How to make homemade kefir

How to make your own kefir

Kefir is a fermented dairy drink. It somewhat reminds drinkable yogurt. It tastes sour and contains a good load of beneficial bacteria. You might have heard about it, and maybe even tried it. I will tell you how to make kefir at home without any special ingredients or tools. But firstly, why should you even bother making kefir?

Benefits of kefir

Kefir is made with bacterial culture starter. Most of web articles will mention the “grains”, but in fact your starter can be made of some kefir leftovers! I’ll get to that in a minute. There are multiple types of microorganisms in this starter. These microorganisms are actually probiotic, so they help our body to:

  • boost immune system
  • improve digestion
  • help with leaky gut syndrome

And that’s just the tip of the “kefir benefits” iceberg. Dr. Axe and Healthline are talking about kefir and so do many others!

Here in Russia kefir is sold everywhere. It is a common product, a traditional one in a way. So why do I bother and make my own kefir?

Frankly, it’s for the sake of family budget. Since we drink kefir on a daily basis, I was trying to find a way to cut costs, plus it is rather challenging to find fresh kefir in grocery stores in the city of Sochi.

Caution: some say, that homemade kefir is not safe and can make you sick. I have not encountered any issues myself, but feel obliged putting this warning message in front of you.

How to make kefir at home

Kefir starter from leftovers

1. Starter

Bacterial starter is the “heart” of kefir. Technically, it can be in several forms:

  • Kefir grains
  • Powdered starter in a pouch
  • Kefir leftovers

I decided to use the latter for my kefir starter and it worked just fine.

How to make kefir at home

2. Milk

Kefir starter is mixed into milk environment where microorganisms will be multiplying. Some would say you need to use freshest milk possible, heat it up to 70 C, then cool it down to 30 C and only then add your kefir starter. From my own experience I can say: I tried mixing in cold kefir leftovers into cold milk straight from the fridge, and I did not have any problems with fermentation. One most important rule: do not use ultra pasteurized milk.

Fermenting kefir at home

3. Time

If making your own kefir from the leftovers, you need to mix it in proportion 1:10. So for 1 l of milk you’d need 100 ml of kefir. Mix it, leave at room temperature and wait. Of course multiple factors may affect the speed of fermentation: room temperature, milk temperature, the quality of the culture starter. In my own experience, it takes somewhere between 12 and 24 hours fro kefir to be “done”.

How do you know when it’s done? Well, when your mixture becomes fairly thick, similar do drinkable yogurt texture, your kefir is ready. Stir it, close it and store in the fridge.

And now you can use your homemade kefir as a starter for the next batch. Over, and over, and over again.

How to make your own kefir

Home made kefir
Prep time
Total time
Kefir is a healthy probiotic drink. You can make it at home with some store bought kefir leftovers.
  • 1 l milk
  • 100 ml kefir
  1. Mix kefir leftovers into milk, stir well.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a glass container, cover with cheesecloth and leave at room temperature for a day.
  3. Once kefir is fermented, close it and store in the fridge.

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