Real Food Challenge: Make Kefir or Yogurt (Over $600 in Prizes!)

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist December 14, 2012

Did you know that commercial yogurt and kefir have little to no health benefit from a probiotic point of view?

The reason is that commercial yogurt and kefir are fermented for very short periods of time.   The length of time is so short (one person in the dairy industry told me that it is frequently only an hour or less) that thickening agents are sometimes added to artificially provide the look and feel of yogurt and kefir that has been properly fermented like would happen if you made it in your own kitchen.

The woeful inadequacy of commercially fermented dairy is why Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, recommends eating yogurt or kefir that you’ve made yourself and fermented for a full 24 hours in order for the majority of the lactose (milk sugar) to be used up and sufficient strength of the probiotic cultures to become established.

Real Food Challenge:  Make Your Own Yogurt or Kefir

It is very important to learn how to make your own yogurt or kefir if you wish to enjoy the many health benefits that Traditional Cultures who relied on fermented dairy products experienced.  Making yogurt or kefir yourself has the added bonus of allowing the selection of high quality, grassfed milk and avoidance of the additives and sugar frequently included with most commercially fermented dairy.

Commercially fermented dairy is just not going to cut it!

As a result, my sponsor Pleasant Hill Grain and I have joined forces to bring you this fun Real Food Challenge which will hopefully encourage you to take the important step of learning how to ferment dairy yourself in your own kitchen!

* If you have no idea how to make kefir or yogurt, no worries.  A video how-to is provided for kefir at the end of this post along with a link to a written post describing the steps to make yogurt.

Allergic to dairy?  You can still enter!  Just use coconut milk instead (video how-to at end of post).

Even if making fermented dairy is a regular part of your routine or you’ve made it before but have gotten out of the habit, you are still eligible to enter to win!

The Prizes

From now until December 21, 2012 at midnight, every time you make your own yogurt or kefir (you can also switch between the two if you like), you will get an entry to win a Bosch Universal Mixer with Meat Grinder attachment- a $565 combined value!

The new Bosch Universal Plus Mixer is truly the ultimate stand mixer chosen by the most discerning cooks.  It is not only the strongest mixer in its class, it is also the most durable with an incredible lifespan of 17 years on average. This durability permits heavy duty mixing jobs to be performed with no risk to the motor –  up to 15 pounds of heavy dough can be mixed and kneaded at one time which is the equivalent of 8 loaves of bread in a single batch.

As if the Bosch Universal Plus Mixer plus Meat Grinder isn’t enough, there will be a second place prize too, a sleek, black Kuhn Rikon Vase Grinder for all your sea salt, pepper and herbal grinding needs!

How to Enter

To enter the Real Food Challenge, use the Rafflecopter widget below.

It’s easy! Just login with either Facebook or your email address and fill in the entry box each time you make a batch of homemade yogurt or kefir.

Don’t forget that each and every time you make a batch of yogurt or kefir before December 21, 2012 at midnight, you can come back to this post and submit another entry to Rafflecopter to increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting Your First Batch Started

A video how-to is provided below for both milk based kefir and coconut milk kefir.  You can easily get a batch of kefir started in less than 5 minutes.

If yogurt is your thing, click here for my written blog on how to make yogurt using your microwave (turned off of course) as the incubator!

Good luck and have fun!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (248)

  1. Is there a benefit to making the kefir using the low temp pasteurized milk? I live in Ohio where raw milk is hard to get, but you can get the low temp milk.

    Reply
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  4. Finally able to enter again…but I don’t see my post up and it still continues to say I only have 10/10 entries. Rarely can do another entry….even the next day…and it says ‘Done’ so I can’t enter. Or when I do get to enter again it takes me back down to 0/10 entries. Weird.
    So sad…I want to have a chance at that beautiful Bosch! Every one have a Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  5. Completed another batch of kefir this morning……the entry widget says I already posted and am done. That however is not the case. :( I’ve tried several times hitting the edit tab and recording just in case that posts anything…but I don’t see the posts on the blog. I hope I can enter these batches before time runs out. Any one else still having issues?

    Reply
  6. So bummed the contest is about to end and I haven’t been able to enter all my batches! :(
    Wish the ‘kinks’ would get out!!!!
    Well, good luck everyone. I sure do want to own that beautiful Bosch!

    Reply
    • That’s strange…I see my post says it is 12.02 A.M. It is only 8:15. Does that mean that it will look like this is posted after the deadline? :(
      So many strange things with this rafflecopter.

      Reply
  7. Sarah, very good video. Seems I can always learn something new about culturing dairy. I notice that at the end of the culturing process you do not strain out the grains but rather scoop them out. Is it because of the metal in strainers?

