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Milk kefir in glasses on a board

Homemade kefir

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • plus 18-24 hrs for fermenting
  • Easy
  • Makes 500ml

Make your own milk kefir with our easy-to-follow recipe. This tangy fermented dairy drink is similar to yogurt and packed with beneficial probiotic bacteria

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian
Nutrition: per 100ml

Find more advice on perfecting this fermentation method along with kefir recipe recommendations in our guide on how to make kefir.


  • ½ tsp kefir grains (see tip, below)
  • 1 pint milk (organic whole milk for best results)
  • 1 slice lemon or 1 drop lemon oil (optional)

You will also need

  • 500ml clip-top jar with gasket for fermenting (or jar, cover and rubber band)
  • a sieve, jug/bowl, storage bottle or a straining funnel and wide-necked bottle


  • STEP 1

    Put ½ tsp kefir grains in the jar. Add the milk, leaving about 2cm head room if using a clip top jar, or at least 5cm for a cloth-covered jar.

  • STEP 2

    Set aside at room temperature for 18-24 hrs to ferment. It’s turned to kefir when the milk has thickened. It may have set and separated, with pockets of whey forming – this is quite normal.

  • STEP 3

    If you can’t strain it straight away, put it in the fridge to stop it fermenting further, the flavour can get quite strong – you can strain it anytime over the next 48 hrs.

  • STEP 4

    Strain the kefir through the sieve or straining funnel into the jug or bottle. The grains are quite robust and will withstand gentle stirring.

  • STEP 5

    You can drink it straight away, flavour and refrigerate it (a slice of lemon peel or a drop of lemon oil add a delicious fresh taste), or leave it at room temperature for a few hours to make it taste stronger. Storing it in the fridge will slow down the fermentation by the microbes and it should remain pleasantly useable for 7-10 days.

  • STEP 6

    In order to make some more kefir, rinse out the jar, return the grains (don’t wash them, there’s no need), and start again from the beginning.

</p> <h6>WHERE TO FIND KEFIR GRAINS</h6> <ul> <li>You can&rsquo;t make kefir without kefir grains. The 'grains'&nbsp;are actually&nbsp;bacteria and yeast that look like tiny cauliflower florets, bound together in a kefiran polysaccharide matrix.&nbsp;</li> <li>If you know someone who already makes kefir, ask them if you can have some &ndash; as little as half a teaspoon will be enough to make your own.</li> <li>Alternatively, fresh grains can be purchased online. If they arrive in the post, they may need a little re-invigorating after their journey; put them in a small jar and cover with whole milk &ndash; you won&rsquo;t need more than 100ml. Cover and leave on the side for 12-48 hours until the milk has set (it varies depending upon milk used and&nbsp;temperature). When it does, you&rsquo;re good to go and can scale up.</li> </ul> <p>

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