Photos and instructions for making homemade kefir

Kefir grains, and a fresh, clean jar!

If you've already read my general article about kefir, then you may be interested in more specific instructions about making your own!

There are so many ways of making kefir, and there's almost no wrong method! Some people like to culture their grains for 12 hours, and some for 24, or more. Some people like to tighten the lid on the jar of fermenting kefir (be sure to leave extra air space in there if you do, so the jar doesn't burst!), making a fizzy kefir. Some people use raw cow's milk, others use goats milk or 1% cows milk, or... you get the idea!

Here are some simple instructions to get you started making kefir!

Kefir grains in jar

1. Place kefir grains in a clean glass jar. (Keifr grains can be purchased from Cultures for Health.)

Kefir grains with milk

2. For every tablespoon (approx.) of grains, add 7-8 ounces of milk (making one cup total per tablespoon of culture).

The loosely-covered jar of milk, waiting to become kefir

3. Cover jar loosely, and allow to sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. On top of the fridge or in a cupboard are great places to make kefir!

Freshly-strained kefir

4. After 12-24 hours, strain the kefir using a strainer or colander.

Straining with a colander...

I sometimes use a spoon with small holes in it to "scoop" the kefir grains out of the finished bowl of kefir, returning them to the jar. This is demonstrated in my milk kefir video.

Freshly strained kefir

Enjoy your fresh kefir, or store in the refrigerator for up to several months.

Fresh kefir, and a jar of milk just starting to ferment

5. Place the grains in a clean jar (or, return to the same jar if you like; I usually use the same jar for several days before washing it) and repeat steps.

Some other information:

  • Kefir will require an adjustment period of a batch or two after events like being shipped or switching types of milk. When you receive your kefir grains, don't be disappointed if the first couple of batches taste awful! The yeast build-up during shipping needs to level out. When switching types of milk, your kefir will go through a couple of "transition" batches, where it may taste differently, as well. For this reason, it's best to stick with one type of milk if possible, using excess grains for other types.
  • Many types of milk may be used to culture kefir, but kefir grains that are cultured in non-mammalian milk will cease growing. Consider using your excess grains to culture soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.
  • Kefir grains can be dried or frozen for preservation. (I'll write more about how to do this after I've done it myself!)

How to make kefir: Video tutorial

Try to obtain kefir grains, not just a "starter", which is sometimes sold. Kefir grains can be used "forever", whereas "starters" can only be used 7 times or so.

I get many requests for kefir grains, and had been directing you to a friend who sold live milk kefir grains. Unfortunately, she is no longer selling kefir grains. I decided to try to find another reputable source for kefir grains (NOT "starter") and just signed up as an affiliate with Cultures for Health.

Cultures for Health sells dried milk kefir grains, which they culture and dehydrate themselves. The grains are shipped in organic milk powder and will rehydrate within 5-7 days and then will continue to grow and make kefir.

While I think the ideal source of kefir grains is live, fresh grains (preferably given as a gift from a friend!), Cultures for Health is a good company and I feel confident directing you to them. I wish kefir grains weren't so expensive to get started -- but remember, once you have them they will grow, and you can bless your friends and family by giving away your extras. :)

Cultures for Health

Check out my page about kefir for more information!

Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothie recipe

Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothies... our all-time favorite! :)

Fluffy Kefir Pancakes recipe

Fluffy Kefir Pancakes... a great way to use up extra kefir! :)

This recipe was featured in 10 Fabulous Foods We Make At Home (Not Buy!) :)


Thanks for this tutorial! I've got kefir grain coming in the mail and having a tutorial with photos is a BIG plus! I can't wait to get mine started!

Hugs & Blessings!
Susan Godfrey

I purchased kefir grains online, they arrived, very excitedly I made my first batch.

It was soooo disgusting!

I did a google search: "what should kefir taste like?" and found your fantastic photos and instructions for making kefir. Thanks Tammy!

Now I know it's normal for the first batches to taste awful (really, really awful!).

Great site! Looking forward to exploring the rest of it.



awful. yes. like bitter vomit? thats what my first experience was. im still not shure what its suppose to taste like.Its sour and yeasty.kind of cottage cheesy. I want it fizzy less bitter and creamy i cant get a uniform texture.Is it supposte to have bits to the side of the glass?

If the kefir tastes so awful do you throw it out or go ahead and drink it?

If it's one of the first couple of batches I've cultured with the grains, I'd strain the kefir grains and toss the awful-tasting kefir... and culture some more milk. :) But, I am not very fond of the taste of GOOD kefir, much less bad kefir! ;)

I don't understand why you're making kefir if you don't like the taste of even good kefir. What are you using it for?

I put my kefir into fruit smoothies, where I can't taste it as much. :)

Just received Kefir in mail. It was liquidy. Put milk in and let sit for a day. It is a gelly blob now. Strained milk and very yeasty smell. Are my kefir grains okay? Should I try washing them?
Thank you,

Janet, your grains are probably fine; they may need a few days (and several batches of milk) to even out, flavor-wise. Keep culturing them for at least a few more days. :) The kefir will be like a runny yogurt. :)

Hey all
I'm a kefir novice myself, got some grains in the post and my first two batches came out a bit dodgy. Basically the kefir didn't thicken at all, but the flavour just turned really cheesy. How can you tell that you're about to drink real kefir and not poison yourself with milk that's gone off?

Well, milk that has sat out at room temperature for a day won't kill you. :) The kefir won't really be too thick, but it should separate into a thicker portion and a clear portion (the clear portion is the whey). All mixed up, the kefir is still fairly runny. :)

I bought some kefir granules. I read somewhere that the next batch of kefir can be made, using a tablespoon of the old kefir. This is supposed to work if you run out of kefir granules.

Is this correct?


I have no idea! I have only made kefir with grains, and they don't run out -- they grow and increase with use. :)

You said 1 tablespoom kefir grains per 8 tablespoons milk which I know is actually 1/2 cup. Then you said 8 tablespoons milk is 1 cup milk. So, do I use 1 tablespoon kefir grain in 1/2 cup of milk or 1 cup of milk?



Oops... that should have been ounces, not tablespoons! I edited the post with the correct measurement. :)

I believe what you have is the powdered, freeze dried product. I bought some from a website. The directions state you can use a TB to make up to sevan more batches. This makes kefir but these will not grow like the live grains.


That rule applies to making yogurt.

I have done as instructed for 2 batches after getting my kefir grains and after I have strained off the whey I am left with something that looks like cottage cheese-not yughurt. I have to carefully pick out the kefir grains, rather yukky!
The finished result tastes very sour and I don't know if I have the correct result.

If your kefir is too sour-tasting, try culturing it for just 12 hours instead of 24. Also, when you strain the kefir, don't remove the whey -- only the grains. The rest, including any whey which has separated, can be stirred together and that is your kefir! :)

I am wanting to try making Kefir when I can find a source for grains. If I use a regular canning jar with the metal lid and rim would I just lay the lid on and tighten just a bit without screwing it tightly. Thanks!

Yes, you can tighten the metal ring just a little, or, if there's no danger of it getting knocked over, just lay the canning lid on top. That's what I do. I keep my jar on top of the fridge and it usually has just a canning lid lying on top. :)

Hi. Something I've found after using kefir for several months and trying to find a simpler way is a plastic container my husband used to make protein shakes. It already has the removable strainer in the lid. I just turn it upside down and shake out the contents into my refrigerated container. I used permanent marker on the outside to mark my two cups of milk. So I just fill up the container again (wash after several uses), rinse and then replace the strainer and lid until the next time!

I am just new to kefir making. I received my grains a tow weeks ago. I am using raw organic cows milk. I left it out one day for all day, nothing. Decided okay read more. Left out this time 24 hours, checked not thick yet. So maybe they went on vacation in those two weeks and need refreshed to even out. The kefir is not thick and smells of yeast. Any suggestions? what should the room temperature be. I live in Northwest Indiana and it has been cool here. Today it will reach 82.

I place my kiefer with 1 cup milk into a mason jar and replace the lid with a paper towel to allow some air (a thin towel works also). Then place the jar in a warm area. I have placed mine on my deck out of direct sunlight. Not suggested for extremely hot temperatures. The air and warmth helps the kefir to culture.

Included is a great smoothie recipe I use that my kids love ...

1 cup cultured kefir
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries (may substitute with other favorite frozen fruit
3 tbsp Natrataste or other sugar substitute (more or less to taste)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy.

Hope these suggestions help!!

I just got my grains, but it is an 80 degree day. I feel funny about leaving it outside the fridge. Am I being silly?


Just keep an eye on it... maybe your kefir will culture more quickly in 80 degrees vs. 70 degrees -- but it will still be fine! :)

I just read that in Singapore, they put the jar in a bowl of water. This helps to keep the milk a little cooler and also prevents bugs from climbing in!

my kefir is bitter :( does that mean it is no good?

Recently a friend shared her extra kefir grains with me and I've been making it almost daily. It's terrific! Your info was very helpful. Thanks! I made my usual 100% whole wheat bread last week and used kefir in place of the milk and it tastes awesome--like sourdough bread. The texture is light and airy. Soon I'll try it in pancakes--but I use freshly ground soft white wheat instead of white flour (MUCH healthier and better tasting). My favorite fruit smoothie now is: 1 C. kefir, 1 sliced banana, 1 C. fresh or frozen fruit and honey or stevia to taste. Whir in blender. Yummy!

baking with kefir is great- especially if you have a gluten sensitivity. if you add your dry flours (spelt flour, kamut flour, rye flour, etc) from a recipe to some kefir and let it sit for 12-24 hours the healthy bacteria and yeasts in the kefir will digest some of the gluten-so you don't have to! just don't add any other dry ingredients (aka sugar, baking soda, salt) until you're ready to bake. kefir is a great substiutie for buttermilk. when i make fry-bread, i soak my spelt or kamut overnight and it bakes up nice and fluffy the next day!

Here is the way I make kefir. It is creamy and mild.
I have grains. In the evenings (South Alabama) warm nights, add grains to whole organic milk, large mason jar, tighten lid. Shake. Let sit over night on top of fridge.(about 12 hours)depending on temp. Check it in the morning. If it is separated perfect. If not, watch it for another 4-5 hours.
Once you get the hang of it, you will know just how much grains to milk you will need for it to be ready to go in the Fridge in the morning. I work 8-5 so this why it's important that I be able to put in fridge before I leave for work, other wise it will be left out in the Alabama heat and taste bitter/sour. Anyway cont. In the morning Unscrew lid to release pressure! Shake well, put in fridge (grains still in there) until night time. Shake, Strain your grains out and Repeat process for next batch.
I am starting to have too many grains so if anyone wants to purchase some, let me know. 5 dollars for 1 full tablespoon, plus 5 for shipping. (Priority)
This will get you going and growing!
email me if you have any ?'s.
take out spaces in my email address.
ds green 22 @ yahoo . com

Can kefir be made with skim milk or is some fat content in the milk required?


