Why is my milk kefir runny?
How come my kefir has separated into a liquid on the bottom and curds on the top?
How can I make kefir using coconut or soy milk?
What is my finished kefir supposed to taste like?
What kinds of milk can I use to make my kefir?
My grains smell like yeast, is there something wrong?
Do I need a tight lid or a breathable lid?
Why does the kefir need to be kept out of the sun?
What can I do with excess milk kefir?
What can I do with extra kefir grains?
How can I tell if my milk kefir has gone bad?
How long can I store my finished milk kefir?
What is finished kefir supposed to look like?
Can I rinse my grains?
Are my grains ruined if I left them on the counter or in the refrigerator for a really long time?
My grains are huge, how can I separate them/should I separate them?
My grains don’t look like any other grains I have seen before, is there something wrong with them?
Should I keep my milk kefir separate from my other ferments?
I am lactose intolerant, can I drink milk kefir?
I tasted my kefir and I do not like the flavor, what can I do?
Can I use soured milk to make my kefir?
How can I make cheese with my milk kefir?
My grains have fused together, is this OK?
How do I rehydrate milk kefir grains?
What kind of jars/other equipment do I need to have for making milk kefir?
Where can I get milk kefir grains?
If your kefir is not thick, it may be because you have not let it ferment for long enough.
If you let it ferment for longer, and it turns into curds and whey instead of getting thick, it may be because the grains are still adjusting to their new environment.
Your grains will need an adjustment period if you recently received them (less than one month in your home), or if you have recently changed their food source (example: changing them from cow’s milk to goat’s milk). Usually the adjustment period will last for a week but some people have experienced adjustment periods lasting as long as one month.
You should continue to switch out the milk when the kefir tastes tart/sour to you and continue on their feeding schedule. Eventually, if you keep things consistent for them, they will be able to adjust to their environment and make thickened kefir for you.
Please note that some milks may kefir differently than others. Some people have reported that goat milk kefir is more runny than cow’s milk kefir. The same runniness has been noted for coconut milk that is not full fat.
Your kefir is separating into curds and whey. This happens when the kefir is left too long to ferment. For your next feeding cycle you should put more milk, ferment for a shorter period, or remove some of the kefir grains. Alternatively, if it is warmth that is encouraging your kefir to ferment too quickly, move your ferment to somewhere that is cooler.
If you want to make coconut, soy or any alternative milk kefir, please visit this link for a recipe and instructions. All you need are milk/water kefir grains or finished milk/water kefir, it is a simple process!
Finished kefir ranges between slightly sour to strongly sour depending on how long it has been left to ferment. It will be similar to plain yogurt in that it is tart and similar again to plain kefir from the store.
Milk kefir grains feed on mammal milks (example: cow, goat, sheep, etc) but that can also be used to kefir other types of milks like soy, coconut or almond. Kefir grains can be used to kefir or sour any of these types of milks but will only grow and thrive in mammal milks. Click here for a recipe that describes how to make coconut milk kefir (this same process can be used for all the non mammal milks).
If your grains are smelling overly yeasty they may be a bit out of balance. This often happens during shipping when they are starved of food for a couple of days. The best way to remedy this is to be consistent about changing out the milk every 24 hours and in a week they should be back in balance.
Either way works. If you are doing other ferments like Kombucha, it may be a good idea to put a tight lid on your milk kefir to keep the Kombucha spores from entering into your kefir.
Kefir is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Yeast die in sunlight so it is best to keep them out of the sun.
Excess milk kefir can be stored in the refrigerator and used in many different recipes. It can be made into cheese or used in place of buttermilk or yogurt in recipes. Visit our milk kefir recipe page to get more great ideas for using your extra milk kefir.
Extra grains can be dehydrated for long term storage, given to friends and family, eaten or even used as a thickening agent in recipes.
Milk kefir is bad if there is noticeable fuzzy mold growing on it, if there are pink or orange spots on it, or if it has turned pink or orange. Your body knows when it is bad, it should literally be revolting to you if you attempt to ingest it.
There are accounts of some people storing and using milk kefir for years after having put it into refrigeration. The longer it sits, the more sour and alcoholic it becomes. Eventually, if given enough time, it can become vinegary. As long as it does not have signs of turning bad (mold, pink or orange spots), you can continue to use it. Once it turns to vinegar, you may need to find other uses for it than in your smoothies!
Finished kefir, that has been through its adjustment period, thickens and may have the appearance of tiny curds in it. It will pull away from the sides of your jar in one thick mass.
Rinsing of the grains is almost never needed. If you do rinse, rinse with either milk or non chlorinated water and get them back in fresh milk as soon as you can. When you rinse your grains, you get rid of the kefiran surrounding the grains which is thought to help protect them from harmful bacteria while they are culturing your milk.
The only sure way to tell if your grains are still viable is to put them into milk and see if they still work. You should continue the process of changing out the milk every 24 hours for at least one week to determine whether or not they have perished.
Sometimes our grains can grow so big that just one grain is kefiring the milk too quickly. The easiest way to make your grains smaller is to wash your hands and gently pull them apart. You could also cut them using a stainless steel knife or scissors.
Grains come in many shapes and sizes just like we do. Some are flat, some are round, some are large and some are very tiny. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they continue to culture your kefir they are perfect.
Sometimes ferments can cross contaminate. If you have multiple ferments going in a tight space, it may be a good idea to keep the anaerobic ones (those that do not need air to work) tightly covered.
The one issues that pops up multiple times is with Kombucha or other vinegars that are aerobic (need air to ferment) and exposed to the air, getting into other ferments and forming SCOBYs on those other ferments.
In the process of turning milk into kefir, the kefir grains consume and transform the lactose in the milk. This means that if you are lactose intolerant and not allergic to dairy, you can most likely consume milk that has been kefired. Before investing in milk kefir grains, it is a good idea to get a hold of some prepared milk kefir and give it a try. Many people have reported success with lactose intolerance and consuming kefir.
If your kefir is too sour for your taste, you can “water it down” with milk (this will make it more runny), add it to smoothies or use it in recipes. You can also ferment it for a shorter period of time, if you are able to get it right after it thickens it will be much more mild than if you leave it to separate into curds and whey.
Different milks also produce different flavored kefirs. The most sour of the kefirs tends to come from raw milk and the mildest kefirs tend to come from pasteurized milk. Try a couple of different things, if all else fails, put it in a smoothie or ice cream recipe with a healthy amount of fresh fruit.
Sometimes it takes us a bit to adjust to new flavors, so don’t give up, try different things and maybe you will find that it works for you.
Or maybe, milk kefir is not for you. Click here to learn about water kefir, maybe that will be the probiotic drink for you!
Soured raw milk is fine to drink and use after it has soured because raw milk has good bacteria and enzymes in it that continue to make it a healthy food even if it has soured.
Pasteurized milk, however, has had its good bacteria and enzymes destroyed, so it is generally not a good idea to use it to make kefir. It would be a toss up if good or bad bacteria is what has caused it to sour.
Soured milk can change the flavor of the finished kefir, so it is best to do a small batch to see if you like it. If you don’t, just use it in cooking instead, there is no need to toss it!
Milk kefir cheese is simple to make, just follow this recipe for making milk kefir cheese.
Your grains are all friendly and in the event that they join together, it is not a big deal. If you need to separate them just use your fingers to pull them apart or use a stainless steel knife or scissors to cut them apart.
Ideally you will have a couple of jars large enough to hold you grains and milk while kefiring, some more jars for storing your kefir, a wood/plastic/stainless steel spoon for stirring and a wood/plastic/stainless steel strainer for straining.