Kefir Frequently Asked Questions

On Cholesterol & Health Question: I've been trying to find out if milk kefir has all the cholesterol in it after culturing...I have high cholesterol and this concerns me...  

Reply: I'm sure it has a little bit in it but it should be mostly broken down by the good bacteria. And these small amounts of "good" cholesterol are actually good for your body..  

Question: What if you have candida and are sensitive both to sugar and to milk?  

Reply: I always suggest you to try anything that might help you feel better and if it doesn't work for you in about 3-4 weeks then just mark it off the list. I've heard of kefir helping candida and not helping it. Again every one's body can react differently to different foods.  

On Making Kefir Question: ...i used raw milk for 5 days in a row to re-hydrate them and changed the milk every day..VERY that ok? what do i do with my grains? rinse them? can i put them in the fridge? when i change the mild can i still drink that? can i leave them out on the counter? if I change the milk from raw to organic regular do i have to rinse them?  

Reply: Rinsing: You only have to rinse them once a week but make sure to keep fresh milk on them every day. Putting in the fridge: You can but the coolness of the fridge will slow down the growth of the good bacteria... keeping it in the fridge is kind of like putting them in storage. You can leave them in the same milk for 5-7 days in the fridge then take them out and change the milk daily at room temperature when you want to make another cup of kefir.You can still drink the "mild" temp is best temperature... changing raw milk to organic regular should be fine.  

Question: 2 questions: 1. After it sits for about a day it starts getting a yeast smell, is that normal? 2. Recently I've been getting more curds, it's almost like a cheese that's forming in the's better when it was just a thicker milk. I use about 6-7 cups of milk with about 1/2 a cup of Kefir grains. I let them sit for about 24 - 36 hours before straining them and starting over.  

Reply: If you want just thicker milk, don't let them ferment for so long or take some of the kefir grains out. You will have to experiment because your local temperatures can really affect the growth. Remember, the warmer it is, the faster they will cultivate.  

Question: I'm having trouble getting my Kefir to take off, I've grown Kefir before...It took off right away, I'm following all the guidelines. Do you have any suggestions?  

Reply: You probably haven't had your kefir more than a week. That is still very early. As mentioned in the paper instructions and the instructions in the video course, it will take about 4 to 6 weeks before they start to get more pop corn-like as you see in the video. The temperature outside is also cooling off, remember the cooler the temperatures the slower the growth. So make sure to keep them in a warm spot! But size doesn't matter in this case. As long as you are starting to see the milk thicken, you know everything is working properly.  

Question: Can you use the "so delicious" Coconut milk to start kefir?  

Reply: I know water kefir will work with coconut water but never used the "so delicious" coconut milk with milk kefir... just make sure that you have grown your new kefir grains in fresh milk for at least six weeks so that they have a good micro flora balance when they are transfered to a new medium to grow in.  

Question: I have been happily making kefir using organic canned coconut milk... However, the kefir grains do not grow or increase... I pretty much have the same amount I started with a couple of months ago! Do I need to "rest" them with a feed of milk?  

Reply: I'm not for sure but others have told me that kefir grains only grow in milk and although it will culture other mediums for some reason they will not get larger in anything but milk.  

Question: Is it true when you make a smoothie with the kefir you should not blend it in the Vita Mix blender because the high speed blade destroys the live bacteria?  

Reply: Theoretically, yes, but if you culture kefir again after blending, you'll see that it still works. So the strains do survive it :)  

Question: I've noticed something going on with my Kefir grains... instead of having uniform grains they seem to have changed shape and appeared to be a little more stringy... flavor is very strong and cheesy even with a smaller amount in the jar and (just) 24 hrs. Is (there) something going on here?  

Reply: Sounds like it's cultivating the milk very quickly. You could either (a) add more milk, (b) soak the kefir grains in milk for only 12 hours and taste it or (c) you could take out some kefir grains so that it doesn't cultivate so quickly... play with one of those 3 options and figure out what taste you like the best.  

Questions: Do I really have to use a plastic mesh to strain my kefir? I already have a metal strainer. :(  

Reply: I've found conflicting explanations about this. Some say that using a metal strainer is fine. Others say that the good bacteria doesn't like the vibrations that a metal strainer gives off. I have used a metal strainer for my kefir and they turned out fine. I think if you don't leave the kefir in the metal strainer for too long it will be fine.  

Questions: I'm having challenges with the consistency of my kefir. Sometimes I get a really nice texture and taste (sort of fizzy). Sometimes I get a thicker texture with some clear liquid when I strain them. Also, they are slightly separated after straining. Any idea how I can maintain getting the perfect kefir drink?  

Reply: Consistency is a little difficult to achieve with kefir. There can be a lot of variables that will affect the texture of your kefir. Even the smallest amount of change in the temperature will affect the outcome of your kefir. If you use the same amount of kefir grains with the same amount of milk and store it at the same temperature everyday, then you will have the exact same consistency of kefir every time. But if the kefir gets a little warmer than it did the day before, it can cause it to ferment faster, making it taste a little more sour than it did. So the taste and "fizzyness" will happen according to temperature and how long it sits. The thickness usually has to do with the type of milk. Whole milk will be the thickest.  