Thanks for the great tutorial. I am going to definitely try making kefir. I want to use it to soak grains for bread making. Since I am also making an effort to have a supply of food storage on hand for emergencies, is it possible/nutritious to make kefir with powdered non-fat milk? I'm sure it's not the preferred method but wondered if it is sill possible and would have some if not all of the beneficial properties.

i am wondering that as well..i guess i will see tomorrow..

I received kefir grains about 2 weeks ago and have been trying to make kefir ever since. I have read this site as well as Dom's kefir site and followed all directions carefully. My big question is, "Does homemade kefir taste very different from store bought?" I regularly buy kefir from the supermarket (Trader Joes or Lifeway brand) and my homemade kefir taste nothing like the store bought. I know the first few batches will taste bad, but I've been at this for 2 weeks. I've tried skim, 1%, and 2% milk as well as varying the processing times, but each time my kefir taste more like spoiled milk than kefir. Any thoughts?

Try using just a kind of milk, and do not vary from that. Stick with one. Give it a few days and you will see the taste improve.

I changed milk from raw to 2% store milk, and my kefir tasted really bad. I started making 12 hour batches and feed them to my dogs. They loved it! Now my kefir tastes great and when my dogs see me handling the jar, they all gather around to see if I will give them some.

I live in the Sonoran Desert, so it's up to 110 F in June, and I have to accomodate to that by placing the jar in the fridge and checking every few hours. I leave it outside for 2 hours at night with the Air Conditioning on, only to bring it back in the fridge for the rest of the night. In the morning, it's done.

Easy does it. Play around with time and process, but do it slowly as to not harm your kefir culture.



After having made Kefir for years, I have found that the OPEN - mouthed "Thermos" vacuum flask used for Soups, as opposed to the Narrow-neck variety used for beverages, is Ideal for keeping your culture at a steady temperature.
Here in Australia, they also have a brand of Yoghurt maker which uses an outer container which an inner container sits inside. the method used, is you fill the inner container with milk from the frig, which is about 4 degrees C, and to the milk, you stir in a sachet of yoghurt culture that you buy. You then put this container of cultured cold milk into the outer container, which you add BOILING water (100 degrees C. / 212 degrees F.) in the space between.
The resulting average temperature of the two is always the same, whether it be cold or hot weather! We have used this setup for Kefir, and we usually just vary the time to suit our taste.
Best of luck, Olaf - Toowoomba, Queensland.

I received kefir grains 2 weeks ago and have been trying
to make kefir ever since. I have read this site and Dom's kefir site and followed all directions carefully. My big question is, "Does
homemade kefir taste very different from store bought?" I
regularly buy kefir from the supermarket (Trader Joes or Lifeway
brand) and my homemade kefir taste nothing like the store
bought. I've tried skim, 1%, and 2% milk as well as varying the
processing times, but each time my kefir taste more like spoiled
milk than kefir. Any thoughts?

I am Russian and have frown up with homemade fermented milk products of all types that my American husband can barely look at, let alone drink. (Look up Ryazhenka - tastes awesome to me but is a baked fermented milk that separates, falls in clumps into a cup, and has a dirtly hue).

So, homemade kefir does not taste the same as store bought and it should taste a bit like spoiled milk since that is what fermented milk is - spoiled. The fungus breaks down the components of milk and consumes lactose etc. in the process, producing co2 (thus the fizziness if you keep a lid on it). These are also the reasons why kefir is a probiotic and contains so many more micronutrients that the mild it is made from - like many times the folic acid, vit A etc. Plus, your gastrointestinal tract can not find an easier way to absorb calcium that is naturally contained in milk without constipation or kidney stone risk that is inherent in calcium pills. That is all the good stuff fungus leaves behind for you as "thanks" for feeding it.

Unfortunately, the taste is definitely an acquired one. If you really find kefir repulsive, you can ferment the milk for less time for a milder taste (but less benefit). Alternatively, mix the kefir with some maple syrup to taste or blend it with some vanilla yogurt and berries, as suggested above. It also tastes best cold, so after you have your grains do the work for 24 or more hours (to taste), you may chill the kefir in the fridge for another day and add flavoring before consuming it. I like to mix in currant or strawberry preserves.

Thank you for your helpful and interesting reply to the question of store-bought kefir vs. homemade kefir. I am American, but I spent a lot of time in Russia a couple of years ago. I had had American kefir before I went, and the two products-- Russian commercial kefir and American commercial kefir-- are nothing alike. I actually greatly prefer the Russian kefir, and there is one brand available in America that comes close. It is a Canadian company called Liberte. The other stuff like Lifeway is much closer to a diluted yogurt drink.

Sandor Katz, who wrote Wild Fermentation, said recently at a conference, regarding commercially made yogurt and kefir, that we (Americans) have grown up eating fermented dairy products that are a result of laboratory made cultures. The cultures are the same with every batch, basically, and they are designed to create this creamy, congealed, mild-flavored dairy ferment that does not resemble the dairy ferments eaten anywhere else in the world.

So, I agree, eating these homemade cultured milk products is an acquired taste, and in my opinion, it is worth acquiring! By homemaking our dairy ferments, we reduce packaging, we can access locally made ingredients, we can take responsibility and control over an important area of our health, and in many cases, we can save money.

Shaslivi (good luck) everyone. Na zdarovia (to your health)!

Your comment is very helpful. I have been wondering why my kefir tastes fizzy. I will try covering the jars very loosely for the next batch. Thank you.

I just received some kefir grains from a friend and have no experience of my own with making kefir, but the advice my friend gave me was to only use whole milk, because the kefir microorganisms need the fat to grow. If you want a lower-fat kefir perhaps you could culture the grains with whole milk, then dilute the kefir with skim milk before drinking.

Another tip I received was to use the same type of milk for each batch, because the kefir grains take a while to adjust to a new milk type, so your kefir will taste funny for the first few batches after you switch milk types.

I have just bought Kefir starter at health food store - it has come in pouches - feels like powder - (haven't opened a pouch yet) - certainly isn't grains. It says USE 5 Grams per 1 litre or quart of milk which first heat to 180 degrees F. or bring to boiling point. Cool to 73 - 77 F - then add the starter.

Is this any good? Ingredients described as: Lactic bacteria and yeasts, skin milk powder.

Valerie Wright, Toronto

Follow the directions and you should be set! Unfortunately, since it's "starter" and not grains, you won't be growing/using actual grains. It will still make kefir, but the package probably has directions for how long the starter will last (not forever).

I have had kefir grains for 5 months and all was well until two weeks ago. Now my kefir looks just like milk and the taste doesn't seem right - after 24 hours. The mother grains look fine. I tried using fewer grains and more grains. I need to process for 24 hours to get rid of all lactose for health reasons. I cannot always get raw, unpasturized milk. Could it be the milk or could my grains be bad. These are grains from the Caucasus.

I have just started making kefir after receiving some grains and instructions from a friend. This thread is very informative. Is it possible to send surplus cultured grains (not dry) in the mail? If so, how would it be done?

Your site is great! Thankyou so very much. I have successfully made my first 5 batches of kefir from live grains, and it tastes quite good. My question is: if I am going to add some kind of sweetener like maple syrup or agave, should I add it before I put the kefir into the fridge for storage, or right before eating? I am thinking that perhaps the bacteria in the kefir might actually like the sugars as a food source, but I am also wondering if the added substance is somehow going to damage the kefir while it is being stored in the fridge. Any feedback would be great, thanks.

I have decided, not researched, that adding any flavoring that contains alcohol (vanilla or other extracts) may kill the good stuff the kefir grains left behind. So, I don't add anything but stevia powder to my finished kefir. I leave the sweetened kefir in the fridge (by the gallon!). My children pour themselves a glass and put in their own favorite flavors (vanilla, banana, etc.). I like to drink it "plain". Just the stevia is enough for me. I love the taste of kefir, even without the sweetness!

Kefir does contain a small amount of naturally-occurring alcohol, by the way! :)
I do think it's best to store kefir plain, and only sweeten or flavor when you're ready to drink it, put it in a smoothie, etc. I think it tastes freshest that way! :)

Do the grains grow faster in cream Vs. skim milk or better in 90 degrees Vs 50 degrees? etc...

What makes them grow the fastest.?


I had a baby, went out of town, and am now back. My kefir has been sitting in the bottle with its grains on the counter for over a week now. What do I do? Are they ruined? Can I just rinse them and pour new milk on them? Thanks.

So glad to find this!
We are a bit lactose interlerantish- mine is a lung thing and my sons is an allergy thing- however- I purchased some raw cow's milk Qephor (that is how they spelled it???)- and want to make my own from now on- is there a way to use the granules from this to make coconut keifer? Or do I need to purchase milk and go about it that way and see what happens? I have purchased the store bought goats keifer but everything I soak with it tends to be sooooo THINK (and I like the "raw" factor)- so I am not sure where to go...
Any help would be so very much appreciated!

You may not be intolerant to raw cow's milk - straight from the cow. Many people find that when they switch to raw milk they are no longer lactose intolerant.

Just to note, being lactose intolerant is not the same as an allergy. Someone with an allergy to dairy will have a histamine reaction that results in a mild irritation to a full anaphalactic reaction. Lactose intolerance is a digestion issue. I only want to note this, since anyone that has been told they are allergic to dairy should consult their doctor before attempting to consume a dairy source. :)

I love all of the information on this subject! Thank you! Doing research on the web site that Tammy suggested using for keifer grains, I found out that keifer can be made from coconut milk and even plain water! And. If you want to use honey instead of stevia, aguave, etc., don't add honey til you're just about ready to drink the keifer because the antibacterial properties in honey kill the good bacteria in the keifer. Growing up on fresh, unpasturized cows milk - I can say first hand that the store bought chemical they call milk just isn't good for you like the raw, unpasturized version is. My 3 year old son has a sensory processing disorder and gets rambunctious/ornery with store bought milk but does not from fresh unpasturized cows milk. Not everyone may notice this within their own families & if something works for you go for it! Good luck and best wishes.

I have just discovered Kefir after going on a quest to ferment various foods. Anyway, I love the Kefir from the health food store but I would love to make my own.
Would someone be willing to send/sell me some grains?

I know there are a lot of people posting here about under-performing kefir grains, and maybe eventually it all evens out, but I'm going through a lot of milk and wondering if I'm doing something wrong?

