Ode to Kombucha
We have finally mastered the art of brewing home Kombucha, and are enjoying a glass of this miracle drink every morning along with our home made kefir and our power smoothies. If I keep this up I will live to be a hundred years old. Only 45 more years to go….
Ode to Kombucha
Only drink it in the morning
By the dawning sun
Up at the morning dawn
Can’t wait for my morning cup
Have to have my kombucha
At least once a day
Ode to Kefir
Food of the gods
In every way
Radiant health will follow
Blue Berry Smoothie – Breakfast of Champions
my daily breakfast
includes blue berries
in my smoothie
home made kefir
apple cider vinegar
all blended to perfection
that is my daily breakfast
fit for a champion
THE SIMPLE GUIDE TO KICKASS KOMBUCHA
It’s a big day everyone! The day your intestinal microbiota have been begging you for. The day you say goodbye to expensive store bought kombucha. The day you become a brewmaster as I impart on you the secrets of homemade kombucha!
The goal of this guide is to be your one stop shop for homemade kombucha brewage, from SCOBY-less to fermented perfection. No hopping around the interwebs. No fuss. No confusion. Because making homemade kombucha is so simple (albeit a bit slow), and I hope after reading this you’ll give it a whirl! Let’s hop right to it.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA: OVERVIEW
This post will go into detail about each step in the process of making kombucha. For succinct instructions, scroll to the bottom where a recipe card lays out the basics of making homemade kombucha. The general order of things goes something like this (you can jump around this tutorial by clicking the links below):
- Make SCOBY (1 to 4 weeks) – to make the “mother”
- First Fermentation (6 to 10 days) – to make the actual kombucha
- Second Fermentation (3 to 10 days) – to carbonate the kombucha
You can also click to jump to a few useful resources:
- Supplies needed – My top tools for brewing ‘buch
- Kombucha FAQ – Be sure to check out the comments section as well for answers to many questions
- Get the printable guide – Everything from this post, in printable PDF form
HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA VIDEO
Before we start, here are some general notes that are consistent throughout the whole homemade kombucha process.
- No metal or plastic containers. Metal can react with the acidic kombucha and hurt your SCOBY, while plastic can house nasty bacteria that you don’t want sneaking in.
- Clean is key. A recurring theme in kombucha brewing is that EVERYTHING must be CLEAN! We’re creating the perfect environment for good bacterial growth, but if a bad bacteria slips in, it could ruin your batch (and make you pretty sick).
- Temperature plays a role. Fermentation goes a bit quicker in warmer temperatures, and a bit slower in colder.
- No mold zone. If you see any mold growing on your SCOBY or in the tea (which I understand can be difficult to discern from the hideous SCOBY, but will generally be green, white, or black), then toss your whole batch.
Milk kefir is not only easy to make, it is a delicious, probiotic-rich, versatile beverage your whole family can enjoy. Whether you are just exploring how to make milk kefir at home or have cultured dairy before, this video and instructions are here to help make culturing milk kefir at home easy.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
- These instructions utilize the traditional starter culture known as milk kefir grains, rehydrated and ready to make milk kefir. If you wish to make milk kefir with a powdered Kefir Starter Culture, consult our article on How to Make Kefir with Direct-set Starter Culture.
- If you have purchased our dehydrated milk kefir grains, please follow the instructions included with your milk kefir grains or watch our how-to video on How to Activate Milk Kefir Grains to get started.
- If you wish to use raw milk to make milk kefir, be sure to activate your milk kefir grains using pasteurized milk first. You can then slowly transition them to raw milk.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE MILK KEFIR
To get started, first, gather your supplies and choose a variety of milk to use.
Supplies for Making Milk Kefir
You’ll need the following supplies to make milk kefir, most of which can be found in the Milk Kefir Starter Kit. For more information on what supplies work best (and what to avoid) read our tutorial: Choosing the Best Equipment for Making Milk Kefir.
- A glass jar
- A non-metal stirring utensil
- A breathable cover for the jar such as a tight-weave towel, butter muslin, paper towel, or paper coffee filter
- A band to secure the cover to the jar like a rubber band or canning jar ring
- A fine mesh plastic strainer for removing the kefir grains from the finished kefir
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MILK KEFIR
- Transfer the active kefir grains into up to 4 cups of fresh milk.
- Cover with a coffee filter or butter muslin secured by a rubber band or jar ring.
- Place in a warm spot, 68°-85°F, to culture.
- Culture until milk is slightly thickened and aroma is pleasant. This generally takes 24 hours, but can take less time in warmer temperatures, so keep an eye on your grains.
- After the milk changes texture and culturing is complete, separate the kefir grains from the finished kefir.
- Place the kefir grains in a new batch of milk.
- Store the finished kefir in the refrigerator.
REMOVING GRAINS FROM FINISHED MILK KEFIR
Use Your (Clean!) Fingers
As your milk kefir grains grow in size, you may choose to remove the kefir grains by hand. Make sure your hands are very clean and well rinsed, but do not use anti-bacterial soap to avoid contaminating the culture.
Use a Plastic Mesh Strainer
Sometimes milk kefir can be a bit thick. If necessary, you can use a silicone spatula or plastic spoon (in a swirling motion) to help work the kefir through the strainer. Stainless steel can be used if necessary; just be sure it’s stainless steel and not a reactive metal.
Pour Kefir Into A Shallow Bowl
This will make the grains easier to see. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, scoop the grains out. Once the grains have been removed, pour the finished kefir into a container.
While kefir sometimes turns out to be thin, it is also possible for kefir to over-thicken or turn into curds and whey. If this happens, you may need to strain your kefir grains with extra care. You can find tips in our Straining Over-Thickened Kefir tutorial.
Following the above process you can make milk kefir at home on a regular basis. If after making milk kefir for a while you decide you don’t need 4 cups every day, it is possible to make smaller batches. Just choose a method in our tutorial How to Slow Down Making Milk Kefir + Make Smaller Batches.
Resting Your Milk Kefir Grains
If you ever reach a point where you need to take a break from making milk kefir, there are a few ways you can put your kefir grains on pause. This includes refrigerating them for shorter breaksor drying them for longer breaks.
In either case, it’s important that your grains have been activated and culturing kefir regularly for 3 to 4 weeks before you attempt either of these resting methods.