.

  47. Susan says

    I entered the give away! Super excited to try this … have been making yogurt, but have found the heating part to be somewhat of a pain. Love the option not to have to do that, plus all the added benefits of Kefir!

  48. Kerry says

    I entered on the kefir page. I’d love to win this so I can start making my own kefir. Thank you!

  49. Megan says

    Just entered! I bought a kefir starter last week, but I would love to have the grains so I can reuse them.

  50. Jill says

    I’ve actually not tried kefir yet. Although I have read so much about it on the real food blogs! I have been dying to try it, and even have got my picky husband interested in it!! We love homemade yogurt and I’m excited to get into kefir!

  51. Brooke Denison says

    Been wanting to try gains – nonly have used powders so far — I have also email 5 friends

  52. Anita says

    I entered through the Cultures for Health website.
    I’m so glad this is an international competition, as I’m an Aussie!
    all the way from the land down under.
    I love Milk Kefir, & Water Kefir, too.

  53. Kristena says

    I just entered. I have been wanting to introduce kefir to my family ever since having our last baby and researching how to feed her and beginning to try the real food way of feeding my family. It is difficult because my husband is having such a hard time finding work and I am still learning so much.
    Thank you!

  54. Amy R says

    I have made yogurt, but never kefir. I love using store bought kefir in our smoothies though, so I need to try to make it myself!

  55. connie says

    I’ve tried commercially made kefir and it was ok, but my daughter has problems with milk, so I want to try making it to make sure the lactose is used up by the grains before feeding it to her. I bought some live grains, but just kept making new batches over and over and giving them to our pet chickens … I couldn’t seem to move past the fear of leaving food unrefrigerated. :( Eventually, the grains died from neglect after we forgot to replenish the milk. So I”m ready to try again!

  56. says

    I’ve made yogurt several times, and had kefir grains that I passed on to someone else with out using first. >.< I like my yogurt really tangy – so I'm hoping I like kefir!

  57. Carla says

    I entered the contest for the kefir grains. Thanks! I love your posts – I read them on FB. :o)

  58. Michelle says

    I have never had kefir. I was a little leery because it had been described as more of a drink to me. When you described it as drinkable yogurt that made it sound much more appealing. :) I want to try to get more probiotics into our diet and I think this may be it!

  59. says

    I’ve made my own kefir for 5 or 6 years now. Unfortunately, a few months ago we had a mishap and ended up losing most of our grains. (We think the cat ate them…seriously!) We’ve been limping along with one lonely grain that doesn’t seem to want to grow/multiply and that’s hard for a large family that loves smoothies. We’d love to win to replace those we lost and not have to wait so long between smoothie days! :-D

  60. Heidi Sears says

    I am excited to learn how to make kefir! This is one I haven’t tried making yet. Thanks for the drawing! :) I love your site and your fabulous ideas!

  61. says

    My family and I started making kefir about 2 months ago and we love it! I have to make it a gallon at a time because we go through so much! I make popsicles for my kids with it and my husband and I usually have a smoothie every morning for breakfast. We also have a smoothie inplace of dessert after dinner if we get a craving for something sweet. We sweeten it with Stevia instead of sugar, but usually the fruit is enough. My husband made raspberry cherry smoothies last night and I think they might be my new favorite!

  62. says

    Try the smoothies for sure…you can’t even tell it’s kefir. Make him one but don’t tell him…see if he notices. :) 1-1 1/2 cups ok kefir is a good ammount for one person, it fills a regular sized mug. Then we just throw in frozen fruit and blend it up!

  63. Carole via Facebook says

    Could you dehydrate the kefir grains, and if so how would you rehydrate them?