Making milk kefir is easier than it looks. As one of the strongest food based probiotics, learning to make milk kefir at home will pay you back a million times more than the effort. The first step it to acquire kefir grains, such as these or these or these. Kefir grains look and feel like white gelatinous mini cauliflowers. As the grains grow they can invert themselves, expand and explode much like popcorn. This leaves a flatter, more stretched out kefir grain. 

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Put the kefir grains in a glass jar and cover with milk, preferably raw milk. The general ratio of grains to milk is one tablespoon of grains per one cup of milk to brew in 24 hours, however, this is not a solid rule. Less grains will still ferment the kefir, it’ll just be slower. More grains will ferment the milk into kefir faster. Put a lid on the kefir as it is anaerobic. Fermenting milk kefir isn’t as concerning as fermenting vegetables in terms of keeping the grains submerged below the milk line. 

Shake the bottle once or twice throughout the day to relocate the grains. Kefir grains only ferment what they are touching so relocating the grains creates a more tasty and even keeled product. One the milk is fully fermented, the lactose will be digested, the casein will be converted to para casein and it will be more solid in form much like yogurt. As in the picture below, the kefir will stay in more of a solid shape. It can also be liquid, not thick, depending on what is happening in the milk and grains at the time, both are normal. Kefir is known as the Champagne of Milk, bubble and effervescent. 

The longer the kefir ferments, a whey break line will appear about 2/3 of the way down the jar. This means all the lactose has been digested and all the casein has been converted to para casein. Most people like kefir best just before the whey break line breaks. 

When you open the lid, the kefir will be thicker than milk and will stick to the sides of the jar. If it doesn’t stick to the sides of the jar, it’s fine. Every time you brew kefir it will look a tiny bit different, sometimes more curd-like, others more liquidy. 

Use a stainless steel strainer or plastic colander, silicone spatula and glass bowl. Place the strainer over the bowl and pour the contents of the brewing milk kefir jar into the strainer. 

Push the milk back and forth. The fermented kefir will fall through the strainer and the kefir grains will remain in the strainer.

The more you brew milk kefir, the more the grains will multiply. Propagating grains are healthy grains. They will all be different shapes and sizes, depending on their age. 

Put the kefir grains back in the same jar where they were previously brewed, there is no need to wash this jar every time you brew kefir. In fact, using the same jar will provide more grains as the time dots stuck to the side wall are new grains forming. Some folks keep using the same jar until it smells sour on the top, then they switch to a clean jar. Pour new milk over the kefir grains. Put a lid on the jar and let it sit another 24 hours.

The milk kefir in the bowl is ready to drink. Many folks like it plain, while others like it mixed with vanilla and honey. A second ferment can be done using fruit. To do this just pour the strained milk kefir into a new jar (without grains) and add fruit. Put a lid on the jar and let it ferment longer, until the fruit has colored the milk kefir. The thinner you slice the fruit, the more it may completely be digested in the second ferment. 


The brewing kefir can sit on the countertop or in a cabinet. There is a lot of forgiveness when making milk kefir. Some people just stick their hands in the jar to pull out the grains, then stick the grains in a new jar and pour new milk over top, then drink the original jar. 

As your kefir grains make new baby kefir grains, you’ll be overrun. They can be mailed by putting a tablespoon or two of grains in a snack pack zip top bag, double bagged, then put in an envelope. 

The more grains in the envelope, the more stamps you will need. Mailing them on a day that has consecutive mail delivery is best so that the grains don’t sit in the heat or mail office for more days than necessary.

Milk kefir is specific to drowning out pathogenic yeast strains, drowning out streptococcus strains which cause tics and drowning out pathogenic strains which cause eczema. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.




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