I received some kefir grains through the mail a few days ago. They are supposedly fresh and organic and came in a pouch of liquid. The woman who sent them to me said the liquid was a kind of starter formula and I should use it in the first batch. The first batch came out smelling strongly like yeast after 24 hours, which I expected after reading this forum. The consistency was very thin. Not like thin yogurt, but more like milk.

I made a second batch using 1/4 cup from the first batch plus the grains plus 4 cups milk. I left the second batch out for about 36 hours (about 8 of those hours it was in the fridge). I live in Michigan so it's been fairly cool out. I've been waiting for the whey to separate but I haven't seen anything separate. This morning I checked the 'kefir' and it was the consistency of milk. There were some clumpy cottage-cheesy things on the bottom. I tasted it and it was very sour and runny. Like sour milk.

I dumped the whole thing and only saved the grains, and have added some more milk. But how many gallons of milk should I go through before I give up? Will it be obvious when it's working? Does the whey always float to the top? And is there any way to ensure that the consistency gets to be a bit thicker? I'm not sure if I'm leaving it out too long or not long enough since it basically looks the same the whole time....

I'd appreciate any advice! Thanks!


For culturing 4 cups of milk, you would need about 1/4 cup of kefir grains (strained). You mentioned using 1/4 cup "from the first batch" plus the grains, but I think the ratio that is most important is 1 tablespoon kefir grains to 1 cup milk. Is that the grain/milk ratio you're using, then? :)

I would do several batches before giving up, but I wouldn't necessarily do 4 cups of milk for each batch; experimenting with 1 cup of milk is much more affordable, should the kefir take several times to "level out" and start producing a better product. :)

The whey won't be on top, but rather on bottom. The whey is clear.

In my experience, kefir gets thicker as it is cultured longer, but after a certain point (24-48 hours depending on temperature and climate conditions) it doesn't get thicker and actually seems to get thinner when it's stirred together (after separating).

I hope some of this is helpful to your situation! :)

Thanks so much for your help with this, I think the proportions of kefir grains to milk are probably off. I'll measure the grains next time around. And it's helpful to know the whey is going to be on the bottom.

Do you ever rinse off the grains with water to get cheesy stuff off of them or do you just keep that going from batch to batch?

I've been in Ukraine for the past several months and had kefir for the first time there. I love it, and a friend of mine from there makes great pancakes with kefir and mashed banana. Kefir gives them some tang, and bananas sweeten can even add a little sugar. They're delicious!

I have been making Kefir for years. Got mine on the web where people were giving away there extra grains because they multiply so much. This product is an OLD form of keeping milk & is a great source of pro-biotics. I just like it but I grew up liking buttermilk (not what they sell today). prefer to use ra milk & have a source for milk from cows but not for raw goat milk which I prefer. If anyone knows a source of goat milk around Salem OR I'd appreciate it.

Yes I wash them every time - they need a bath.

My question is about making kefir with water/grains, raw sugar or honey & dry fruits but I haven't found any info available so far. Anybody seen anything on water kefir. Useful for people allergic to dairy.

Source of goat's milk:
Dallas (west of Salem):Mary Cate Bassett, River Ridge Farm, phone (503) 623-9735, email . The goats are on pasture, fed hay, and are given freshly sprouted grain at milking. Free-range chickens also fed on sprouted grain. Milk $6 a half-gallon, ($2 refundable bottle deposit per bottle used) $3 per dozen eggs. Pastured broiler chickens $3 per pound. Kefir grain free upon request. Goat milk soap coming in the future.

This site will give you more info than you probably want for water Kefir:


Have downloaded from this site...

So I hope this helps you.

Just an old guy from Australia, hope you can download the file like I did.


I'm on my 3rd batch of kefir. I've gone through a ton of milk! Nothing good yet. The taste is horrible. Grainy and it separates and has an aweful yeasty smell and sour fizzy taste. Yeuch! I have had organic kefir from the organic store and it's like yogurt. A bit sour of course but good. This is nothing like it. At the top of the kefir when it's fermenting is the this thick thick mass of curd. About 3-4 inches thick...then about an inch of whey and then the milk at the bottom. When I first brough the grains home they were in a bit of milk and I originally used goat's milk...never tried it before and it was aweful so I went back to full fat organic cow's milk.
Can you tell me if this is normal? the grains have multiplied for sure. But I don't want to keep filling the jar with milk and then dumping it. It's very expensive...especially when you are using organic milk. Can you help me out with this? thanks! :)

try reading this...

I am having the same issue. After 24 hours the milk is more like soured milk than the thick smooth stuff we keep seeing in the videos. Here is what I think is happening.

The Kefir grains you get from 'Cultures for Health' is barely even a teaspoon. I have been culturing for over a month now and the grains are growing but SLOWLY! I still have barely a teaspoon if that. I believe what is happening is that the milk is actually only PARTIALLY 'Kefiring' because there isn't enough culture for the milk to culture it before it (the milk) actually begins the souring process.

To test this theory I am going to only kefir for 12 hours and see if I get the nice thick stuff, or simply runny milk. I'll post back, but I have a hunch that I am going to need to order a couple of packages more of kefir to get the tablespoon I need for kefir-ing.

You should be able to make kefir no matter how few grains you have. Just reduce the amount of milk -- use 1/3 cup of milk if you have a teaspoon of grains. :) In the past, I have given away all but one small kefir grain (about a teaspoon) and just used a lot less milk until it started to grow...

I will say that a teaspoon of grains seems to grow a LOT more slowly than a larger amount. I guess if the grains are doubling every month, then in 1 month a teaspoon becomes 2 teaspoons, but 1/2 cup would become a cup -- so the perceived speed of growth really increases as the volume increases! :)

How do I get the Kefir to have a yogurt consistency? I prefer that to drinking it.

Can I use some Lifeway Kefir as a starter instead of using grains?

and it works great.

can I make kefir from this it has no grains, I read just to take 1/4 cup and add to goats
heated milk .
put in glass jar in oven for 12 hours in warm place without sun light? will this work?
Thanks Lesa

Okay, had lapband surgery, recently and want to take better care of myself. Going on a cruise and want to boost immune system, as last 2 cruises, I got sick before the cruise ended. Someone tole me about kefir. Bought some low fat strawberry/banana kefir, in the store and it was delicious! BUT, expensive! More calories than I'd want, as I'll be adding protein powder to it. So, I just bought freeze dried kefir grains. PLEASE help me so I'll like it (taste as good as in the store), or I know I won't do it again! The guy selling it to me told me I can't reuse the grains, but from what I've read, I can??? I'm wanting to use skim milk. Originally I had planned to use powdered milk, but since we have chlorinated water, knew it'd kill the bacteria!
So, I'll buy skim milk. Everything I've read says use glass jars. Can I use tupperware containers? What can I add to make it taste good? Any advice will greatly be appreciated!

Hi, I've browsed here and all the other usual places (Dom's, Kefirlady's), and only recently my own grains. Threw away first 2 batches just on principle (they smelled good, but very very yeasty, more like a sourdough starter than kefir) and have since then modified my method until I get what I believe to be really good, thick, non-separating kefir the last 3 batches now. I'm in the DFW area in Texas and we keep our house at about 80 degrees or else the A/C bill is outlandish, so the heat probably plays into why I have to use this method.

First, I learned to either shorten the fermentation time well below 24 hrs with the 'usual' 8:1 type milk:grains ratio, or cut down the grains. I went with the former for the first full week until my grains enlarged a bit and recovered from shipping, and just did the second more recently with my first really good batches. I do my fermentation in those 'disposable' but reusable tupperware like tubs from Glad or Ziplock you can get at the grocery store - there's a type that's kind of a tall cylinder with a pretty wide top and a screw lid that holds 4 cups. Use rubberbands on the outside to mark your grain starting point and milk fill point: my original mix was about 1/3 cup grains to 3 1/2 cups milk for an almost full tub, since then I've dropped down to about 1/5 cup to 3 1/2 cups milk. (almost half the 'recommended' ratio!), but am fermenting a day and a half.

-use the milk straight out of the fridge. A little cool won't hurt the grains, and the milk will warm to ambient pretty quick anyway.
-if your kitchen is too warm like mine, stand up the fermentation jar in a larger ceramic crock of some type (I use a stoneware serving bowl with a flat bottom, like you'd serve veggies out of) and put a bit of ice around it, to maybe 1" high at most (say 1/8th the height of your vessel). It won't last long as ice and will melt in an hour or two, but the ice and subsequent water bath helps keep it a bit cooler than ambient overall. I do this when I leave for work in the morning, when I return, and when I go to bed (emptying the melt water each time of course). The jar is left with the lid loosely screwed on; every time I think of it I screw it on tight, agitate gently for a few seconds, and then re-loosen to let excess CO2 escape while it sits. This also seems to help it ferment more evenly, and since i don't have a lot of free space in my jar at all, I'm not worried about 'oxygen poisoning' (when I used to make beer I used an airlock and was very careful NOT to agitate once fermentation began!)
--watch for it to begin to separate - you don't want a 'lot' of separation, because then it has more 'firm' though small curds and has a bit of gritty mouth feel, even if you remix before drinking. but you don't want to quit before too much has converted (unless you're specifically going after a much less sour kefir) either. I found that with the recommended 8:1 ratio 24 hours was too much and 12-18 worked better, with my new mix, and the fall weather kicking in so the ambient temp is dropping, my last couple batches went about 36 hrs and are both much thicker, less yeasty smelling (part of that may just be the grains finally getting nicely balanced) and much thicker. It strains nicely fast leaving clean grains behind and no curds, but is not separating even in the fridge.
--when its time to separate, I use a plastic 'pasta' colander over a large glass mixing bowl. if you got it right as far as converted but not separated it will pour right through with very little tapping on your part, leaving clean looking grains behind. Then the strained stuff gets poured into something to store it in. If the ferment went a little long or warm and the kefir has separated it may take a bit of swirling and tapping to get the curds thru. My first try was with a metal strainer (the lady who sold me my starter grains warned me there were a lot of 'babies' and I didn't want to throw them out) but that was a nightmare with the first gritty batches; ended up with a mound of 'cottage cheese' on top of the the way I do a reasonable but not vigourous 'mix' or shake of the vessel (remember to tighten the lid!) before I pour into the strainer, which also helps separate any grouped up curds.
--each batch needs to 'age' after straining a day or so in the fridge. You can drink it right away, but it does get a bit better with should thicken. If it does separate out a lot you can drain some of the whey if you want, but that won't really make it thicker, it just reduces the liquid separating the curds. Slightly slower, cooler fermentation is what seems to help reduce the firm curd formation completely.
--I keep 3 vessels: one to ferment in, one to 'age' in, and one that I'm drinking at any given time. if I get a bit ahead in drinking I may pour the 'current' batch right on top of the 'aged' for a little continuous aging/drinking action. So far I haven't gotten behind, and with cutting my grains back (the rest went in the freezer with some fresh milk as a backup) I don't think I will even if what I'm making now seems better than when I started.