    Reply
  8. I made my batch of kefir this morning….but when I came to enter it…it won’t let me. It behaves as though I already entered today, but I didn’t. How do I get it entered?

    Reply
  9. We also made a half gallon of water kefir which we flavor with lemon juice. My boys love it and I dissolve their probiotic powder in it morning and night.

    Reply
  10. Made 2 gallons of yogurt this week with raw organic milk which has an amazingly high butter fat content (thank you jersey cows.). The cream is so thick that the quart jars of yogurt have a 2 inch line of solid cream yogurt on the tops of the jars–my favorite part. I use that to choke down my fermented cod liver oil. I am giving yogurt as gifts this year with a bottle of maple syrup for sweetening. Some of my family members think I am weird, so I would hate to disappoint.

    Reply
  11. Made 2 more batches of kefir since I first entered the contest, but haven’t been able to get the widget to work at all…it says it’s “on vacation,” and they are “cooking up something else.”

    Reply
  12. Tried to enter again after my yogurt batch was done but it says 10/10 entries received…
    I love making yogurt and my little one loves it so much! I use a Capsian Sea yogurt (matsoni) and love it so much! It cultures at room temperature, so I don’t have to worry about heating it! Have a great day…

    Reply
  13. Just finished my fourth kefir batch. I just got water kefir grains, cant wait to see how it turns out!
    The widget still doesn’t work for me. :(

    Reply
  14. Each time I login it seems it doesn’t change my entry amount. It always says 10/10. Is it supposed to do that or should the number be going up?

    I enjoy my kefir as smoothies. 1 C of kefir, 1 banana, and 1 cup of frozen fruit.

    Reply
      • Same for me. It let me enter once a day for a few days, but now It won’t even let me enter…it behaves as though I already did for the day.. And it has always said 10/10.
        Go figure. So sad…I know each of us really would like to win that beautiful Bosch!

        Reply
  15. Elizabeth Prasnicki Hyrkas via Facebook December 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I made “microwave” yogurt per your instructions. It’s wonderful. Thanks for all the great tips.

    Reply
  16. I just finished another batch of kefir! THe Rafflecopter widget wouldn’t let me in either so I hope leaving a comment here counts. :)
    Claudia B.

    Reply
  17. Sarah, I can’t seem to enter my cultures after the first one. Am I doing something wrong? I clicked on the widget again but it just says I already am done and have ’10′ for my entry of one batch of kefir. Can you only enter once a day?
    Vickie

    Reply
  18. Also made some kefir grape juice…but I can’t seem to enter again….is it only once a day? Rather than once per ferment?
    V

    Reply
  19. Hi Sarah,
    I start a new batch of kefir every morning when I make my families green smoothies to use the previous batch. (always with raw milk of course!) It keeps my grains active and fresh! I’ve also rinsed a few and used them in grape juice…..oh my!!!! Now THAT is GOOD!!!

    Reply
  20. What a great idea, healthyhomeeconomist! I happen to be going to the farm for this weeks milk today. I am now going to teach my daughters how I make my 24hr yogurt, assign them the task, have them produce some video and photographic evidence of their adventures, submit our entry and feed us all yogurt!

    Too bad I haven’t obtained any kefir grains yet. I did make kefir for the first time last week, but only with the powdered starter. :/
    Better than nothing, right? :)

    Reply
  21. April Kenison Richard via Facebook December 17, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I make raw milk yogurt, and yes i strain it. Use the whey to ferment veggies or soak grains like oatmeal.

    Reply
  22. i make kefir everyday and also tara( which is a different type of culture from tibet that makes a more sour sort of kefir and a bit more frizzy) i tried once yogurt but gave up after i ended up with a sort of cheese instead. i will try and make the one in a crockpot, i see people have good results.

    Reply
  23. I clicked on the link to enter today and it doesn’t let me click to enter. I tried logging into the site, but it said it didn’t recognize my email! What am I doing wrong? I really want to enter — and win!! Thanks,

    Reply
  24. just made some yummy yogurt w/ raw cow’s milk. in my yogurt maker w/ the individual jars. that way i can add vanilla extract for a vanilla flavored yogurt. and some pure lemon extract for a lemon flavored yogurt or just plain flavored yogurt is very good.

    Reply
  25. Made milk Kefir and water Kefir tonight. Have been drinking them for the past 3 years and no longer have any allergy issues ( asthma and hay fever.). Also feed them to my dogs – no more “sensitive stomach”issues!

