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Milk Kefir Kit

Lets Make Kefir!

This Kit Contains:

Welcome to kefir making! We are excited to


join you on this journey. Inside this kit you
will find the supplies and recipes you need to
make kefir.

Milk Kefir Grains

Mesh Strainer

Recipe Booklet

Making kefir is fun and we are always here for


support.
The Cultures for Health Team

Have a question?
We are always here to help!
Cultures for Health
1801 N. Louise Drive, Sioux Falls SD 57107
800-962-1959
customersupport@culturesforhealth.com
www.culturesforhealth.com
Cultures for Health, 2014

In

this booklet:
Activating the Kefir Grains, page 2
Making Kefir, page 3
Separating Grains from Finished Kefir, page 4
Flavoring and Second Fermentation, page 5
Troubleshooting and Tips, page 7
Straining Kefir for Thicker Kefir, page 10
Making Kefir with Coconut Milk, page 11
Recipes for Using Kefir, page 12
5504-14085

BEFORE YOU BEGIN


Check the contents of the milk kefir kit

Gather supplies

This kit includes dehydrated milk kefir grains and a


plastic strainer. Please contact us if anything is
missing or open.

To activate the culture and make subsequent


batches of kefir you will need:

The milk kefir grains in this kit have been dehydrated


and packaged in a small amount of organic dry milk
powder. They are generally shelf-stable but are
sensitive to extreme heat. Please store the grains in
the refrigerator until you are ready to rehydrate them
and start making kefir.

Milk

Glass or plastic container (canning jars work


well)

Coffee filter or cloth, secured with a rubber band

Prepare utensils and containers


Choose milk for making kefir

Please rehydrate your milk kefir grains using


pasteurized cow or goat milk, whole or reduced
fat.

Do not use ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk.

To make kefir using raw milk, please consult our


website for specific instructions.

CulturesForHealth.com

Do not allow metal utensils other than stainless


steel to come in contact with the culture itself.

Wash and rinse culturing container or jar


thoroughly, to remove soap or food residue.

Read instructions
If at any point the instructions are unclear, or your
culture does not perform as expected, please
contact Customer Support before discarding
anything.
Page 1

ACTIVATING THE KEFIR GRAINS


The kefir grains have been dehydrated to make the culture shelf-stable. To make milk kefir, the grains must
first be rehydrated.
1. Empty the entire packet of dehydrated milk kefir grains into 1 cup fresh cold or room-temperature
pasteurized milk.
2. Cover with a coffee filter or cloth secured by a rubber band
3. Place in a warm spot, 68-85F, to culture.
4. Let culture until milk thickens to the consistency of buttermilk or heavy cream, up to a maximum of 24
hours. Strain out the grains and put them into 1 cup fresh milk.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 every 24 hours until grains are activated. Activation may take up to 7 days.
6. In general, culture for 24 hours; however, it is important to check the milk. Check after 5-6 hours, then
every couple hours, or as often as you can, up to 24 hours.
7. Once the milk thickens within 24 hours or less, increase the amount of milk you use by cup per batch,
up to 4 cups, maximum.
8. Sour but pleasant aroma and slightly thickened milk indicate successfully cultured milk kefir.

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Page 2

MAKING KEFIR
1. Transfer the kefir grains to up to 4 cups of fresh milk.
2. Cover with a coffee filter or cloth secured by a rubber band.
3. Place in a warm spot, 68-85F, to culture.
4. Culture until milk is slightly thickened and aroma is pleasant, generally 24 hours.
5. After culturing is complete, separate the kefir grains from the finished kefir.
6. Place the kefir grains in a new batch of milk.
7. Store the finished kefir in the refrigerator.
If you wish to use raw milk to make milk kefir, please visit our website for detailed instructions.

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Page 3

SEPARATING OR STRAINING GRAINS FROM FINISHED KEFIR


At times, finished kefir may be very thick or separate into curds and whey. When this occurs, separating the
grains may be difficult. Follow these tips for separating the grains:

Before straining, using a non-metal utensil, stir the kefir gently to loosen the grains from the thick kefir
or curds.

Pour a portion of the thick kefir into the plastic strainer and stir gently using a non-metal utensil. The
stirring will work thick kefir or curds through the strainer, while leaving the grains behind. Avoid mashing
the curds through the strainer, as the grains may be mashed as well. Repeat until the entire batch has
been strained as much as possible.

Once the entire batch has been through the strainer, there may be some curds or thick kefir left in the
strainer with the grains. Add grains plus curds to fresh milk for the next batch.

