Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just recently purchased some kefir grains and I placed them (about a heaping tablespoon full) into 2 cups of fresh "whole" cow milk that I had purchased from the store. I let it sit 24 hrs and then tasted it. It was not thickening (even as much as if one left plain milk sit at room temperature to clabber) though it did change taste. A very light sour taste.

I strained the grains out and drank the milk. Then I placed 4 cups of this same milk in with the grains and let them sit for another 24 hrs...same thing so I let them stay as is for another 12 hrs...same thing in that the milk is still the thickness of regular cow's milk; however, the taste is sour...not a good sour either...not a sweet sour taste.

Both times I've noticed quite a few of the kefir grains were floating on top of the milk and it was my understanding they would be too heavy to do this; but would probably stay at the bottom or maybe middle, depending on the thickness of the milk.

Can anyone speak to what may be happening? (I'm probably doing something wrong but don't know what it is as I followed instructions.)

Do some kefir grains NOT THICKEN MILK?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
The only time I've had any trouble with milk Kiefer grains is when I have switched from goats milk to cows milk. I've made Kiefer out of goats milk for years and had the same family of grains. However when I tried them with cows milk I got an effect similar to what you explained. After researching it a bit I kept trying and within a couple of weeks they adapted to the cows milk and I was getting thick and sour Kiefer. Also home made isn't as thick as store bought unless you let it get really sour.
If that doesn't help try posting in the dairy section on here. That's where I've learned a lot about ferments and cheeses:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
I think you are using way too much milk for that amount of grains. When I got my grains, the instructions said to ferment in a small amount of milk -- 1 cup to about 2 Tbs. of grains. It thickened up in 24 hours, then I gradually increased the amount of milk. But I never go as low as you do in grain to milk ratio -- I haven't measured in a while, but I guess I go about 1-2 Tbs. grains to 1 cup of milk. One website I read said to start new grains with 5X the volume of milk, so that would be a bit over 1/2 cup.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ok thanks. I will strain the grains out and place only 1/2 cup of milk in with them for a 24 hr wait period. (I do know the kefir grains came from a lady who raises goats; so that may be part of the problem in that my goats have been dried up for kidding purposes. Thus, I'm using store-bought cows milk.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
I've always used just store bought milk, but it makes sense if you change milk types, the grains will need an adjustment period. I also know when I use 2% milk, it takes longer to make.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm curious, can I make kefir milk during cold winter months? I keep my trailer pretty cold like in the mid-high 60s. Is this too cold for the kefir grains to work their magic? Should I stay with creating only a small amount (like 1/2 to 1 cup) per 24 hours during cold weather?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
I keep my house around 85 in the summer and 65 in winter. In the summer kefir makes in about 8 hours, in the winter, it can take up to 2 days. The 24 hours timeframe is pretty much an average. I make kefir all year around -- usually a quart at a time that I refrigerate until gone. I don't bother to strain the grains out until I'm ready to make the next batch, but most instructions tell you to. By leaving the grains in, they grow much faster than if I strain them out each time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Belfrybat, thank you. I keep my trailer about the same temp as you do your home; so it is good to know such a cool temp will not stop the grains from working well.

I just strained this last batch of kefir milk. It was only about 1/2 cup of fresh cow milk that had been put in with the grains; and in 24 hrs this time the milk had definately thickened. However, I saw more that looked like whey than thick milk; and the taste was still terrible.

I rinsed the grains off with a little fresh cow milk, added about 3/4 cup to a clean glass jar and put in the grains, swooshing them around a bit. Then I covered that jar with a coffee filter (placing the cheese cloth over all) and secured it with a rubber band. Now it is sitting in the darkness of my pine cabinet awaiting another 24-hr time period. Why is it still tasting so bad? Should I be doing something other than what I'm doing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
Did the milk separate? That sometimes happens to me when the temp. is high and it makes too fast. I just stir it back together. I had some grains sour a couple of years ago. The jar got stuck back in the fridge for over a month. They still worked but the taste of the kefir was definitely "off". I don't know it I had used them several time if things would have changed. I threw them out as I had more in the freezer. BTW, when you build up enough grains, pull off a couple of Tbs and freeze in a small amount of milk. That way you will have backups.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much Belfrybat, if these ever start producing drinkable kefir milk, I'll let them grow and do just that, i.e. freeze some. How long can you leave them frozen without damaging them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
The package I just took out of the freezer was marked Jan 2012, so over 2-1/2 years. But that's the longest I've ever kept them. It took about 30 hours to make up the first batch using 1 cup of milk and only 18 hours for the second using 1-1/2 cups of milk. I freeze about 2 Tbs. grains in a quarter cup of milk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,153 Posts
Just about all you'd want to know about kefir, except I pay no attention to the "no metal" rule -- stainless steel is fine:

http://cushfood.com/kefir/
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,408 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for that URL. Going over there now. :)
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top