Dairy kefir is a very popular first ferment for people trying out fermented foods for the first time. Its no surprise - it is packed full of some 30 beneficial strains of bacteria and beneficial yeasts, and is very easy to make.
Kefir is a SCOBY, which when fed with un-homogenised milk, it lacto-ferments the milk to produce a slightly tangy, and very mildy effervescent yoghurt.
Dairy kefir is easy to care for, it just needs a little attention every couple of days. The process involves leaving the kefir out on the side, but don't be alarmed with the idea because a lacto-fermentation process prevents the growth of unfriendly bacteria, but if you are concerned about this - you can store it in the fridge which is fine, but it will also slow down the process.
To adjust the flavour, play around with the amount of milk, the temperature and the length of time you leave it to ferment. You do not need to wash the grains between batches, but if the flavour ever gets too strong, then you can rest the grains in filtered water for a few hours and then make a new batch.
With the correct care, kefir will reproduce itself indefinitely, so you can share any excess grains with others - share the gut love.
~ Flora Nichol
Place dairy kefir SKOBY in jar, cover with milk, muslin and elastic band.
Leave on the kitchen bench for approximately 12-24 hrs at 15-22°C.
Strain through a plastic sieve into a glass bowl or jar, then consume the yoghurt-like product immediately or move into clean sealed jar in the fridge to consume within 4-6days (NB. the product will continue to ferment so the flavour will get stronger daily).
Place the SKOBY back into the original jar (cleaned with hot water) and repeat the process indefinitely.
To store for another time:
up to 7 days - in milk in the fridge
up to 14 days - no milk in the fridge
up to 3 months - rinse in filtered water, cover in milk powder, store in a sealed bag in the freezer