    Reply
  26. I made a batch of yogurt on Thursday. I’ve been making my own yogurt for about 1 1/2 years now. I have also made milk kefir since about August but still haven’t quite figured it out completely. I have a batch going right now – should be finished tomorrow.

    Reply
    • I’m curious how you do it in the dehydrator. We have an American Harvest/Nesco brand, and I’m not sure how one would make yogurt in it.

      Reply
  27. First ever raw milk kefir turned out great w/ blended strawberries. Made 2 more qt jars from 2T finished kefir and 2 qts more raw milk, yaaay.

    Reply
  28. I might have missed it in the other comments, but I don’t think you video said where one can get a live kefir culture. I thought it came from those packets you can buy, but you said they are only good for one batch at a time. Where does one find the live cultures not in packets?

    Reply
  29. I’ll make some today so that this post counts :) I don’t have time to make yogurt frequently so when the boys don’t go through their real milk very fast one week (like this week) I make several single servings in pint jars with the extra milk. I make chocolate (a little extra honey or sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract) for one son and put homemade jam in the bottom of the jars for the other son. Then I do a quart or so of plain for smoothies. We also do water kefir, although it takes several days right now to ferment because it’s so cold in our house and even colder in the cabinet where the water kefir lives. Wish I had a designated warm spot!

    Reply
  30. I made yogurt for the first time. It was so easy I was shocked. It tastes so much better than store bought. I will always make yogurt from now on!! Thanks

    Reply
  31. The post says everytime I make a batch I can come back to the enter another rafflecopter entry. I just finished another batch and am unable to make an entry. Its telling me 10 already earned. Is that the max we can earn?

    Reply
    • I also had the same question. Also, does water kefir count, or just dairy kefir? We make both water kefir and dairy kefir almost every day. It takes two days for the water kefir and a day and a half for the dairy kefir to ferment in our kitchen. I’ve read that ferments need to be kept several feet apart to prevent cross-contamination, so luckily we have a big enough kitchen to keep water kefir in one corner, milk kefir in another, and kombucha in yet another. When I make yogurt or fermented veggies they go in the last corner.

      Reply
      • So do you cover your kefir with a coffee filter as suggested? I only do sometimes. The other times I cover loosely with the lid and don’t mind if they are apart. But if I cover them with the filter I definitely keep them away from one another.

        Reply
      • I’m not sure if water kefir counts. I’m thinking just dairy kefir since she looped it in with yogurt, but it would be nice to know for sure, ’cause I’m right there with you making water kefir and milk kefir too.

        Reply
        • Nia, I cover everything with a paper towel held tight with a rubber band…. kombucha, water kefir, and milk kefir. I cover the yogurt with one of those white lids that fits on glass mason jars. :)

          Reply
  32. Yep, made my batch of yogurt! It’s where I first started taking some control over my health…making my own yogurt without any of the additives they include in commercial yogurts.

    Reply
  33. I don’t know a lot about fermenting, but if commercial yogurt & kefir is not fermented long enough can that be remedied? Can you warm a small amount of commercial yogurt & allow it to ferment longer?

    Reply
  34. I think I posted in the wrong place so here it is again. . .we love kefir and have been making it weekly with raw milk for about 6 months now! We had a kefir smoothie this very morning!
    Claudia

    Reply
  35. I make a gallon of yogurt almost every day. We have a cow, and I have eight kids. I always drain it for thick greek-style, and my kids eat it with a little fruit for snacks. Every night I mix a cup of the previous days’ yogurt into warm, right-out-of-the-cow milk and let it culture overnight in the oven, with just the oven light on. In the morning I put it in a cheesecloth-lined strainer for a couple of hours, and then put the yogurt in the fridge and try to use the whey in pancakes or such. Although the whey often gets poured on my strawberries. It makes great strawberries! My kids won’t drink it, we have too much good milk for them to choose. Now that I am in the habit, it is just a couple minutes of my evening and morning ritual.

    Reply
  36. I made my 3rd batch of kefir. It’s getting simpler each time.

    I’m also making kombucha and can’t wait till it’s ready – 2 weeks in the fermenting mode; should be ready any day now.

    Reply
  37. I made yogurt yesterday but I know that doesn’t count. I like both but milk kefir affects my blood sugars and with culturing yogurt for 24 hrs it seems to be more digestible.
    I sure hope this is open to Canadians.

    Reply
  38. I just made a batch of kefir this morning as I before I read this post! I have been meaning to try coconut milk kefir and raw milk yogurt so this is probably a good time to try!!

    Reply
  39. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for making this video! Seems so timely following our conversation just the other day.

