I've been learning more and more about kefir and how to make it happy through experimenting. My basic process is to let my kefir ferment for 24 hours, shaking the jars every so often to mix things up, and then finally giving them a good hard shake right before straining out the grains, transferring the grains to new clean jars, adding milk and starting the process over again.
Sometimes I'm not home at the 24 hour mark. I try to plan ahead for this and if I know I'm not going to be home, I'll put the kefir/milk into the fridge. Putting your kefir grains and milk in the fridge seriously slows the fermentation process. I haven't perfected the timing when I refrigerate kefir quite yet. In other words, I'm a bit unsure how much time it takes to ferment while leaving the grains in the fridge. I usually end up taking them out of the fridge and letting them sit again on my counter (again, I'm unsure of optimal time frames at this point).
Kefir really is plain simple to make...but you can definitely get a bit lost in perfecting your ratios/timings/temperatures.
Note: Never tighten the lids of fermenting jars. Ever.
|Taking a break in the fridge.|
|On the left, just about perfect. Ready to be shaken up and strained. On the right, a bit too long or maybe a bit too many grains. That separation isn't the end of the world. I just shook it up and strained it like normal. It still tasted great.|
|Two fresh jars with grains at the bottom, ready for some milk. Finished kefir on the right.|