9 Interesting KEFIR questions Answered!
When introducing kefir and kefiring into your home and lifestyle it’s much like having a new puppy around, the air is filled with adventure & excitement, everything is fun and new! Everyone is happy and playful until it comes to cleanup. Unlike a cute little puppy, Kefir can help clean up a messy, unbalanced gut and have other health benefits too.
“Nothing quite compares with well Cultured, Silky Smooth Kefir which is packed with probiotics eagerly helping to keep the gut happy with all the goodness minus the milk sugars (lactose) all in one meal!”
Making kefir at home is a relatively safe practice, it’s something that has been done for a VERY long time in less favorable conditions and still the kefir grain (from way back when) made it to your kitchen counter today.
Sometimes it does happen that kefir turn out less than perfect but rest assured it’s normally not something to worry about most of the time. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions and some things to take into consideration when making the perfect kefir.
Seeing that Kefir Grains are live microorganisms they, like every other living thing, need to be fed and well taken care of. Doing this will keep them happy and keep them doing what happy kefir grains do best which is making excellent kefir and multiplying to contribute to our wellbeing. More often than not kefir grains are quite productive in their quest to change the world but other times they may be under the weather and produce a less than perfect kefir. Having kefiring troubles basically boils down to three major things being TIME, TEMPERATURE & RATIO.
1. WHY IS MY KEFIR SEPARATING?
So you seer your kefir is separating into curds floating on top and whey being the watery liquid resting at the bottom of your jar.
Shorten fermentation time. It’s best to put the grains into new milk once you see whey pockets forming.
Higher temperatures increases the grains’ rate of metabolism with winter having the opposite effect. If it’s hotter your milk will ferment quicker and are likely to over ferment and separate if you don’t keep a close eye on it.
RATIO- The solution:
REDUCE your kefir grains, REDUCE fermentation time, INCREASE your milk volume
2. FLOATING OR SINKING GRAINS:
Your grains will float if the density of your grains is lower to the density or specific gravity of the milk that it’s put into. Tiny Carbon Dioxide bubbles produced by yeast can form around or in the grains and cause them to float. This is the same reason why kefir curds float. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
3. MILKY STRING-LIKE STRANDS COVERING MY GRAINS
These string-like threads may be mistaken for slimy grains but it’s not. It’s Kefarin and is responsible for the many health benefits and is responsible for the silky smooth mouth feel. Don’t let the appearance discourage you – this coming from someone that doesn’t like jelly because of the texture. Kefarin is a sign of good health.
4. FLAT GRAINS
These grains aren’t a “special type” of grain or a “sick” grain. This happens when the kefir grains are squished continuously when separating the grains from the kefir. If you have Flat grains you’ve got Nothing to worry about.
5. WHITE OR LIGHT BROWN FILM ON KEFIR:
A white furry or light brown film is forming on the surface of my milk kefir.
This is Flowers of kefir formally known as Mycodermia. You would be pleased to learn that this is not mold, it’s formed in the presence of oxygen formed by fungi and or bacteria present in the air or in kefir. It is believed for it not to be hazardous to the health and can be regarded as safe BUT it’s not a traditional part of kefir and shouldn’t occur with every brew.
Here’s Causes of occurrence and Action to solution:
CAUSE 1.: Brewing longer than 48 hours for 3 or more consecutive batches.
ACTION: Give your grains new milk every 12-48 hours. Put a reminder on your phone if you must.
CAUSE 2.: Too Many Kefir Grains Too Little Milk. Bear in mind that it is best for you kefir to culture in ideally 24 hours, if it cultures in less than 12 hours, then it’s a good idea to look at your kefir grain to milk ratio. If your grain volume is too high it will encourage yeast activity, especially in hot weather when, with the given conditions, it’s more likely for flowers of kefir to form.
ACTION: Half your grains and use the same volume of milk as you previously used and let your kefir ferment for 24 hours. This should resolve the issue.
What if I get flowers of kefir with my second ferment or ripening of kefir?
Remember, Flowers of kefir need oxygen to live and that’s why it’s a good idea to put a lid on it. Putting a lid on your kefir will also increase carbonation. An airlock system can also be used but will let the Carbon Dioxide escape so there won’t be much carbonation going buildup but it will keep the oxygen from coming in.
I have heard of people skimming the flowers of kefir from the top and using it to make a sour dough starter.
6. COLOURFUL KEFIR
In this one instance colourful is not good and extremely rare, nobody that I know have had a natural occurring colourful kefir experience. Pink, blue, green and black are all indications of mold and can occur if someone totally forgot about the kefir and left it unattended for MONTHS if not longer? I will not suggest trying to save them because you don’t know what you are going to save, rather start afresh.
7. HELP, MY KEFIR IS MOVING!?
Kefir should never Ever NEVER Move: if you see any form of movement in your mother culture you most probably have an infestation. A fly or gnat must have found the perfect home for its offspring and now you are part of the cycle of life. Try to use a tightly woven cloth or paper towel with a rubber band to keep those critters out and try not to leave your kefir grains open and unattended when opening your jar to pour off the kefir and adding fresh milk. You’ll have toss the infested kefir grains and start anew.
8. MY KEFIR IS TOO SOUR
The longer kefir ferments the less lactose it will contain and the more the kefir benefits increase. Now, the longer kefir ferments the more sour it gets! So it’s good to find the perfect balance in taste that suits you best.
If you’ve had “accidental” sour kefir because the house was unexpectedly warmer then you can
- Take that sour kefir and add some fruit to it, leave it for 4-6 hours on your counter to lessen the sourness. OR
- When using it in a recipe add 1/2 as much kefir with half normal milk, coconut milk or any other nut milk you’d prefer. OR
- Add Milk to your SUPER Sour Kefir (not the grains) place it on the counter for 4-6 hours.
9. SMELLY KEFIR
Kefir normally has a fresh, slightly yeasty aroma. BUT if your kefir ahs a ROTTEN or spoiled yeast smell it’s definitely a cry for rehabilitation!
- Wash your kefir grains in clean fresh milk (Never Use Water) This is to get rid of the access yeast.
- Place them in a sterilized glass jar and top them up with fresh milk.
- Let them rest in the fridge for 3 days up to a week.
- Drain the kefir and throw it out. Use the grains to start a new batch of kefir in a clean sterilized jar. Brew as per normal.
- Test your kefir – If it looks good, smells good, tastes, good – then it is probably GOOD!
- It may take a couple of batches before they start kefiring as they should.
That’s a wrap for this one. Please feel free to post your comments or questions about kefir here especially if there’s something that you struggle with or are uncertain about.