Regarding the cooling bath, I knew too much chill was bad too (Dom spends a lot of time talking about using a fridge method to 'hold' some grains, or doing a cold fast, but says they need to recover after that, so I didn't want to end up in that mode by over-cooling!) After the first couple tries with the ice showed promise, I used a smaller tupperware to start making large solid 'domes' of ice that melt slower than individual cubes (less surface area), so now my kefir sits in a ceramic open bowl with a larger chunk of ice in the bowl beside it, slowly melting...not really in much direct contact with the kefir jar, just cooling the stoneware itself so the kefir stays cooler as well (eventually there's about a half inch of water that is in contact with the vessel, but not ice direct contact, and the rest of the plastic is sticking up into 70-75 degree air). If I get really bored I might start keeping a thermometer in it to see what temp I'm really holding, but from putting my hand against the side I'd guess it's still no less than 65 degrees.

I have rinsed my grains once or twice, but I used a small amount of fresh milk; if you use water I wouldn't use it right from the tap because the chlorine might impact the external colonies on the grains. Rinsing in my case was more to remove any curds than to really 'rinse off' old milk or bathe them. The milk can just add into the newly strained kefir (it'll give a bit of fresh 'food' for aging in the fridge) or down the drain; it didn't take a lot at all.

Hope this helps someone else. After my first week I was getting a bit discouraged from all the separation and the 'clots'. But these last batches are wonderful and finally really do resemble the Lifeway store-bought in consistency, which all my reading indicated I probably would not quite be able to match. There isn't much of a yeast smell although if I close the aging jar tight there is a CO2 bite the next morning so I know the yeast part of the colony is indeed alive, and the flavor is sour but not overwhelming nor is it just 'old milk sour'. Too much acid and heat is what I think leads to the harder curd separation.

I'm just using store-bought 2% homogenized milk as well (Schepps Dairy for those of you familiar with the brand and stores here in TX) but I really don't think there's anything too specific to the milk choice. When my grains multiply up again enough I may check a specialty store for some goat milk and give that a try...wonder if you could make a good feta with goat-milk kefir? :) Thanks again for the web forum and I hope this huge word-logjam helps someone else.

(To the guy above who bought the freezedried grains, go on ebay and find someone who is selling the 'real thing'. Shouldn't cost you more than $16 or so even with shipping. And from my experience the only problem with plastic seems to be that it doesn't provide as much insulation, but left out for a day or more even a glass jar just ends up at air temp.)

This comment was incredibly helpful to me. I am just starting with my kefir cultivation and have a lot of whey separating from the kefir. I am going to play around and try some of the things you are suggesting. Thanks for the advice!

Does anyone have extra kefir grains to help me get started, or know where I can obtain some?

Buy them in eBay.They can sell for as low as $7.99 with no shipping. That's what I bought, and so far so good.

Does anyone have any spare Kefir grains they would like to share. I would be more than happy to pay for them and shipping. Please e-mail me at
Thank You

I have been making kefir for a few weeks now and just praying I'm doing it right. I got a liquid in the mail from a friend that was my "starter." I put it in a mason jar and covered it in raw milk. After 24 hours, I strained it and had my first batch of kefir. I've done this repeatedly for a few weeks and my kefir tastes good and looks like everything I see online. My question is that when I strain it, I don't see any "grains" to speak of that look like cauliflower. All I see is curds. I've gently felt the curds and there is nothing in them that is firm. My friend that sent me my starter said that if it smells slightly yeasty and firms up after fermenting for 24 hours or so, I should be good. Am I good? Do the curds have teeny tiny kefir grains in it that I don't see or feel? It definitely doesn't smell like rotten milk. It tastes fine. I'm just confused about the "grain" part. Help!

I have the same thing. My kefir smells like the description of kefir, and not spoiled milk, but I have only curds in there.

I have been making kefir for a few weeks. A friend sent me a starter baggie of some kind of liquid. I put it in milk and 24 hours later had my first batch of kefir. I've been doing this for a few weeks and we are enjoying it. My question is, when I strain my kefir, I don't see any "grains", only a bunch or curds. There is nothing cauliflower looking in my strainer. I have gently touched the curds and there is nothing firm in them. Are they so teeny tiny that I can't see or feel them? My milk is not smelly like rotten milk would be if it sat on the counter for a day. It has a slightly yeasty smell and taste fine. I'm confused! Help!

BTW, if this is a double post, please forgive me. I thought I posted this and then nothing showed up. I created and account, logged in, and I'm trying again.

Thanks so much,

the problem is that you are using a starter culture. this is not the same as kefir grains. u will be able to make new batches a few times by mixing some of the previous batch with fresh milk but it will only work a few times. if u want to have a continuous source of kefir, you will need to get kefir GRAINS. not starter

I would like some more recipes for using kefir. I have lots in my frig. after fermenting several batches.

Karen S.

For vegans out there who would also like the probiotic benefits of kefir, you can make the most AMAZING kefir from soya milk. It is thick and creamy, and does not have the sourish taste of dairy kefir. Two important things to remember:
1. Your kefir granules will not grow in soya milk. They take a little while to get used to the soya, and thereafter remain healthy and productive, but they do not grow or multiply. So it is wise to keep a separate stock of kefir growing in dairy milk in case you may need to replenish your stock or share it with others;
2. Use ordinary soya milk without added sugar.
In my experience rice and nut milks make watery kefir and do not provide sufficient nutrients for healthy kefir granules

Swazi Pete

This is to Karen S and others asking for recipe ideas if you have excess. I've started eating some of mine in a bowl just with frozen blueberries and a little sugar (in my case, Splenda) and it's really good that way...but the way it starts to freeze up around the berries made me think about making frozen 'yogurt' with it...would keep for a while I think and with the right flavors and some sweetener would probably be pretty good....anyone have any ideas? Vanilla bean extract and cinnamon, perhaps some graham cracker crumbs for a cheesecake-y kind of flavor?

Gotta stop typing, my mouth is watering....

I haven't seen many references to this in the comments--kefir needs to be stirred every few hours, or as often as you can manage if you're out of the house for long stretches. In the Caucasus, apparently they punched or kicked the skin bag holding the kefir every time they passed it. Also, I've read several times that you must not use a metal strainer or spoon. If you aren't stirring or are using metal implements, you may not be getting good results.

We mix our kefir with strawberry-flavored whey protein powder and add in some currant juice and agave, and mix in the blender for a wonderful breakfast drink.

I just read the recipe and comments and I am excited about making some homemade kefir! I had it many times before and it is one of my favorite diary products. Please send me your extra grains or tell me about a reliable online vendor. Thanks alot!

PS: My email is

My question is the same as Kristy Z. from 10/14/09. I cannot tell the difference between the grains and curds after fermentation. What is especially upsetting is that my sister gave me grains that were the size of cauliflower florets, now after two batches there is a huge pile of curds that resemble nothing like the original grains. What should I do? Thanks. C

I answered my own question by using the right tools. I had been working out of glass jars but decided to pour everything into a 4 quart Pyrex mixing bowl (the vintage kind that's white glass). The white bowl enabled me to see the difference in color between the grains and the curds (the grains are beige and curd white). Spreading it out in a larger vessel along with the bright background color made sorting a snap. I hope this helps someone else, too. Thank you,Tammy, for sponsoring this site! Carolyn

Nobody seems to have answered Lesa's question about using store bought kefir as starter but this is what we did, too. We put a small amount (a few T.) of the store bought kefir in a 4 litre jug of pasteurized organic milk. We left it for 24 hours and voila - yucky milk similar to buttermilk.

The results taste like the store bought kefir or a little worse. I don't like it at all although I do enjoy plain yogurt and buttermilk. My husband, who spent time in Russia, says it is not nearly as delicious as the kefir in Russia.
Anyway, it is having a good effect internally and I am sure it's not harmful. Our thought is to continue adding it to fresh milk to make more of whatever it is. We'll try the kefir grains when we get some.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Reading over these posts, I got curious and decided to make my first batch (ever!) of kefir using store-bought kefir. I had about 1/6 of a carton of Nancy's Organic Lowfat Raspberry Kefir (with live cultures), so I added 2% organic milk to the top of the carton and two tablespoons of active yogurt. (I added yogurt because I read the kefir ingredients label and noticed that both the yogurt and the kefir had the same active bacteria. I figured the store-bought kefir could use a boost!) It's been about 5 hours, and I've been keeping the carton on the stove (which has been warm from baking bread) with the cap loosely fitted. Every so often, I'll close the cap and give it a shake and a taste.

So far, it doesn't taste fermented yet, just kinda diluted. I think I'll leave it out overnight and refrigerate it once I leave for work tomorrow. (So that'll total about 18 hours of culturing at room temp)

I'll update you with the results! I hope it works...

Did the kefir come out okay?!

I used store bought goat milk kefir and added some to goat milk warmed to 100 degrees. Stirred well and put in mason jars overnight. The finished product was even tastier than the original.

The best way to make kefir using store bought kefir as a starter:

You will need about 8-10 tablespoons of store-bought kefir per about 1/3 gallon of milk.

1. Boil milk and let it cool until it's luke warm. Pour milk into glass jar.
2. Add store-bought kefir to milk and mix well
3. Cover with lid and towels, put away in room temperature overnight
DO NOT mix, stir, shake or move the jar
4. In the morning put the jar in the fridge for 2-3 hours or more.
5. Take out from the fridge, mix well before drinking.

We received some kefir from a traveler who isn't around to ask further questions. I am confused. My Kefir gets very separated, a creamy layer and a clear yellow layer. My husband shakes it up and then strains it. After reading it sounds like we are using too many grains. Is that what causes the curds and whey to separate like that. Are we supposed to toss the whey or stir it together and drink both?

I wanted to mention that I stir in a teaspoon of honey into my kefir and it tastes a lot sweeter and less sour. Yummy

I need advice on what to do with the yellow whey layer.


Just an FYI, honey kills bacteria, so it is not the best sweetener to use. Unfortunately! That is what I always used to use for my kefir smoothies. :-(

Tammy said:
< Many types of milk may be used to culture kefir, but kefir grains that are cultured in non-mammalian milk will cease growing. Consider using your excess grains to culture soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.>

I find this confusing, would you please clarify? This sounds like kefir dies in non-mammalian milk, but you suggest trying it anyway--so do they die or do they just not grow any larger?