To avoid overly thick or separated kefir with future batches, see Troubleshooting Tips, page 7.

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Page 4

FLAVORING AND SECOND FERMENTATION


The flavor of milk kefir may be surprising at first. Most people are familiar with the taste of yogurt, often
with fruit or sweeteners added; however, milk kefir has a unique flavor, different from yogurt, buttermilk, or
other cultured dairy products.
Milk kefir may have a sour, tart or mild flavor. While some find it delicious as is, others may find that it takes
some getting used to. Adding flavors to the finished milk kefir may help make it more palatable, especially at
first.
What Is a Second Fermentation?
The first fermentation takes place when milk kefir grains are added to milk and cultured for 12-24 hours.
A second fermentation takes place after the grains are removed. Fresh milk kefir is cultured at room
temperature for another period of 8-12 hours, with flavoring additions, if desired.
What Are the Benefits of a Second Fermentation?
Fermenting the kefir a second time, with added ingredients, can mellow the flavor of the finished product
somewhat. With so many choices available, milk kefir can be enjoyed as a sweet treat or savory snack.
B vitamins are said to increase, and the minerals calcium and magnesium are said to become more bioavailable to the human body when a second fermentation is performed.

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What Flavor May be Added for the Second Fermentation?


The sky is the limit! Because the kefir grains are removed before the second fermentation there is no risk of
contaminating or harming the kefir grains in any way. Here are some flavoring ideas:

Citrus fruit zest


Chopped fruit
Vanilla + cinnamon
Cocoa powder
Pumpkin pie spice
Garlic or onion (for use in savory kefir dip)

Please note: If adding ingredients that contain sugars, like fruit or honey, the finished kefir may become
more carbonated. To avoid a fizzy finished product, add sweeteners just before consuming.

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TROUBLESHOOTING AND HELPFUL TIPS


Normal Variations
Each batch of kefir is unique and may not proceed exactly as the previous batch. Some common variations
include:

Faster or slower culturing. The volume of milk cultured per batch and the culturing temperature may
affect the rate of fermentation for each batch. Beware of drafts from doorways or heating vents, which
may alter the culturing temperature and affect the finished product.

Floating or sinking milk kefir grains in the milk. The position of the kefir grains does not influence their
effectiveness.

No growth or multiplication of grains. While kefir grains often do grow and multiply, they are sometimes
reluctant to do so. Even if kefir grains do not grow or multiply, they should still make good kefir
indefinitely.

Rapid growth of grains. Under the right conditions, kefir grains may grow and multiply very quickly. Too
many grains in a batch can crowd the bacteria and cause the milk to culture several hours faster than
usual. For up to 1 quart milk per batch, use a maximum of 3 teaspoons grains, for best results.

Signs of Potential Problems


Milk Does Not Thicken. Finished milk kefir made at home should be about the consistency of buttermilk or
heavy cream. Thickness may vary, depending on culturing conditions.

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If kefir does not thicken, for the next batch, reduce the amount of fresh milk by about , replacing that
amount with finished milk kefir from the previous batch. Repeat 1-3 times, or until milk kefir begins to
thicken.
Example: If culturing 1 cup of milk, reduce by cup (2 tablespoons) fresh milk, replacing with cup
finished kefir from previous batch. If culturing 2 cups of milk, reduce by cup fresh milk, replacing with
cup finished kefir from previous batch.
Mold. While it is uncommon to find mold developing on a batch of kefir, it may occasionally happen. Mold
may appear as white, green, orange, red, or black spots on the surface of the kefir, or a pink discoloration of
the milk. Kefir grains that turn pink, orange, or green may be contaminated.
Yellow or yellowish-white kefir grains are not a bad sign but rather a normal variation. White formations on
the surface of the kefir may be mold or may be yeast. Please contact Customer Support before discarding
anything.
If mold does develop, immediately toss the entire batch, including the kefir grains. Do not try to salvage a
moldy batch or moldy kefir grains, even if you do not see mold on the kefir grains themselves. Doing so may
be dangerous to your health. Obtain a new set of kefir grains, clean the jar thoroughly, and try again
another day.
Pests. Fermenting kefir can be attractive to ants and fruit flies, which is why we recommend using a tightweave cover and securing the cover with a rubber band to keep the invaders out. If you find that insects or
larvae have infested your kefir, immediately toss the entire batch, including the kefir grains. Do not try to
salvage an infested batch or infested kefir grains. Doing so can be dangerous to your health. Obtain a new

