Milk kefir should be tangy, as well as a little zingy and tart. You may be able to feel some texture, which is the clusters of milk fats, yeasts and bacteria. It’s perfectly normal for some separation to occur – this is the curds and whey becoming apparent. If this happens, simply shake the jar to mix it together. Add cream to your milk kefir to make it thick and creamy, but it’s completely optional.
– Makes 1 litre, (Fermentation time: 3 to 72 hours)
1 litre full-cream (whole) milk
3 tbsp thin (pouring) cream (optional)
2 tsp milk kefir grains
Pour the milk and cream, if using, into a saucepan. Gently warm, without boiling, to body temperature – around 36.5°C, or when you can comfortably leave your (clean!) finger in the milk for 10 seconds.
Put the milk kefir grains in a 1.5 litre wide-mouth glass jar. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir well. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.
Place the jar in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight, and leave the liquid to ferment for 3 to 72 hours, depending on the room temperature and the texture of milk kefir you prefer. Don’t forget to agitate the mixture as frequently as you can.
To bottle, sit a strainer over a 1-litre bowl. Pour the milk kefir through the strainer so the liquid runs into the bowl and the thicker milk kefir is left in the strainer. Using a spatula, gently push the thicker milk kefir through the strainer into the bowl. The milk kefir grains will remain intact in the strainer. Set them aside to re-use or rest.
Pour the milk kefir into a 1-litre glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid, and screw on the lid.
Store the milk kefir in the fridge and enjoy cold. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
This is an edited extract from Probiotic Drinks at Home by Felicity Evans, published by Murdoch Books. $27.99.
Photography: Rob Palmer.
Originally published at Nourish Magazine.
This blog is based purely on my personal experience. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. I am neither a medical nor health professional and I cannot guarantee that the information in this blog post is accurate, reliable or complete. If you use this information, you do so at your own risk and should consult a qualified medical or health practitioner before relying on any information contained in this blog.