Hi, I love Kefir,but I am wonderfing is that considered as "raw" food? I know it's not some say it's considered raw others it'snot...what do you think?

Pasteurized milk is basically cooked, so I would say that only kefir made with unpasteurized milk is a truly raw food. However kefir made with pasteurized milk still contains live microorganisms, so I think you could make a case for this being either a raw or not raw food, depending on what you consider to be the most important benefit of raw foods.

Also, I've heard that kefir cannot be made with ultra-pasteurized milk. Has anyone tried it who can tell me if this is true or not?

Interestingly, I found that my kefir grains stopped growing when I used ultrapasteurized milk, so I would purposely seek out regular pasteurized milk to use. (Figured that if they're not growing, they weren't in a healthy medium.)

They do use kefir in water as well, but there are other ingredients that need to be added. I am under the assumption that you would be incorrect on this, as the kefir just needs sugars to grown on as in lactose. Maybe I'm wet, but water kefir would suggest this isn't so. Joe

Water kefir uses diffferent grains entirely. Ultra pasturized milk is not a good choice for cultures. It is possible to convert milk kefir grains for sugar water, but they stop growing and cannot be converted back to milk.

Anybody ever make kefir from coconut milk, specifically the coconut milk powder? I really think this would be the ideal drink for me, plenty of fats and probiotics. I got both ordered and I will find a way of making it to work, but hopefully I won't have to add sugars, although this may be an option as the kefir relies on sugars to live. Any thoughts or experiences with this? Thank you, God bless, Joe

does separate and that is what it is supposed to sort of like sticking the toothpick into a cake to see if it is done.....the kefir is done when it separates. Of course, you could use this as a guide to how "sour" you like it, as a personal preference. There are uses for the whey if you want to search them out......but it is absolutely fine to just stir it up and enjoy. Joe

From what I have read, you're not supposed to let the kefir grains touch metal. I use a canning jar but I don't fill it all the way to the top and I use a paper towel with the ring when I'm fermenting it. For straining, I have a set of plastic strainers and I only use a plastic spoon to stir it. You should stir it several times when it's sitting out. I only had about 2 tbs of grains and am able to make a quart with 1 tbs. I've already given a friend 1 tbs in a quart of whole milk. It made the kefir in 24 hours or less.

I don't know if you have to wash the kefir grains every time before change the jar and put a new milk or you have to leave it just as it is when you take it out from the maid kefir.

There is no need to rinse the kefir grains between batches of kefir. Straining the excess kefir from the grains is sufficient! I have also used a clean slotted spoon to scoop the grains from the kefir without straining. This means no strainer to wash afterward! :)

I have recently discovered kefir and just thought i'd share my tip on what i use to strain mine.

i take a plastic tuna strainer (if your not familar with them, it is a round disc-like strainer with a little handle used to strain cans of tuna) i take that and hold it right on top of my glass jar containing the grains and finished kefir and pour my finished kefir into another jar. this way i don't even remove my grains from their jar! then i pour new milk over top of my grains to start a new batch!

Hi Tammy,

I am from India and I am using Kefir grains for the past one week. I would like to know the extra kefir which gets accumulated - can we stir with little sugar and drink the thick kefir yogurt.

Yes, you can! :)

Hi everyone,
I have an excess of water kefir grains if anyone is interested in trying it. Making water kefir is as easy as making milk kefir and the taste is great! I'd be happy to send you 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the grains. If you are interested, please send me an email at

I don't want to repeat a question already posed but I am looking for some clarification. I just started trying to make kefir, got some grains and have been using whole organic milk.

When it splits into those three layers with the whey in the middle and you strain it off, what's left in the strainer? Is that new kefir or curds? And when you start with a new batch of milk, are you just supposed to add only the original kefir grains that you began with?

The reason I am confused by this is because my original kefir grains looked cauliflower-ish but after I strain my batch, the rest of the stuff does not look like the original grains did.

Thanks for your help anyone.

I don't recall ever seeing my kefir separate into three layers, only two -- the clear-ish whey on the bottom and then the thicker white kefir part on top, with the grains floating/suspended somewhere in the top section.

When you strain the kefir, you should end up with just the grains (cauliflower-ish, with some kefir lingering on them, which is fine), which you then put into your milk for the next batch.

If the kefir is cultured for a long time (say, 24+ hours in my experience), sometimes the kefir has thick curds which stay in the strainer with the grains. Could that be what you are seeing? If in doubt, I use clean hands to feel the grains. Grains will be spring-y, whereas curds will be soft and fall apart when squeezed.

Let me know if you figure it out, or what you end up doing! :)

I just received kefir grains from a friend and cannot drink kefir every day. Can I keep the grains in the frig to slow the fermenting process down so as to only get kefir every couple of days to drink or use without hurting the grains.

Yes! Refrigerating is fine. :)

Thank you for your quick reply. Now I can relax and enjoy my kefir.

How do I get them back!? I put them inthe Fridge, kefir and grains for one day and I just got more milk went to fish for my grains in a strainer and they are GONE!!!

OMG, will they grow back? Where did they GO??

I have no idea! My kefir grains have never come close to dissolving, slipping through the strainer, or disappearing!!

Hi! I have this wonderful grains for some days, and my first 3 attempts of making kefir drinks resulted successful and tasty. But 2 days ago, I used metal spoon and strainer (forgetting that I have to avoid these one :( )
After I used them, and put for next fermentation, It gets with bad sour smell, and on drink surface was smth like white mouldiness.....
I washed the grains, and put them once again into milk, and the result was the same.....
Please help me with some ideas. Can I save my milk kefir grains, or they are spoiled already? :(
Thanks for answer in advance!

What type of milk is best to use? Whole milk - 2% milk - 1% milk - fat-free milk - organic milk? I just bought my first kefir from a health food store this week and I am hooked! I now want to find some kefir grains and make my own. I am in the process of a candida yeast cleanse and was told that kefir would be great for me.

I really enjoy reading all the info on this site!


I just ordered some actual kefir grains off the internet and am waiting for them to arrive. Before this I was just using the packets from health food stores. The packets require the milk to be heated then cooled before adding the package contents. When making kefir from the actual nuget instead of the store bought powder do you have to heat the milk, or is milk right out of the refridgerator okay?? I hope you can tell me the answer!! Your blog was SOOOOO helpful to me!! :) :) :) I'm from Canada!!

With kefir grains, room temperature milk is used. I use milk from the fridge as well (and obviously, the milk gets up to room temperature as it sits in the jar on the counter). :)

My mothers plant after 20 years has died
I believe due to store brought purchased milk not being " real" milk
It was a well traveled little plant and went on most trips she did
Can you help us Tammy
How much would it cost to buy dried grains
and send to Maitland NSW Australia


Von B

Hi Von, on the first page of comments someone posted a link about water kefir. If you go to that page and click on the ordering information, I believe that guy is in Australia.

1 gal kefir

1/2 cup or a little more of good quality strawberry (or other) preserves

5 tablespoons sweetener (honey, brown sugar, white sugar . . . ), or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons guar gum (available at Whole Foods type markets, or online purchase)

Put 1 quart of kefir with the other ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Blend the other 3 quarts of kefir and combine.

Same basic taste, same nutritional profile.

The person I got my kefir grains from said to always use organic milk, because the antibiotics in reg. milk can kill the grains. True? I ran out of organic, and had to use regular milk.

Would I use a cup of grains to a gallon of milk? After one batch is done I can immediately start another batch in a different container right? My husband and I love it! We also are having his cuz from Romania stay with us for a few months. I want her to have some foods she's used to. I have access to raw milk, is there a way for me to lower the fat content? Or should I just drink a little less? My husband and I love raw milk but I'm scared to gain the weight that I worked so hard to lose off. I was know those containers for like tea with the spout at the bottom of the container...if I put my raw milk in there the less fatty stuff would come out and eventually the cream would just be left!? Is that how it works? Would my kefir not do as well because of lack of fat if I did that? Also how much do kefir grains multiply? I can't wait to have extra to give away! Can I save a few extra in the freezer or something?


I'm new at this. Is it ok if the grains float? Thank you for your time!

We had a power outage and my raw milk went a tiny bit off, do you think I could just make some kefir out of it? I have some kefir I could make it from. I don't see much wrong with that, but I thought I'd ask

Clabber milk is actually a common dairy ferment from Ireland. Instructions are to let raw milk set at room temp until sour. Because raw milk is still alive with all it's original probiotics, it never rots the way pasturized milk does. It simply gets more probiotics!

hi tammy, i love this site!
is it okay to use metal on the kefir for straining? i was making it with soy milk and it wasn't so good then was advised to switch to almond milk and told bean milks aren't so successful, and delicious! next i'm going to use coconut milk, all are organic. i hope someone answers my question. thanks!

After reading this thread, I tried to make some more. It seems to have the consistency I like. I left it out in 74 degree room for about 20 hours. Yes, this is still the first few batches. Now my kefir taste very peppery, have a sharp bit to it.

I want to make sure: 1) the kefir is not spoiled and 2). is this normal for homemade kefir to taste peppery?

Thanks a lot.

Hi! I recently received some grains, and am now planning to go away on vacation. Is it best to refrigreate them, as you mentioned doing to slow down the process? -Should I keep them in milk, or in kefir, or some other way?

Thanks for your help!

I'm making Kefir right now (1st time) and I decided to put jam into the milk while I'm heating it.. I didn't think about that having adverse affects until I already did it... Will my Kefir turn out?? Was this a bad move??


Hi. :)

From my article (at the top): "...Some people use raw cow's milk, others use goats milk or 1% cows milk, or..."

Also, "Kefir will require an adjustment period of a batch or two after events like being shipped or switching types of milk. When you receive your kefir grains, don't be disappointed if the first couple of batches taste awful! The yeast build-up during shipping needs to level out. When switching types of milk, your kefir will go through a couple of "transition" batches, where it may taste differently, as well. For this reason, it's best to stick with one type of milk if possible, using excess grains for other types."

And, "Many types of milk may be used to culture kefir, but kefir grains that are cultured in non-mammalian milk will cease growing. Consider using your excess grains to culture soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc."

You do not need to obtain raw milk to make kefir. :) Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

Quick questions to see if this is right.
I culture my kefir with raw milk, it sepersates into a layer of cream, a layer of clear whey and a layer of I am not sure what it is but it is quite firm not runny like you suggested, has a bit of consistency of like ricotta. Am I doing something wrong.

Cheers Ian

As long as it looks okay (not discolored) and tastes right, that sounds fine to me!