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set of kefir grains, clean the jar thoroughly, and try again another day.
Safety First! All information is presented as suggestion only and does not substitute for using good
judgment. No matter what ingredients or ratios you choose to use, regardless of whether visible mold is
present or not, we implore you to always use your best judgment when making and consuming kefir and to
never consume any kefir that looks, tastes, or smells unpleasant.
Have more questions? We are here to help! Check out our online resources or contact us for oneon-one assistance.
Expert Advice Articles, Recipes, eBooks, and How-to-Videos
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kefir
Cultures for Health Customer Support
800-962-1959 or customersupport@culturesforhealth.com

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MAKING THICKER KEFIR: STRAINING KEFIR


To strain kefir, simply lay a piece of cheese cloth, a cotton bag, or a tight-weave dish towel in a colander.
Place the colander in a bowl. Pour kefir into cheesecloth, cotton bag, or tight-weave towel. Gather corners of
the cloth and tie together. Hang cloth above a bowl or jar to allow the whey to drain off for up to 24 hours,
depending on the thickness desired. Once the kefir has reached the desired consistency, store in a closed
container in the refrigerator. Straining the kefir will yield a soft, firm, or hard type of cheese:

Thickened Kefir: Strain for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Thickened kefir can then be used in place of yogurt
or even sour cream depending on the final texture.

Soft Kefir Cheese: Strain for 2-6 hours to achieve a soft cheese consistency. Mix in your favorite herbs,
spices, fruits, or vegetables to create a soft cheese perfect for dips or spreads.

Kefir Cream Cheese: Strain for 12-18 hours. May be used in place of cream cheese in recipes.

Hard Kefir Cheese: Strain for 12-18 hours then place cheese in a cheese press and press for several
hours, flipping the cheese regularly throughout the process. Hard kefir cheese can be finely grated.

Note: Whey strained from kefir can be used for soaking grains or inoculating fermented vegetables, fruits, or
condiments. Whey can also be used in place of water in many recipes. It will generally keep for up to 6
months in the refrigerator.

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COCONUT MILK KEFIR


Coconut milk kefir can be used in place of regular milk kefir in recipes. We recommend selecting a brand of
coconut milk with the fewest number of additives and preservatives, to protect the health of your kefir
grains. Guar gum does not seem to be problematic.
To make coconut kefir, use active kefir grains that have been rehydrated in dairy milk and have cultured a
few good batches of dairy kefir.
1. Place kefir grains in coconut milk and stir gently with a non-metal spoon.
2. Cover loosely with a towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band.
3. Culture at 68-85F for 12-24 hours.
4. After 12 hours, check the coconut kefir frequently.
5. Once coconut kefir reaches the desired consistency, separate the grains from the finished kefir.
6. Place the grains in fresh milk for the next batch.
7. Coconut milk kefir may not thicken as much as dairy milk kefir, but it is still a cultured kefir drink.
8. An adjustment period isn't uncommon whenever kefir grains are switched from one type of milk to
another (cow to goat, pasteurized to raw, dairy to coconut, etc.).
9. Milk kefir grains can be cultured in coconut milk regularly but should be revitalized in cow or goat milk for
24 hours every few batches, to keep the grains healthy.
10. Other non-dairy milks may be cultured using milk kefir grains, though results may be inconsistent.
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CREAMY SPICY SOUTHWESTERN SALAD DRESSING

1 cup pourable kefir, yogurt, or buttermilk (must be thin)


cups sour cream or crme frache
3 green onions, diced small
cup minced cilantro, lightly packed
teaspoon chili powder
teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in bowl, mix well, and chill for at


least 30 minutes before serving. Just before serving taste
and adjust seasoning if desired.
Pour over taco salad or your favorite Mexican dish, or serve
as a vegetable dip.

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KEFIR RANCH SALAD DRESSING


With enough strongly-flavored ingredients to mask the kefir taste for even the staunchest kefir questioner,
this dressing is one the whole family will love.

2 cups kefir that has been strained in a coffee filter for 30 minutes
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 fresh garlic clove, minced
1-2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and allow to


rest for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Taste and
adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled over a fresh
green salad or as a dip for various cut vegetables.

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BLUE CHEESE AND WALNUT KEFIR DIP

2 cups strained kefir (consistency of sour cream or slightly thicker)


4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours prior to serving to allow
the flavors to meld.

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CULTURED WALDORF SALAD


The Waldorf salad is a lovely combination of sweet, savory, and rich ingredients. Using kefir and sour cream,
as in this recipe, it comes alive with the tang and probiotics one finds in cultured dairy.

