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Just started making kefir last week. My kefir comes out grainy and watery.

Here is what I'm doing:

  • I have about 2 tablespoon of kefir
  • I add about 4 cups of 2% organic milk
  • Leave it for a day on the counter (26 degrees centigrade)
  • It separates by this time (clear liquid at the bottom) but not much
  • I run it through a plastic sieve.

The resulting kefir compared to store bought kefir (my only point of reference) is:

  • seems watery instead of creamy
  • seems grainy: tiny grains almost like yogurt particles
  • has a sharp taste/smell

I still drink it and enjoy it. But I was wondering how I can improve it...


Update

I haven't gotten the timing right yet...however switching to whole milk is producing much better kefir.

  • You wrote "I have about 2 tablespoon of kefir". Are you using kefir grains or liquid kefir as a starter? – Sobachatina Jul 29 '16 at 14:05
  • @Sobachatina I was given kefir grains... – hba Jul 29 '16 at 15:13
  • Ok. Just making sure. It wasn't clear from the question. Unlike yogurt, kefir can't be made from kefir only from grains. – Sobachatina Jul 30 '16 at 8:31
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Most of the kefir recipes I saw online use whole milk, not low-fat milk as a starter. One source mentioned that commercial low-fat kefir recipes use large amounts of additives and stabilizers to make them thick. This might be related to your homemade kefir tasting watery, or being grainy, I don't know - but at least if you try and it doesn't solve the problem, you've eliminated one possible variable.

Another possibility is if your kefir is left too long, it will finish fermenting and start to separate. This stage, of beginning to separate into curds and whey, might match your description of grains and clear liquid at the bottom of your container, though it perhaps hasn't curdled entirely yet. It may also explain the sharper taste, if the kefir has had enough time to ferment all the way through your milk. If your kefir was over-fermenting for whatever reason - perhaps it is sitting a little longer than it needs to, or if it's a little warmer then it might ferment faster, or something about ratios or batch size - then stopping the ferment a little early (couple hours at a time?), straining out the grains and putting the kefir in the fridge, might get you the results you want.

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    It sounds very much to me like it was overfermented (overfermented being a personal preference thing). In my experience, different grains have different properties, including how long they can take to ferment milk. What might take my grains 12 hours to do, yours might take 24. In general, if you want thick, smooth kefir, you need to stop fermenting it before it separates. Given what you've described, I would stop fermenting it a few hours earlier than you have been and see how that goes. If it's still too grainy, then stop fermenting it a few hours earlier than that. – LMAshton Jul 31 '16 at 13:04
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I've been making kefir for about 2 years now and I've noticed a few things one of which is what you mentioned - kefir not thick and creamy. I've found when you use too many grains that's what happens. I make a pint (2 cups) so not as much as you but I only use two little pea sized grains. If they start to grow larger than that, the kefir starts to come out thin. Mine comes out nearly as thick as yogurt, but a little stir and it's drinkable.

The other person who responded is right as well, over fermentation: the result is little tiny curds.

The more you make it, the more you'll find out how to get it just like you like it. For example I like mine really thick and also really carbonated and I've figured out if I put a tight lid on it (even though most sites say to only put a breathable top on it like a napkin or cheesecloth) when it's fermenting it comes out like a milk soda. :)

So maybe try only using 1 tablespoon for your quart (4 cups) and see if that helps?

oh yeah, and I use whole milk - using skim or low fat milk might make it thin.

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To the person that wrote "I prepare Kefir with RAW milk, Boil it then cool it down, when temp reaches 22-24 C Put kefir grains in it (2 litre milk 5 tablespeen grains)"

Why would you want to boil your raw milk before making kefir or for any reason? Heating the milk kills the enzymes and good bacteria and can alter the nutrient level also.

I use 2-3 small grains, slightly larger than a cherry pit, and it will make almost a quart of kefir with raw whole milk in 24 hours or less at 70F.

  • Please limit your answer to actually answering the question. Once you have enough reputation, you can comment on other answers. – Robert Mar 29 '17 at 21:54
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I prepare Kefir with RAW milk, Boil it then cool it down, when temp reaches 22-24 C Put kefir grains in it (2 litre milk 5 tablespeen grains)

Leave it on room temprature 23C. After 6-10 hours you kefir will be ready. Remember when you shake it well, creamy texture will be there.

  • That sounds like a waste of raw milk, as you are basically giving it UHT treatment. I read that raw milk is supposed to be good for kefir. – wobbily_col Jun 11 '18 at 17:29
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Raw milk has to be bioled because possible bacteria in since the raw milk is not pasteurized! But then when is cool down there is no problem to make kefir with it!i am making it with skim milk because my cholesterol issue, but still creamy and yum I I let it stay by my kitchen window fir48 hours! My family like to add tonic water to it to make more bubbles in it!

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