Does it stir back together to form a runny-like yogurt after you strain off the grains?

Could you please tell me how best to preserve my grains while I'm gone?

What is the best way to preserve your grains for several days?

Place kefir grains in a jar of milk, loosely covered, in the fridge while you are away (this will work for as long as a couple weeks). The cold environment will slow down the culturing, and the grains will return to normal when you get back and start making kefir regularly again! :)

Tammy, I am on my third batch of kefir. I started with raw milk and some grains I had received from an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania. The grains originally looked like small very small curd creamy cottage cheese. After the first batch there were more small curds and also some yellow clusters that look like your grains but I actually think they are some of the butter from the raw milk. They are greasy and soft. I have made the second and third batches using half the kefir milk and the curds and the yellow butter (?). The grains are not growing at this point. Do I need to go through several more batches? Can I get rid of the yellow clumps? I had read in another article on kefir that there would be the whitish curds and that the grains would be yellow, so I am confused at this point. Thanks for your help.

Kefir grains would have a "texture" to them... not just be soft/smooth like butter... can you find out if what you think is butter, really is, by eating some? :) I don't see how the butter could get there unless you are shaking the jar or something though!

I am guessing it isn't butter and in that case, if it were me, I would just continue making kefir and see what happens. Things could look different in a couple weeks when the grains are growing more, etc.! :)

Hi I saw you question and since I get it too, I thought I'd answer also.

I use raw, unpasturized goat milk for my kefir, and I get lots of those clumpy buttery things. I don't know what they are exactly, but I think they are cream globules that are trying to make butter and I just seperate them from the grains, add them to the kefir and stir them all together. Goat cream is white, and cow cream is more that is probably why your's are yellow. I really enjoy the cream clumps being back in the kefir, cause it reminds me of old fashioned buttermilk. You can use it in cream soups and sauces too.

When you are trying to tell which is a clump of cream and which is a kefir grain....look for the white, clearish popcorn or cauliflower looking clumps. If you take your finger and ~very~ gently press on any you aren't sure about, the butter ones will squish flat, and the kefir grains will give you some resistance and springyness. Those are your grains. When in doubt, I save them till they grow some more.

Eventually, my grains do get too when they do, I have a jar of warm filtered water that I put them in and stir them up gently. Then I strain them and rinse with more filtered water. It does help if the water is around 85-90 degrees....but I'd be afraid to let it be warmer. Freshly milked goat milk is between 100 and 105*, and I always let mine cool a bit before I stir in the kefir grains.

Tammy, to include more information on my original post about the yellow clumps of butter (?), when I strain the kefir and grains and butter (?), the liquid is not thick. Also it bubbles as it drains which I'm assuming is from the working off of the bacteria? It tastes sour so that is normal as far as I know. Thanks for your help.

Kefir will not necessarily be really thick; it should be like a runny yogurt after culturing for ~24 hours. The length of time, temperature, etc. is a variable and will affect the kefir. :)

I noticed my kefir grains growing a bit after a couple weeks of making kefir (so, about 12-14 batches of kefir). Keep on making kefir; the growth is slower or faster depending on the time of year, etc... :)

Tammy my third batch of kefir looked weird...there was an inch of whey at the top after 13 hours. I used fresh milk from the supermarket; 1 cup milk to 1 tablespoon kefir grains. Is the kefir still drinkable?

Thank you.


What you described sounds normal, and your kefir should still be good! :)

I have just made my first two batches of kefir. After my first batch I separated half as back up and distributed the rest into 8oz jars to start experimenting with. I have come out with a milk like drink, a thick shake, a curd type and a sour cream consistancy. None have a grainy consistancy or grain. The milky one had cauliflower like lumps. The only separation I get is a clear liquid on top? Just want to know if I am on the right track? I will read and learn as much as I can. Also I want to make cheese. So I strained one whole batch, drank the clear liquid that strained off and had a sour cream cheese substance left that was awesome on a bagel. How do I make cheese? From the clear whey that strained through?
Thanks Andy

I am not sure how one would make kefir cheese. What exactly are you doing to the kefir in your "experiments"? Heating it? Straining it? Adding things to it?

The consistency of kefir can vary depending on the milk, temperature, time cultured, etc.

You said "None have a grainy consistency or grain."

The kefir "grain" should be the soft, gelatin-like cauliflower-shaped culture that you strain out from the finished kefir and add to milk to continue making kefir. Is that how you are making your kefir, or are you using a powdered "starter" for the kefir?

Hi Tammy,

A nice person just gave me some kefir grains, and I made a coupe batches already with them. My place is pretty warm so in 24 hours it gets to the point where I have a thick layer of curds above a layer of whey. I don't mind this (you just shake everything to homogenize it), except for one thing. When I strain the kefir to retrieve the grains, they are all mixed up with curds and hard to tell apart, so I end up spending quite a bit of time examining each lump to determine what to do with it... What I was trying to obtain is thin yogurt, but the liquid I get when I strain is not thicker than milk. I want to use kefir with my morning cereal, so I am trying to achieve the same thickness as store-bought kefir. Is it just normal initial batches behavior and will it change after a few weeks, or am I doing something wrong ?

Thank you !

I would try using either more milk for the 24 hours time, or else culturing for less than 24 hours. I like my kefir best before it has separated (it is sweeter and less tangy/tart!) so I don't usually let it get to that point (or, I try). :)

If your kefir is thin, like milk, are you able to use a slotted spoon to remove the kefir grains from the finished kefir?

In my experience, kefir that has cultured longer doesn't necessarily get thicker. For example,

Milk = thin; add grains
Kefir cultured 12-24 hours (normally) = thick
Kefir cultured 24-48 hours (normally) = slightly thinner
Kefir cultured beyond 48 hours = back to nearly milk-consistency

Has anyone else observed this?

Remember, n=1 here.

Err...what's up with not using metal? Since April of this year I've left a clean metal spoon in the jar with my Kefir each day to stir throughout the day. To date, I have yet to have a 'bad' batch nor has it stunted my Kefir growth in any 24 hour period. Furthermore, the Kefir is kept in a place which is pretty cool...around 16c or 61f, for those south of the 49th, all the time.

Frankly, from what I've seen personally from people is that they don't use clean equipement. I tranfer my kefir into a cleaned jar every day and use a cleaned spoon to stir and then finally fish out the grains. (Go ahead use a little soap when cleaning you equipement instead of just rinsing. Maybe wash your hands too before you start handling the grains.)

As for the liquid, I tried to get raw milk from a Wagyu bull, but he was none too cooperative, so I had to settle for my store bought 2% milk. (One time though, I had to use 1% for about a week without any problems except that is didn't taste as rich as the 2%.)

Hi All
I have been making / drinking / using Kefir for about 6 weeks now. I make it with Soy milk and my grains are multiplying even though you say they won't. When you use Soy Milk the Kefir Grains change color to the color of the Soy Milk. I gave some grains to a friend who is using skim milk & after about 2 weeks her's had turned white again.. I guess they just take on the color of the product they are in.. When your kefir is ready to drink it has a bit of a fizzy feel on your tongue. That is because it is fermented...

I have had to split my grains 3 x now as they have grown so much that it ferments to the stage of thin yogurt (drinkable) in less that 24 hours.. If it is getting too thick in 24 hours either add more milk or use less kefir grains.. Sometimes I get tired of the plain kefir drink & so I make a smoothie..MMMMM!!! Last week I had an abundance of Kefir & so I experimented & made Sourdough Kefir Bread. Turned out pretty good. NIce sour flavour. Great texture...

Splitting off another portion for a friend today. Funny how when you start doing Kefir how many people you hear doing it as well...

Good luck all,


How did that braed come out. Do you have a recipe?

I believe that originally metal was never used because the types of metal available were all reactive. They would have leached metal compounds into the kefir. This was in the days before stainless steel.

Stainless steel is very unreactive and I believe is considered safe to use as a spoon for stirring although it is still considered best not to use a metal container for holding the kefir.

my friend started a batch of kefir and then had a family emergency, left it on the counter..till I saw it..about 4 weeks had become whey, with white sandy bits on the bottom..they are like sand. it still alive, and what to do with it??

I just got kefir and have made only 3 batches so far. I am also getting some cottage cheese like growth at the top which I must seperate from the grains. (easy to tell apart). I drank some of the kefir and it was very yeasty and i could barely get the glass down. Should it taste like yeast?

I will keep making new batches as it is probably still adjusting to the new milk....I sure hope it tastes better soon.


Hi, my kefir grains look kind of like ricotta now, but they do not look like cauliflower anymore. They are mushy feeling and I cannot find any firm springy grains.

It still ferments milk and gives a very slight carbonation. How do I get them to turn into grains again?

A few months ago I decided to take a break from Kefir. I was thinking a week at most. After the last batch I used, I cleaned my grains and added milk as normal; in a sealed jar. Unfortunately, the jar got pushed to the back of my cupboard and became out of sight out of mind. I found the jar the other day and it has now been about 4 monhs since I've opened the jar. Should I consider my Kefir bad now or can I clean it and cycle it through a few batches to rejuvinate it?

4 months un-refrigerated sounds too long. If you're adventurous, open the container in a well ventilated place, strain out the grains, wash them in fresh milk, then start a new batch and see what happens... odds are, it will be severely out of balance and lacking entirely some of the species that makes up traditional kefir. Trust your nose.

I really like milk kefir to drink and also found it does leaven bread, pizza and bagels well.

What do I do with my Kefir grains while away on vacation? I am going to be gone for 6 days. Do I store it in the fridge and then just add new milk when I return?

Kefir can be kept in your refrigerator for weeks at a time, just be certain to change the milk once a week. Here's a link to help:

After seeing that a friend had store bought kefir inher fridge, I decided that I was going to try making my own.
We love kefir flavored with fruit and I buy it often when our tummies need help! I was glad to see my friend likes it too, because that way I can share my kefir and grains with her!
I can't wait to see what my results are!
I am also doing Weight Watchers and make smoothies a lot with yogurt and frozen fruit. I think Kefir will be a great replacement!

I received my kefir dehydrated. It has been at least 3 months and doesn't seem to be growing. I added molasses to the the milk and that does not seem to help. I am not sure if the kefir is okay? Help'

i was too busy to strain my kefir so i put my jars in the fridge for almost a month. tonight i got them out, and the top 'layer' looked a bit moldy on all the jars. the grains themselves also smelled very yeasty. i have had them for years, and i never had any problems like this. are they 'done'?? or is there some way i can revive them?
thank you!

I just started making Kefir yesterday. I was looking for sites with instructions on when to drink it, and found your site. Wish I'd seen it earlier. Thank you for the informative site!