    Looking forward to not messing up my first kefir batch!
    Andrea

    Reply
  40. Sarah: What a wonderful “prize” — I just harvested my milk kefir for the day! Thanks for the opportunity! Think I might make some yogurt when I get my raw milk tomorrow!

    Reply
  41. I have been making kefir for about 6 years now. My grains came from my WAPF chapter leader, Shawn Dady, in Nashville. They are still going strong! I have shared kefir grains with friends all over the area from Nashville through Alabama and in to Florida! My chapter leader taught me to ferment kefir in a mason jar covered with a paper towel or cheesecloth, but to never close it up with a lid (during fermentation) as you did in your video demo. I am interested to know your reasons for using the lid during the fermentation. Obviously it is not hindering the fermentation! Through the years I have learned that with traditional foods there is a lot of flexibility in preparation. Does the kefir ferment differently, better, etc. with the lid screwed on vs. with a paper towel?

    Reply
    • I am curious about this, too. I’ve tried kefir a few times now, and it’s always AWFUL. We can’t stand it – not even a tiny bit mixed into a whole blenderful of smoothie. The people I know who talk about eating kefir regularly don’t seem to describe it this way, so I think there must be something wrong with mine – and most of the people I know who do this, as it turns out, use the lid. I thought I needed to omit the lid so as not to make the jar explode, but I’m wondering if I’m picking up some yucky wild yeasties?
      Rachel Ramey\’s last post: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

      Reply
      • Sometimes I cover mine with a lid, but I just twist it once so it’s not tight. Other times I use the paper towel or a coffee filter. I’ve noticed the flavor is quite sharp if I leave it for more than twenty four hours. And as you said even in a blender full of fruit smoothie, my milk kefir is very strong if left for more than twenty four hours.

        Reply
  42. I just started a batch of 5 quarts of yogurt. I make raw milk yogurt cultured for 24 hours and it is never runny. We love it with raw honey.

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  43. I didn’t care for the water kefir I made. I make raw milk yogurt once a week and make milk kefir on a daily basis.
    Cathy

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  44. I only own 2 kefir grains (and they’re quite young), so I start a new batch every day or two. Just started one this morning that should be done by Sunday (it’s cold in my kitchen!).

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  45. I need to make Kefir… had a bad experience the first time I tried to make water kefir and had a bottle explode glass all over my house.. I fermented too long…. haven’t tried again.

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  46. I have water kefir that I will be culturing today. I’m having to learn the process all over since moving to a new climate all the fermenting times I used in New England don’t work the same in Florida!

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  47. I made mine with whole milk. I do it the way I was taught: bring it to a boil, then let it cool down until I can just keep my pinky in for a count of 10 (has to sting a bit). Then you add a tablespoon of good quality yogurt for each pint of milk. Wrap it in a blanket until the morning. We go through a LOT of yogurt, a gallon on most Friday’s alone :)

    Reply
  48. I’ve made a batch but this is my first batch ever..fingers crossed. Does anyone recommend specific jars or caps for this? I’m simply using a cleaned large pickle jar with it’s original cap and wondered if a cheese cloth or mesh material might be better. Thank you

    Reply
  49. We are heading out of town in a week, and I had planned to do a batch of Kefir every day so we could take some with us-PERFECT TIMING :) (I only have enough grains for 1 qt at a time right now…) We love our kefir smoothies every morning :) It’s the ‘reward’ I give my kids (and myself) for taking their fermented cod liver oil :)

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  50. I am very passionate about homemade yogurt. Go to Mother Linda’s site for a great Bulgarian yogurt made with either raw milk or whole, non-homogenized, pastuerized milk. She also wrote some articles for WAPF on yogurt and mentions an author who claims in one of his books that yogurt has very high antibacterial/antiviral properties for only the first two weeks after it’s made, so recommends not making huge batches to sit around for weeks or months in your fridge, but to make it weekly, or every other week. I did this last year and my hubby and I were never sick, not even a sniffle. We eat it or make smoothies out of our homemade every day and believe that that plus our FCLO are what helped keep us so healthy last year, and so far this. I make 1-2 quarts weekly so guess I should enter this contest!

    Reply
  51. My girls and I eat smoothies with raw kefir daily! ( kefir, yolks, coconut oil, bee pollen, frozen strawberries & bananas, vanilla, Celtic salt, and cocoa powder) We make two 1/2 gal. batches of kefir about twice a week. It is so easy! Perhaps we should branch out into yogurt as well!

    Reply
  52. New batch of yogurt today! I make about 8 cups per week using the crock pot method. Family loves it! Also, we use it with herbs & spices to make homemade ranch dressing/dip.

