I will let my friend Wikipedia explain Kefir
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros), purportedly from either the Turkish "keyif" (joy/pleasure) or "köpür" ((milk) froth, foam), is a fermented milk drink that originated with shepherds of the Caucasus region, who discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. Dairy-free alternatives are available, such as coconut milk kefir and soy milk kefir.
I began researching Kefir when I was reading up on starting my own kombucha scoby. Despite seeming a bit extreme, it was something I was immediately interested in. Growing up, I have seen my mother go out and buy kefir occasionally. My interpretation at that time(and up until recently) was that Kefir was just liquid/drinkable yogurt. I came to learn that Kefir supposedly has many other benefits besides what typical yogurt has. One that stood out was kefir can take residence in your system and continue to benefit you after passing, whereas yogurt just passes. The only question I had left was could I perpetually make kefir like I do with yogurt. Yogurt can be store bought and mixed with milk later, then incubated, and wala, yogurt X 3.
Turns out kefir is a bit different, you need kefir grains to make kefir. I was very skeptical at first, thinking this to be a kefir grain conspiracy orchestrated by hippies. In fact, in researching that I have come across a bunch of kefir/yogurt general conspiracy material, will research in the future. Anyway, after sending an email to a biology professor asking for some scientific basis for why I needed these magical grains(still haven’t hear back), I decided to bite and started looking for kefir grains.
I found a list online with people who would set you up with some kefir grains for free or a nominal fee. I emailed someone near me and he promptly replied saying he didn’t have any kefir grains but I could get some from this lady Marilyn(later I came to learn the is the one and only Kefir Lady). I contacted Marilyn who told me her prices and said she ships on Mondays, and will ship my order before she gets my payment. She pointed out that people seeking out kefir grains tend to be honest people, so my payment was trivial at that point in the process. I place my order for milk and water kefir grains, and then I waited.
Despite communicating with Marilyn late Monday, and expecting to receive my order the next wednesday/thrusday, i received my grains that same Thursday. Yay! The grains came in small zip lock baggies along with a 10 page kefir guide. I can not say enough about Marilyn’s services, she rocks, and apparently has a good knowledge in Nigerian Dwarf goats if your interested! Check her out.
Well, I covered the milk kefir grains in a fair ammount of milk and did the same for the water kefir grains(but with sugar water, see picture). I waited a day or so, strained it and repeated. I did not drink the first batch, chalking it up as a test run. the second batch(in my case I would let it sit for about 12 hrs) was great and i have been slamming kefir for weeks now. There are many how to’s and recipes on kefir out there, so i will not cover that here, but will do so in a future blog. In the meantime, here are some pics and go get yourself some kefir grains!