I just received my kefir grains this week and I have tried to "condition" them in skim milk for 3 days now. To me the milk just sours and the kinda sticks to the grains. Are the grains suppose to be slightly yellow? Sitting in the milk they look like they have a yellow tint to them. When do I know its actually starting to do the job?

Hi Tammy,
Sorry to bother you again. My second batch of kefir was a half jar of grains and some watery liquid at the bottom. There was a kinda of yellowist thick skin over the top grains--so I took those out (with a plastic fork) and put in our scrap bucket for our chickens. I took the rest of the grains and started again. I must be doing something wrong---any ideas? The woman I bought them from said to put a paper towel over the top---to not close the jar up with a cap---and I see you use a cap--could that have anything to do with my problems?
I got my grains on Etsy for $11.00 (paid extra for Priority Mail) Maybe my grains are just no good?
Thanks for your time!

Hi Ava...

That thick yellow skin that forms on top can be caused by air-borne creatures that get in and start growing their own little culture on top. I don't like it when I see that, but it doesn't mean that you have to throw them away. Your chickens should have loved them!

How long did you culture them? What kind of milk did you use? (Pasturized or Raw, Cow or Goat) What was the temp of your house.

I use a coffee filter on my jars, screwed on with the bands. Lets them breathe, but keeps out the dust.

If you cultured them for more than 24 hours, they could have dehydrated some too....that causes them to make a skin sometimes for me.

Try again, and let us know how it goes for you!

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for your reply. I gave up and just gave it to our chickens (and yes, they did like it!)

I am going to try again--this time I have ordered grains from a seller on ebay--so I hope there will be some accountability as to whether they will grow properly. I have pasturized whole organic milk (the only milk in the organic section that was NOT ultra-pasturized). There are no sources for raw milk in my area (that I am aware of).

I expect my new grains in the next few days, so I will try again. I used a paper towel over the top of my jar the last time, I hope that is not part of my problem. (we do not drink coffee--so I do not have any coffee filters).

As I remember, I cultured them for 24 hours or less. I have printed out loads of info from almost every available internet source this time--so hopefully it will turn out better this time!
Thanks again!

Thank you for your help!
Could someone tell me why my kefir tastes a bit like (sorry) vomit?

I used raw milk and kefir grains from the health food store. I put them in the milk (correct ratio acc. to the package) and set it out for over 24 hrs (our house was a little cool). I stirred it a few times in between. I put strawberries and the "kefir" in the blender. I cooled it in the fridge but it tastes a bit like vomit to me!

Was I to remove something?
I like Lifeway brand-does homemade taste that different? I wouldn't suppose it should taste this way.
I am wondering what went wrong. Any help is welcomed (or maybe I should just go back the the sugary, pasteurized, yogurty (and yummy flavor!) of the expensive store bought kind??)

Thanks! I'm so confused....

Hi Confused...
Since Tammy is gone, I thought I'd jump in here and try to help you.

First....don't throw the grains away. You need to get them happy....and it sounds like yours are not there yet. Make another batch. Use the raw milk again, but only culture them for 12 - 16 hours. Change out the liquid, and do it again. If it still tastes bad to you, try giving it to your animals. If you don't have any does wonders for tomato plants. You can also make waffles or pancakes or cornbread with kefir that isn't 'great'.

What were the package directions? How much milk did you add to how much kefir grains? How did the grains look when you got them? Did you put it into a quart jar (or pint jar), cover it with something like a coffee filter. I prefer making mine in jars....bowls are too wide and shallow to me. I personally do not ever stir mine while it is making. It seems to tear up the grains, and I am always trying to grow the 'biggest' grains I can.

I am worried that you are conditioned to the "sugary, pasteurized, yogurty (and yummy flavor!)" that you have been buying. Real, homemade Kefir doesn't taste that tastes more like buttermilk from the grocery. You can add sugar, fruit, and flavor later, but you need to like the base product first.

Try making it again a couple of times. Let us know how it goes for you.

one more did remove the grains before you put it in the blender, right?

I have been making my kefir for about 5 days, I allow it to sit for 24 hrs. I still only have the mushy semi solid mass in the keifer, no cauliflower clumps. What is wrong? Also, are the probiotic benefits in the kefir adequate at 24 hrs, or should I wait longer. I want the full benefits.

Or tried.. I have a short attention span and start to Skim thru lol.

I received my Kefir Grains a week ago today. I know they were cultured in Goats milk at their old home and then they were mailed to me. I have been using 1% store bought milk. Every single batch Ive *attempted* to make is just sour and runny milk. Ive tried more milk and less milk and the outcome is the same. Sour and seperated Milk with gunk all over the bottom of the jar/ cup. After skimming thru Im going to check it in 12 hours instead of 24hrs... Does it take longer than a week for it to bounce back, or am I just doing something wayyyyyyyy wrong?

Oh, and I did rinse my grains of the bad milk that was sticking to them =S Yea, Im a Noob at kefir making lol.... Ive been drinking Lifeway Kefir and mine looks NOTHING like that.

Thanks SO much for any help!!!

When I got my grains I was instructed to use only whole milk and never to use reduced fat milk. Your grains may not have enough to "eat" in your milk.

when i received my grains they were cultured in raw cow's milk, i use 1% milk now and they are growing... i actually think your grains are culturing very fast.. did you try the 12 hours and how did they turn out.... karen :)

I received some kefir from a dear friend to start making my own. She had blended her grains and just adds a couple of tbsps of the old batch to the new batch. My first week went fine, but I produced way more kefir than I could consume. I followed the short term fridge method
(small amount of my starter with fresh milk) and kept it in the fridge for 1 week. I then emptied the milk, kept any solids and added fresh milk to start a new batch. My last 2 batches have consisted of a block of what I assume is the cultured milk solids and quite a lot of whey. My second batch set up in less than 10 hours. Is this normal? It tastes very mild.


I have had no experience with kefir grains that have been through the blender... by a "solid block" forming, do you mean a curd-like texture, or something different?

Anyone else have ideas on this??

It is quite literally a container-shaped block of solids surrounded by whey. It resembles that fresh mozzarella you buy where it is several balls surrounded by liquid.

i personally would try cutting the block in a few pieces using a plastic fork/spoon and trying some in fridge and some on counter, i never culture mine in fridge unless i am storing extra grains.... karen :)

I have a friend who blends her kefir grains whenever she gets too many. If your grains are making good kefir in 10 hours.....they are happy kefir grains! The block you describe is normal...and you can take a whisk and stir it all up vigorously to make it smooth before you put it in the fridg. If you want to have large grains will have to let them grow for a while. When I want rapid growth on mine....I put my tiny kefir grains into a 9 inch glass pan, fill it with about an inch of raw milk, cover with saran and refrigerate. After a week or ten days, I strain it out with a fine mesh sieve, and do it again. They seem to like being in a shallow pan....though I don't know why. ((I have also done it in a half gallon jar, with the ring and flat canning lids, and laid on it's side. That works well too, and, it doesn't pick up any celery or pepper odors.))

My kefir grain doesn't seem to be growing at the rate it should (I've had it for 2 months, and it hasn't grown enough to split), and there's no whey forming beneath the fermented yogurt substance. Does that mean the kefir grain is dead or deactivated?

Sorry, where can I buy the granules? I had it, but it died. Thanks for any hints

I was so excited to share my new found love, Kefir with my Mom. I went through the process to show her how to make it. I had let my cultures rest in the fridge, as we had been very busy the previous 3 weeks. I was showing her how to look for the little "cauliflowers" and instead of using a plastic fork, used a metal fork. I realized my mistake, and instantly pulled it out. I dumped out the holding milk and poured some 2% organic milk in a bowl with my beloved little cauliflowers and the next day when it was ready, we tasted it. It has this yukky metallic taste to it. Plus it has a yellow or brown film on the top. Can I just keep making batches and thowing them away until it levels out? Or did I ruin it? It had such a mild pleasant flavor before. Man, I'm so bummed. I really did love my little kefir friends!

Hi...I use metal strainers all the time. Was your fork a stainless steel fork? Not a sterling silver one? As long as it was stainless shouldn't have any side effects from it at all.

The metallic taste, yellow or brown film on top.....that wasn't caused by a brief moment of contact with a stainless steel fork. Something else going on there.

If it was me.....I would get/make a couple of quarts of filtered water, warm it to about 95*, and wash my grains in it. Let them drain a minute or so, and place them into some warm 95* whole milk. Preferably raw milk. (I use goat's milk for all my kefir as we have 4 milking goats) Put the kefir grains in a clean jar.....and use just enough milk to give them *room*, but not so much that they have to work really hard to convert a whole jar of milk. Let them work in a place that is about 75-78*. Test the milk after 12 hours....if you see some thickening and a little bit of stringy stuff....that's good. Strain the grains and repeat for two or three batches. Then taste the third batch and see if they haven't rerturned to normal.


I have been making kefir and drinking for about a month...what has everyone noticed in there everyday apperance,,stomach, skin etc?

Just a question, once i had finished making my last batch i put it in the fridge and it separates with a light yellow liquid on top and the more milky substance below. Why is that and is it still safe to drink?

kind thanks


A clear yellowish liquid would be whey. Kefir does tend to separate after sitting a while (the time it takes seems to depend on the grains and how long it was cultured, in my experience). It's still safe to consume! :)

Dear Tammy,

You have a wealth of information on kefir here, keep up the good job.
I have shared your link to many friends.

I make Coconut Water Kefir as well as Raw Milk Kefir daily. I absolutely love them.

If anyone from Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand who would like to have Water Kefir Grains or Milk Kefir Grains, you may email Joy at kefirbaby @

Her grains are great :)

Appreciate you Tammy,

I'm going to start making kefir soon but wondered whether metal lids are ok with glass jars?

I know that you can't use metal strainers because it affects the bacteria so this may mean plastic lids are better? If so I have no idea where to get plastic lidded glass jars in the uk!!


I use metal lids but they have a plastic-like coating on the underside... like lids that would be used for glass jars of tomato-based sauces in the grocery store. Thus, the kefir doesn't actually contact the metal. You could use a rubber band and some waxed paper, parchment paper, or a clean cloth to cover the jars if you have no lids that you feel comfortable using. :)

Also, I believe the main concern is kefir grains coming into prolonged contact with metal or kefir being stored in metal. If you're storing your finished kefir in glass jars, just leave a little space at the top, use a metal lid, and the kefir won't need to come into contact with the lid (and there's no way it could harm your kefir grains since those wouldn't even be in the jar at that point!). :)

Hi! I love your site!