    Reply
  53. Sarah, I see places to order the kefir grains (which you don’t recommend) but I don’t see anywhere to order the live ‘cauliflower clump’ that you used in making your kefir. Where do I get that? PS I really appreciate your newsletter and all that you do to promote ‘healthy eating’.

    Reply
  54. I made kefir and learned to make creme fraiche from the GAPS book. i just found another thrift store yogurt maker and gave it to a friend so she would start making her own as well. Love those jars on the counter with fresh raw milk fermenting into even better stuff.

    Reply
  55. I love making villi yogurt, no fussy incubating, just on the counter for a day. I was making kefir until I read that if you have trouble with candida you shouldn’t use homemade kefir due to the proliferation of wild yeasts.

    Reply
  56. I used to make runny yogurt: I would add a previously made yogurt to the milk ALL AT ONCE and whisked. Then I decided to do it differently: by adding the milk to the yogurt a little bit at a time and whisked it like that. Big change: after that I could turn the yogurt upside down and it wouldn’t drip out!

    Reply
  57. I regularly make kefir with raw goat and cow milk – cow turns out thicker – and absolutely love it! Last week I watched a video where a gentlemen made a typical batch of kefir, then after removing the grains let it sit out at room temp for an additional day, in which the separation into whey and kefir cheese occurred. He then mixed and blended into a smoothie. My question is, does this second fermentation increase the nutrition and potency?

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    Ryan\’s last post: Strawberry Mint Green Smoothie

    Reply
  58. Got my milk kefir going again. I went off it for awhile, just got tired of making it and then had too much. Now I keep getting sick! Even hubby mentioned last week I should start it up again and kombucha… even though he won’t touch, wish he would!!

    Reply
  59. I’ve found that making homemade is ALWAYS the way to go! Not only do I save money, but it’s just about ALWAYS healthier! :)

    Thanks for this opportunity to win a BOSCH!!!

    (My mom had one when I was growing up…made the best homemade bread!)

    Reply
  60. Just put a batch of new raw milk into my kefir grains after using the current kefir (5 days old) into my smoothie! The best medicine is kefir!

    Reply
  61. I make the “microwave” yogurt and strain it to make the Greek style. Soooo delicious. I use up most of the whey to make lacto fermented stuff (like awesome Ginger Ale) but what’s excess I mix with water and fertilize the garden with or give it to my chickens.

    Reply
  62. I was raised on homemade yogurt all my life. However, we didn’t use fancy machines for it. The method we used was “put your finger in the milk and when you can count to 10 without burning your had, the milk is the right temperature”! LOL! I don’t have much success making yogurt so I can’t enter this contest… but I want to try. We love yogurt and kefir. Thanks for the tips and article!

    Reply
  63. I think I did this wrong. I posted my comment in the box inside the widget. I’m not sure if that was the right thing or not, so I am commenting down here too.
    I had said that I just finished making some yogurt. I made it in a crock pot. I fermented it for 48 hours. I wanted to be sure that my husband could eat it because he has severe lactose issues. And he had no problems with it. He was scared trying it though. lol

    Reply
  64. Dawn R. Connelly via Facebook December 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I use raw milk and make Viili yogurt, not runny at all. I’ve also had good luck with Matsoni. Viili is my favorite, because it seems to make better sour cream and yogurt cheese.

    Reply
  65. I think I already posted a comment but I wanted to add one more for today (i know it doesn’t count toward more entries).

    I used to make homemade yogurt, all the time. It took a lot of effort! It wasn’t a simple process. Then, I found kefir, and it is SO easy to make. I got my kefir grains from Savvy Teas and Herbs, and started making it with raw milk. I also read that the probiotics in yogurt don’t go past your stomach, but the probiotics in kefir go throughout your whole digestive system, making it a better, healthier option for you.

    Reply
  66. Although refrigerated store shelves certainly aren’t the best of incubators, and there are plenty of other reasons commercial dairy products pale compared to their raw, homemade cousins, provided the commercial kefir and yogurt have live cultures, they’ll continue to ferment in some amount from the time of inoculation until they’re eaten.

    Reply
    • Save that liquid!! It Liquid Gold….WHEY! If you don’t use it to lacto-ferment fruits and veggies, drink a couple of tablespoons with meals for a terrific probiotic digestive aid! Whatever you do…don’t chuck it! It will last for months in your fridge or give it away!

      Reply
  67. Denver Tina via Facebook December 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Yogurt made from raw milk makes a runny yogurt. I’m adding gelatin to make it thicker. I was straining my yogurt but I can’t use that much whey.

    Reply

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