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Is there any difference in making kefir using kefir grains as a starter and making kefir using some kefir taken from a previous batch, like is usually done with yougurt?

Would the different starter affect the microorganism composition in the final product?

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It's not much different than yogurt or even beer. While you can use yogurt or harvest the leftover yeast from the beer you just made, the results are typically not as good and more unpredictable than using a lab-created starter. And much like beer and yogurt, if you keep repeating the process the results will get worse and worse until the point where it doesn't work at all (typically 3-4 batches). So generally:

  • Store-bought kefir and yogurt typically have things done to them for food safety and shelf life that impede the creation of new product
  • There is a limited number of times you can reuse what you made to create new kefir/yogurt
  • The results will be weaker than what you started with (the flavor will be less intense)
  • The results of using existing kefir/yogurt will vary much more than starting with grains/starter. This can be good; it can be bad.
  • Using kefir/yogurt is much more likely to fail completely in producing a good result vs using a lab-produced starter and grains.
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    Interesting. I used to make yogurt for months out of leftovers, starting with store-bought, and I found that after a few generations the quality even increased (the results were more reliable). Are you speaking from personal experience or do you have any sources?
    – etuardu
    Apr 21, 2023 at 22:22
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    @etuardu from second-hand experience (my grandmother), making yogurt repeatedly starting from store-bought yogurt works fine. I looked up kefir when I saw your question, and apparently (according to a source I can't find now) the strains used in commercial kefir are purposely modified in such a way that they don't produce proper kefir when used as a starter (the bacteria/yeasts that cause "grains" to form are removed). However I see lots of recipes for making kefir from store-bought, so I don't really know.
    – Esther
    May 2, 2023 at 15:17
  • How do you think people made yogurt - for tens of thousands of years - before microbiology laboratories?
    – Sneftel
    May 20, 2023 at 21:20

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