I bought mine and had them shipped from kefirlady.com and was very happy with the quality as they arrived here in Hawaii healthy and fresh. Grains should look a bit like cauliflower and have an off white color.
It is always a good idea to check craigslist or kijiji listings to see if there is anyone in your area that is either selling fresh milk kefir grains or is giving them away. Mine grow so fast, that it is difficult for me to find people to take them fast enough! Avoid dried grains if you have the option to get fresh grains. Fresh grains deliver a much superior quality of kefir.
You can use any kind of fresh milk, raw or pasteurized. It will all work. Avoid ultra-pasteurized milk, even if it is of the organic variety, as this milk is “ultra dead” and your kefir grains will starve. Kefir grains respond differently to different milk. Regular pasteurized milk from the store works fine.
A word about non-milks. There is no such thing as “almond milk” it is almond water. Kefir grains will ferment such mediums but they will not grow. Coconut milk is the exception. Milk kefir grains do well in coconut milk and they will grow a little.
- Put all your kefir grains (about 1 tablespoons worth) into a clean glass jar
- Pour 2 cups of fresh milk over them. Cover with a cloth lid secured with a rubber band. Leave undisturbed at room temperature for 24 hours. I like to leave them in a kitchen cupboard.
- When kefir smells pleasantly tart and has solidified a bit (think a little thinner than the consistency of yogurt) it is ready.
- Remove kefir grains with a plastic spoon and place them in a clean glass jar. Never press on kefir grains. Be gentle. Stir up the kefir left in the jar.
Taste the kefir you just made to determine if they need the same amount of milk or more for the next batch. If it is a bit too sour, add a bit more milk to your next batch.
Finished Kefir that has been prepared with the right amount of milk and time looks like the first picture on the left (below). You want to avoid having kefir that looks like the picture on the below right, where it has separated into curds and whey. This means that you added too little milk or left the grains in for too long without switching the milk.
In a week or two you will notice they have grown. As your kefir grains grow, either add more milk each time or remove some of the kefir grains from the culture jar.
Make sure that you use un-chlorinated water to rinse your jars. Chlorine will kill the little dudes. If you only have access to tap water, rinse everything the night before and leave to air dry. The chlorine will dissipate in the air.
The best plan is to only make the amount of kefir you want to drink. That means keeping your population under control by removing the kefir grains from the jar every few days. Eat your extras by blending them in a smoothie.
That’s really all you need to know. Making kefir is simple and fun. But you have to watch them because they will literally eat you out of house and home. Population control is key. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.