These basic instructions assume you have the items listed on the "Needed Items" page of this website. 

Pick a time of day that is easist for your schedual. Leaving harvested Kefir in the Fridge overnight will result in changes that you may enjoy. Not refridgerating harvested Kefir may give you a more desirable flavor. Either way, try to harvest at the same time each day.

These instructions assume you already have been feeding your Kefir Grains. If you are just starting then you just skip the harvest step.

HARVEST:

Shake well the fermentation jar. This will in effect rinse off some of the digestion products of the kefir finished meal and make them much easier to strain out of the kefir. Shaking will also mix up the Kefir which is needed as it will otherwise sperate, you generally want to consume well mixed Kefir. Not well, shaking Kefir is like shaking soda, the Kefir in the jar will expand when you open a tight lid!

Either slowly pour the Kefir Grains mixture into the spoon to collect the grains (easier), or fish the grains out of the fermentation jar with the spoon (harder). The grains will grow between 10% and 30% each day, fishing the grains out will be harder as you will more easily miss the grains that pouring through the spoon.

Do not be concerned about grains remaining in the Kefir! Consuming them is great!

This is not a sterile process, but it should be a clean process! Place the grains into a clear glass or ceramic dish.

You have no seperated the Grains and the Kefir.

WASHING:

You just removed a large colony of bacteria and yeast (Kefir Grains!) from the fermentation jar and are about to put them back in. What will cleaning the jar accomplish when anything "bad" will also be in the colony itself? It makes no sense, is the entire theory of Kefir Grains and Kefir is correct, pathegens in the jar will be killed of consumed during the fermentation process.

There is a but. You will find a film form on the inside of the jar, this film appears to increase fermentation rate, likely becuase it is the establishment of a Kefir Colony of the surface of the glass. As such, this film will result in your having more "Kefir Grains" in the jar than you measured. When this film becomes substiantial you'll wnat to clean it out, You will also find spots of white material on the jar, this is normal and requires a little more effort to scrub off.

After washing, rinse jar with distilled water if possible, or allow to fully dry. Tap water contains chlorine to kill pathogens in the water system, and will have a negative effect on the Kefir Grains. The jar needs to be an environment supporting the growth of Kefir Grain components.

RINSING GRAINS:

Do NOT do this! Around the grains forms a thick material that supports metabolism of the Kefir Grains, leave it intact.

If a grain falls on the counter while straining, eat it yourself, or give it to your dog they love Kefir Grains and Kefir! Again, making Kefir is not a sterile process, but it is a clean one. Do not bother with grains that "get dirty", you will have extra tomorrow!

MEASURING - KEFIR GRAIN RATIO:

Other sites always seem to measure grains by volume, we have found measuring by weight gives more consitant results. Using the straining spoon, tap on the side of your bowl to knock off extra kefir then place the Kefir Grains into a bowl on the scale. Start with the following amounts:

To make 1.0 gallons of Kefir, use 200 Grams of Kefir Grams
To make 0.5 gallons of Kefir, use 100 Grams of Kefir Grams
To make 1.0 quarts of Kefir, use 50 Grams of Kefir Grains
To make 0.5 quarts of Kefir, use 25 Grams of Kefir Grains

MIXING:

Place the measured grains into your fermentation jar and add Raw Milk that has been warmed to about the desired fermentation temperature. Place wax paper on the jar, then place the lid on the jar. Tighten the lid to produce fizzy Kefir (like soda), or eave the lid a little loose for less fizz (allow the CO2 to escape).

If the jar is sealed tight, shake the jar well to mixe the grains with the milk, if not, give the mix a good stiring.

FERMENT:

Place the jar into your your temperature controlled cooler, or area of your home with stable temperature. Never allow direct sunlight on the fermentation jar. Fermentation in the dark is best as some of the produced vitamins will degrade in light. Your selected temperature shoudl be in the range of 65 to 82 degrees fahrenheit. The higher the temp the faster the ferment and it will be more unpredicatable. A temperature within a couple degrees of 70 is ideal. To be clearm the temeprature is not critical to successful Kefir Grain feeding and safe Kefir production! Temperature is only critical for consitant taste and texture of the resulting Kefir.

Kefir Grains will degrade at higher temeprature, to the put that that disintigrate and disappear into the milk. Just a note, freezing can also damage Kefir Grains.

Now leave the fermenation jar undisturbed for 24 hours and repeat the process.

DONE

That is it! That is all you do to use Kefir Grains to make Kefir!  .... In an ideal world!

Over time you will note changes. After a few years of making Kefir you will likely have seen it all. The rest of the site will discuss these changes as well as suggested ways to deviate from these basic instructions.