Questions: ...wonder if my grains are actually multiplying... They started to separate... Just have to adjust grain and milk ratio... Recently, my Kefir isn't as sour. However, I have been reducing my fermenting time... I let some Kefir rest in (the) refrigerator for about a week and decided I better wake them. I wonder if they are ok. What would you say?  

Reply: It’s normal for that to happen. You should give it a week back in it’s normal room temperature and observe from there. You can control the taste by adjusting your time of fermentation, so you are right about that. :)  

Questions: I live in Washington by the coast and it's down to the 30's at night. I am on the second floor. Will I need to consider wrapping the jar or is being on the second floor enough?  

Reply: You will probably need to put it in a cupboard to keep it a bit more “room temp” but you can observe first how it fares. If it slows down the production versus what it normally does, then you probably will need to wrap it up and put it in a little bit warmer place.  

On Reviving and Storing Questions: I have not used my Kefir grains for two weeks, I took them out of the fridge and there is a mould on top of the grains. I have removed the mold, is it safe to use Kefir grains again?  

Reply: Yes, absolutely fine. Just make sure you rinsed them off or you can soak them in Hydrogen peroxide for about 8 hours and that should really help give them a jump if they've been stored for awhile.  

Questions: All is going well with the milk kefir up to about 2 months or so ago. The grains look the same. However, the flavor of the finished product has changed. The milk is sour tart very tangy. It is not flavorful. I've tried many different things... to try and bring the grains back to the normal flavor. I have changed the milk on a daily basis for 10 days. I have put grains in yogurt for 2 days, back to milk and then back to yogurt, and back to milk. I have left them out of milk for a few days on the counter. I don’t know what has happened. The milk source has not changed. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix the problem?  

Reply: These could very well be damaged. Leaving them out on the counter with no milk can really hurt them. And I'm not too sure about mixing them in yogurt. It probably wouldn't hurt them but that could give them a different taste if they were mixed with other cultures. I wish there was a way to save these but it sounds like they've been damaged beyond repair. :(  

Questions: How can I bring back the water kefir grains that have become small and not working like they used to?  

Reply: You could soak the grains in hydrogen peroxide for 4-8 hours, then add a little more sugar and minerals than normal to the next few batches. Some say they grow the fastest with maple syrup but I have not tried this. Organic molasses is the next best thing and it's cheaper. What you are trying to do here is give the grains a good bath and then fatten them up with a little more nutrients than the usual.  

On The Effects Question: Lately my urine is burning. Is this normal? ...maybe too much acid from the kefir or too much sugar? I use about 5-6 tablespoons full plus black strap molasses.  

Reply: Yes, that sounds like way too much sugar. I believe that the burning urination would cease if you stopped using the sugar.  

Question: ...this new FAD for HEALTH is not for everyone. I had a very VIOLENT reaction to Kefir I bought in a health food store... I have NO PROBLEMS with yogurt or milk so it's not a lactose problem. Thoughts?  

Reply: ...I personally have tried the kefir that you can buy in the store and it gave me a sore scratchy throat and a little stomach queezyness. I didn't like it either. But with kefir made at home from real living kefir grains I never had a problem and you can taste the difference. So if you're curious, try the real kefir grains that you make at home and I would almost bet that you would not have the problems you were getting from the store kefir... Either way, every one's body is different so it's always wise to listen to your own...  

Question: ...started on milk kefir & found (that) I smelled like kefir all the time...I cultured some water kefir but still I smelled like it all day long. Maybe you can tell me what the problem is?  

Reply: I've never heard of this before but maybe you are drinking too much kefir? Try lowering your kefir intake.  

Question: I started gaining wait since I started taking Kefir. Is it normal? I use 2% low fat milk and drink about 500 ml a day.  

Reply: I have never heard about people gaining weight from it alone so maybe it’s your body’s reaction to it? You might want to try and lessen the amount to 250ml daily as that’s the amount I always recommend. It’s still calories so if it’s past your body’s daily caloric intake requirements, then you will start to gain weight.  

On Taste Question: Can I add raw honey or some fruit with kefir? I just can't take it plain! :(  

Reply: There is no problem with adding some "taste" to your kefir. I use different kinds of fruits when I make my smoothie, and yes, sometimes I add honey as sweetener.  

Question: Is it just my version of kefir or is the taste of kefir not really good at all?  

Reply: Drinking kefir is an acquired taste. At first I also found it difficult to drink. I thought I was doing it wrong. But I found out that kefir does not really have a good taste. That's why a lot of people make fruit smoothies with their kefir. It took me some time to enjoy drinking plain kefir, too.  

On Drinking Kefir Question: Recommended dosage of kefir intake in a day? Do I drink it daily? I love it so much!  

Reply: 250ml is a good recommended dosage. I know people that drink a bit less daily and I know people that drink a liter of it, seriously. You can drink it daily, but if you are just starting, try it every other day and slowly increase your consumption until you get to 250ml. This way your body can adjust because your body will always be different from other's.  

On Weight Loss & Diet Question: Since starting to drink whole milk kefir I am putting on weight! I thought you lose weight drinking kefir. Has anyone else had this experience?  

Reply: Yes this is possible. There are so many nutrients in a glass of kefir that you could use it strictly as a meal replacement, especially when you make healthy smoothies with it. So if you notice weight gain, replace one of your meals with a kefir smoothie and see how you do.

Buy Kefir Grains