4 red-skinned apples, diced


cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped celery
cup purple grapes, sliced in half
cup kefir
cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Butter lettuce leaves for serving

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and season with


salt and pepper to taste. Serve scoops of this salad in small
butter lettuce leaves.

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CHILLED CUCUMBER AVOCADO KEFIR SOUP


In the heat of summer something cool and filling at the dinner table sounds good. This soup, alive with probiotics and enzymes from cultured dairy kefir, creates a lovely, cooling meal alongside something slightly
filling like crackers and cheese or a thin-crusted homemade pizza topped with summer vegetables.

1 pounds cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped


1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
small red onion, roughly chopped
1 cup kefir
1 handful of fresh cilantro, dill, or parsley as desired
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped radish, scallion, or cucumber to garnish.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend


until very smooth. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.
Serve topped with chopped radish, scallion, or cucumber and/or
crumbled feta or goat cheese.

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KEFIR CHEESE, BANANA, AND PEANUT BUTTER SPREAD


This is a ratio rather than a recipe because it can be made in any amount. Because the banana browns over
time, however, it doesnt keep forever so we recommend taking the extra two minutes to throw it together
fresh.

4 parts kefir cheese (see page 11)


2 parts smashed banana
1 part peanut butter (or other nut butter)

Smash together the kefir cheese and banana with the back of a
fork. Mix in the peanut butter until you have a thick dip-like
consistency. Now the fun part: eat it as is off a spoon for a quick
snack. Spread it on sourdough toast for breakfast or a snack.
Dip apple slices, carrot sticks, or crackers in for a crunchy,
sweet, and tangy treat.

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RASPBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP KEFIR ICE CREAM


Tangy cultured milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, pair well with berries of all kinds. Raspberries work
exceptionally well with chocolate too and so in this berry- and kefir-rich ice cream you get the best of both
worlds.

4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries


2 cups kefir (use 1 cup kefir cheese + 1 cup kefir for an ultra-creamy result; see page 10 for kefir
cheese)
2 cups cream, half-and-half, or milk
cup honey or maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips, chunks, or shavings

Use kefir made with cow milk, goat milk, or coconut milk. Combine
raspberries, kefir, cream or milk, sweetener, and vanilla extract in a
food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer mixture to ice cream
maker and churn according to instructions. Add chocolate chips
according to manufacturers instructions. Finish churning and serve
immediately as soft-serve ice cream or freeze to harden.

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Page 18

KEFIR EGGNOG

1 cup kefir
3 cups fresh cow or goat milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus more for serving

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a quart
jar, tightly seal the lid, and shake until well combined. Chill and serve with additional ground nutmeg and
whipped cream if desired.
Note: Please exercise caution when consuming raw eggs or
products made with raw eggs.

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KEFIR SMOOTHIE RECIPES


Cranberry

Apple Pie

Pumpkin

cup kefir
cup frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons blueberries
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
cup cranberry juice
Dash of
vanilla
extract

cup kefir
cup unsweetened apple
sauce (best if chilled or
frozen)
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

1 cup kefir
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
Dash of vanilla extract
Pinch of
cinnamon,
nutmeg, or
pumpkin pie
spice.

Banana

Mango

Orange

1 cup kefir
1 banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sweetener to taste

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cup kefir
cup banana
cup mango, papaya, or
guava
Sweetener
to taste

cup kefir
2-3 tablespoons frozen
orange juice concentrate
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ice
cubes

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WHY CULTURES FOR HEALTH?

We love our products and stand behind them. These are the items we use to make food for our own
families and are proud to offer to your family.

We are committed to providing the best customer support. Have a question about how to make
yogurt? Looking for a new cultured food your family might enjoy? Want to know what you will need to
make cheese? Need assistance ordering? We are here to help! We have assembled a talented and
knowledgeable group of customer support representatives, with lots of experience culturing, fermenting,
and making real food for their own families. Customer support is available via phone, email, website
chat, our blog, and various social media outlets including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and
more.

We strive to have the best available information including expert advice articles, recipes, and
how-to videos. Your success is our success! We are continually updating our website with new recipes
and helpful tips, and we incorporate advice from our customers too.

We want you to be happy and successful with your food projects. We are always here to support
our products, answer questions, troubleshoot, and more. Not happy with something you bought? Have a
suggestion for some products we can offer? Let us know: we will do what we can to make it right. We
value a long-term relationship with our customers.

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