Video: Correctly Identify Your Kefir Grains

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist Fermented Foods, Other, VideosComments: 15

I’ve posted two videoblogs in the past few months about kefir.  The first video showed you how to make milk kefir and the second video is a how to for making water kefir sodas.  These two videos have generated a lot of questions and also some confusion as to which grains are used for what purpose.

If you got some kefir grains from a friend and they didn’t seem to work very well, there is a chance that you might be using the wrong grains.    Watch this brief video to make sure you got the right culture for what you are trying to make.   Hint:  water kefir grains do not ferment milk very well at all.

Do you know the difference between milk kefir grains and water kefir grains?  See the video below for clues!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

Why Kefir is a Healthier Choice than Yogurt

Comments (15)

  • Barbara Ann

    I'm so glad kefir was your subject today because I've started "activating" milk kefir grains a few days ago and I'm confused about the consistency. I am doing as the instructions suggest and am only using 1 cup of raw milk per day and then straining grains out daily. Yesterday I got very little liquid strained out and the culture it's looking like cottage cheese (sort of). Do you think I'm doing it correctly? If so, how long before the grains bind to look like cauliflower?

    July 1st, 2010 5:20 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Barbara Ann, I have never activated milk kefir grains before. I only know what they look and act like once they are activated. Sounds right, though, if the culture is looking like cottage cheese. Those little chunks will probably grow over time into the cauliflower like pieces.

    July 1st, 2010 6:31 pm Reply
  • Barbara Ann

    So the culture continues to grow — I didn't know that. I'm sure it's based on how often you use the culture to make kefir, but how often do you have to separate it? Does it grow gradually or rapidly? Other than make kefir or give it away, is there anything else you can do with the culture?

    July 1st, 2010 6:52 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    When the little cauliflower bunch gets bigger than say, a ping pong ball or so, you can break some off and give it away or even eat it – natural probiotic!!!

    July 1st, 2010 6:55 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I believe that I have read somewhere (maybe on Dom's website) that kefir grains are the same whether they are used for water or milk kefir. I know I gave some water kefir grains to a friend recently and she subdivided them and started to culture milk with some of them. It takes a few batches before the grains become accustomed to the milk medium. In fact, I have also found the same to be true when switching back and forth between raw milk and pasteurized. Apparently, there is always a period of adjustment whenever you start using a different milk with your grains. The batches are drinkable, but they may not have the thickness or degree of fizziness desired at first.

    July 5th, 2010 1:56 am Reply
  • Stephanie B. Cornais

    Hey Sarah!

    I got my milk keifer grains from a friend but they do not look like cauliflower. They looked like little rice grains. I asked my friend why they looked different and she said her mom, put them in a processor to chop them up because she had heard they work better when they are smaller….

    When I did my keifer did not turn out very thick, it was pretty liquidy still. It smells yummy, like yeast bread…so maybe it worked??

    September 13th, 2010 4:21 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Putting them in a processor was not a good idea at all. Sounds like the grains are rather weak if the kefir was thin and not thick and creamy. Can you get grains from someone else?

    September 14th, 2010 11:03 pm Reply
  • Dawn Walsh

    A few days ago I got some milk kefir grains from a friend who was using store 2% milk. I put raw milk in mine (shaken) and the result was a thin, clumpy kefir. It tasted fine, but the texture was disturbing to my kids (so I put in smoothies). I would like the smooth, creamy kefir I got at the store!!! Her grains aren’t BRIGHT white pretty like yours! Result of the nasty store milk perhaps? Think there might be an adjustment period going from dead to raw milk?
    Thank you!!

    May 19th, 2011 4:07 pm Reply
  • tracey

    We drink water kefir, daily(we also eat some of the grains). It’s great to have such a healthy, tasty drink. If anyone is looking of water kefir grains I have some extra for sale…

    August 12th, 2011 9:12 am Reply
  • Shelby

    Can water kefir grains be used to make coconut milk kefir? I bought water kefir grains to make water kefir, but the sugar is too high for my candida issues (I guess most of the sugar in coconut water kefir does not get fermented out… is this true?).


    October 26th, 2011 6:24 pm Reply
  • Stacey DAmico

    I would love to see the milk kefir video but it does not seem to be available. Did you remove it?
    Thanks Stacey

    October 8th, 2012 12:02 pm Reply
  • Paulette

    Hello Sarah:

    My grains look like it’s a farina type consistency. Also, one day, I wil put in a little bit of grains and the next day, my grains had quadrupled in the amount. My grains were till tiny, but the amount was huge. Is that normal and why are my grains not getting bigger?

    March 20th, 2013 9:37 pm Reply
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  • Sarah

    I started my milk kefir a couple days ago. It doesn’t look at all like cauliflower. It looks more like a big blob. Is something wrong? The milk looks more like curdled milk after about 24 hours. It doesn’t smell or taste like it though.

    May 22nd, 2015 11:51 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The kefir grains look like cauliflower, not the milk kefir itself which should resemble drinkable style yogurt.

      May 22nd, 2015 11:57 am Reply

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