I am living in South Korea right now (as an English teacher) and I ordered some kefir starter online as I can't find kefir ANYWHERE here. The starter came in little packets of powder, not grains (as I had expected). The instructions say to use one packet per 2 cups of goat's milk, heat the goat's milk to 92F, then add and dissolve the powder, place into a airtight container and let sit at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Well I did that, and the milk still looks like milk! There was no thickening at all. The bottom of the glass jar has slight thicker milk stuck to it, but that's it. And it has a strong goaty smell. What is going wrong?

I've not used kefir starter, so if you followed the directions that came with yours (as it sounds like you did!) I have no idea why it didn't thicken at all. Can you contact the company or individual who sold you the kefir starter? They should be able to answer questions and (hopefully) replace the starter with some that does work. And, if you still have packets of the starter, it wouldn't hurt to try another one and see if the same thing happens... and then definitely contact the company. :)

Hi, I have been making kefir with raw cow's milk for many months with no problem and wonderful results. Yesterday, though, when I made our green smoothies (which I add about a quart of homemade kefir to), there was a strong vomit-like aftertaste. I dumped the whole batch and started over, this time just using raw cow's milk. That batch was great. Then again today, I made a batch of green smoothie with my fresh kefir, made overnight, and again, vomit-like aftertaste. My dog was happy with it but I had to dump the rest, which is about 10 cups of green smoothie. Ouch!! Have you ever heard of kefir doing this? Thanks for your help!

I haven't had that issue with kefir, but I've heard of people have a similar thing happen with their homemade yogurt.

Perhaps try rinsing the grains under cool water before making more kefir, to see if that helps "reset" them...

Thanks Tammy...good though, I will rinse them and start over, with fingers crossed. ;)

i received my kefir grains in milk about a week ago, but it was sitting out in the cold for 2 days (in cold MN) because i was on vacation and didnt get home in time. i have since been trying to make kefir, but after 24 hrs it always seperates into the watery whey on top and white on the bottom, and when i mix it up and strain it, it smells/tastes like rotten milk (and it never achieves a yogurty texture; it stays thin like milk).

The cold shouldn't have a long-term negative effect on your kefir grains; I'd give them some time to "warm up". Sometimes kefir stays fairly thin. Separation is normal, even in just 24 hours' time, although it just seems to depend on a variety of factors as to exactly how the kefir turns out in the end (milk types, temperature, grains, etc.). The kefir/milk shouldn't smell rotten though! "Soured", yes. But not rotten.


Thanks for the great information.

You say that Kefir grains that are cultured in non-mammalian milk will cease to grow. Do you mean that they will no longer digest the sugars and create the good bacteria or that they will not multiply?

I don't tolerate milk very well and I tried re-introducing it with raw goat milk that was cultured with kefir. But it still makes my tummy upset. So, I want to use the kefir grains I have on coconut milk. Will they culture the coconut milk? I don;t mind if they don't multiply, I just want them to culture


Hi, we have been using kefir grains here in Western Australia for the past few months,( we usually let it set for 2 to 3 days from initial separation to get a lovely ferment going) and have noticed that the last two batches of the curd, have been smelling like finger nail polish remover (acetone) would this be considered normal?
Warm regards

hi Tammy,
have read through the thread and didn't get much info about growing kefir in cold weather. i'm
in london and its 2 degrees right now..i think it will increase to 8 next week and hopefully get a bit higher into the coming months. but my house is cold

my question is how do i grow kefir in a cold climate? my house is only warm about 5 hrs per day, basically when my heating is on, I then put my kefir next to the radiator.(has goats milk in it)..

so it gets warmed up then cools down, warmed up and cooled down, thru the day..over night
it gets really cold, as i don't leave my haeating on. so it may aswell be in the refrigderator.

i've only just started kefir growing. do you reckon its ok to warm the grains about 4/5 hrs a day?.then adding those hrs all up this will mean 25 hrs of warmth (approx), will make a total of around 6 days@4hrs per day..i don't know if the goats milk will last out this long..maybe i should refridgerate it when the heating is not on?and when the house is warm bring it out..what do you reckon?
kind regards

just an update..its nearly been 24 hrs..and the kefir grains have deffinaltey mulitplied..
they are growing for sure..sometimes i think the jar gets too warm near the radiator, but it seems to really egt them going..i just hope i am not speeding hte process up to quick..i reckon the radiator heat is ok..its not that hot..just warms the jar up...

they seemed to survive over night..i wrapped them up in a blanket...the milk is still quite thin..
i shall update again after 48hrs..i think then i shall just chaneg the milk regardless of how it is..i think i need to do this a few times anyways, as my kefir came by mail and needs a few rounds before i drink it..i'm assuming of course..:)....all good fun!


Hi Tammy,

I'm new to bread making and I'm really confused about all the different types of flours at the store. Could you point me in the right direction as in what would be the ones to use to make a sour dough type bread?
Thanks in advance
Leslie Morantine

I am very new to making kefir and am working on my first batch and using grains. I am disappointed that it does not look anything like store bought. It has tiny particles in it and leaves a residue on the glass that the store bought does not. Should I be putting it through cheese cloth? On another note, I made rice milk kefir at the same time as the milk. It was very pleasant. I am very excited about kefir if I could only get the milk kefir to look right. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

I got my kefir a few days ago and finally decided to put it in milk this evening to give it a try. I am so glad I found your site because you explain it so well!

Since my kefir grains are new, should I hold off using the kefir until it grows more or can I start using it after it sits overnight?


I recommend letting it sit two nights, they will multiply but you probably wont notice until after a few weeks.

Taste them they might have a strong smell the first few batches, don't be afraid, keep it in the fridge one more day then try them out they taste better after a few days in the fridge. you might not be used to the taste at first but you get use to it, add marmalade, honey, sweetner, or something to make it sweeter to take the sour away, plus some fruits like strawberry, banana, kiwis, any fruits really.

Hi Col from England,
Have you ever thought of using those "Thermos" Brand, Vacuum jars - the WIDE mouth type?
These really keep the contents insulated for up to 12 hrs, so there is no need to monitor the temperature constantly. Good luck, Olaf - from "Down Under" (Aust.)

Hi SurfRat here

I also recently started using Kefir and have done several experiments and one was using kefir in milk in a closed jar for 24 hours and then then straining and keeping in the refrigerator for a week, the result was awesome, the original strained kefir "juice" was sour with a tangy fizziness to it and after a week in the fridge it seemed to thicken somewhat and took the flovour of buttermilk and adn had a consistency of pouring cream...YUMMMY

Hi I've been using kefir for a while, I make my yogurt somewhat differently than this site so maybe this also helps.

the days you ferment it varies depending on the room temperature, if you are in warm climate (20 c°) then you shouldn't ferment more than 3 nights, if hot (25+C°) then 24 - 48 hrs, i like mine very fermented but obviously before the milk goes bad, if temperature is between 5 and 15 C° then you could leave it a few more days maybe 5 nights. but no more than should try different stages of maturity to see which one you like the most. some are more sour some more creamy.. I rarely do less than 48 hrs. at 22 C°. Every night i grab the jar and shake it a few times so the yeast doesn't separate that much.

I also wash my kefir under the faucet after every use, then let drain for 10-15 min before adding fresh milk.

Also get into the habit of smelling them every once in a while while fermenting so you get the feel for when they are the way you like them to be.

After straining your kefir grab a spoon and stir the yogurt and put away in jar in the fridge.

yes the first few batches are stinkier but i still ate them. but like i said get in a habbit of smelling your kefir at different times to get used how they should smell. after a while its easier to tell if the batch is not so fresh or sometimes the kefir grains get slimy and stinky so i just pick those ones out and throw them away. don't be afraid to get your hands dirty just make sure you wash them before you do!

I went to Etsy to look for kefir grains. This product came up and I have never heard of making kefir with water. Any thoughts?

I have been growing kefir for about a month from grains bought on Ebay. I had to go through several batches to get a good batch, but then the taste was nice. The strange thing is that the grains made such huge batches of grains that I started feeding 1/3 to my dog. Just too much!
This last batch had to sit in the fridge for 2 days as I have been sick and ran out of milk. When I got it out, the surface is kind of tan. It looks odd.
Do I have to throw out my kefir+grains?
It really looks pretty disgusting.
I hate to lose my grains, but not sure what to do next.

I recently purchased Kefir grains and I am trying to make kefir by leaving them for 24 hrs. My first two batches smell only like yeast and not like sour milk. I left the jar in my cabinet because I knew someone (my kids) would end up knocking it off the counter or something. I am hoping it turns out better soon because I really want this process to work. Thanks for the all the helpful information.

I received my grains. Started my first batch. When life came up and well.... So now I have what looks like cottage cheese. It has a slightly sweet sour taste, not bad, needs salt. So can I eat my 'cheese'? Should I use it as grains for a new batch? And can I use the whey? Thanks so much for your help.

Hi, I got keifer grain from a farmers market last week. And I tried to make keifer for the first time. (Milk came from the same farm) I left it for about 24 hours. It tasted... Very fermented... More like a bit rotten. It was thickened but it didn't look like the one you showed in your video tutorial. It wasn't smooth like yogurt, it was filled with milk curd like thingy, which looked similar to the curd when I created paneer cheese from scratch. Did I fail???

I just received my grains from a friend; took 16 or 17 days to get here, so it smells quite yeasty, but not unpleasant. I found your site very helpful. My grains are now happily 'swimming' in milk. :-)

Can the initial batches that apparently smell quite strongly of yeast be used in baking or pancakes or the like? It would be more useful than just discarding.

Thanks a lot. ~ Linne (

I got my grains from here:

and not only do they work perfect, they send you a complete tutorial to start you going AND they buy back your excess grains with credits for their store. Excellent Excellent!!

I even converted some of my grains into water kefir and am now making my own soda pop. So much better then store bought!

wow, this is such a well written site! i started making kefir this week with grains gifted me. From Batch #1 it has tasted great. No more $4 quart kefir from Whole Foods! I add fruit and/or coconut to it and blenderize it. yummola. A frend tells me the first few batches turn out grainy, as mine has, but that the more the kefir grains are fed and grow, the creamier will be the kefir. I couldn't be happier. Boy, this is SOOOO much easier than making yoghurt!
thx so much for sharing all your knowledge.

I am looking for organic milk kefir grains in the Tampa, Florida area. Anyone?? :)

I have been making Kefir for about a month, I started using a good brand whole milk. Used three gals. of this milk and all was good then switched to 2% milk, the kefir made in about 18 hours but is grainy. I even ran it through my Vita-mix and it smoothed it out but when put back into the frig. it became grainy again. The kefir has a great taste but I was wondering if anybody else has had this happen ???

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