Looking for ways to help grow kefir grains?
If you are not satisfied with the way your kefir grains are multiplying, here are the tips on how you can change that. Even though the most important thing is that the taste and smell of kefir is satisfactory, sometimes this goes hand in hand with their growth.
Read on for advice on how to stimulate your kefir grains.
1. tip: Adjust the temperature
Sometimes the grains are not growing because the temperature in the room is too low. Lower temperatures are slowing down the fermentation and the growth of grains. It’s best to leave the grains in optimal temperature and not changing it all the time, that puts stress on the grains and they will not grow.
Maybe you noticed kefir ferments faster in warmer season, this also affects the growth of the grains. The fermentation is faster in this case and you should mind the over fermentation which also isn’t great if it happens too often.
Optimal temperature for the kefir grains is 22 – 25 °C.
2. tip: Feed the grains enough food
The kefir grains need food for fermentation. The ratio between the grains and feed is also of importance. In milk kefir, the feed is lactose in the milk. To prepare water kefir you have to add sugar which feeds the grains.
Ratio grains : sugar-water/milk is important
If you use too much milk for milk kefir, the grains will need more time to ferment. In this case the milk can go off before the grains can ferment it.
When using too much grains for the amount of milk, milk kefir grains will not have enough food and they will starve. In this case over fermentation starts which can, if done often, damage the grains.
Lack of feed can be remedied by adding powdered milk to the kefir which has lots of lactose – the sugar in milk which acts as food for grains.
You can add minerals to the kefir: mineral drops, rapadura sugar, raisins, figs, etc. Or try adding some powder milk to increase lactose amount in milk.
You should prepare water kefir with fresh, non-chlorinated and non-filtered water. The chlorine in the water can kill the bacteria strains in the grains, while filtered water lacks the minerals that kefir grains feed on. It’s ideal to use natural spring water full of minerals to encourage the growth of grains.
Water kefir ratio:
Recommended ratio is 1 tbsp sugar : 1 tbsp kefir grains : 1 cup water
Milk kefir ratio:
Recommended ratio is 1 part grains : 10 parts milk.
3. tip: Separate bigger grains
Smaller grains grow faster because they have bigger areas in contact with their feed. If you have very big grains consider separating them into smaller ones. Be gentle when doing this so you don’t damage them.
4. tip: Take less breaks
Kefir grains work best when they are active all the time. Continuity is the key if you want to make a delicious homemade kefir. It’s ok if you take a break from kefir from time to time, just make sure these breaks aren’t to often. This break is usually quite stressful for the grains. To slow their activity we usually put them in a cold place. To keep the grains healthiest avoid doing this too frequently. It may be hard for them to become active again.
5. tip: Shake and stir
Shake/stir the grains during fermentation so you can encourage more milk gets in contact with the grains. The contact area between grains and their food is where the magic happens. Bigger it is, faster the growth of the grains will be.
Those of you who are have many experience with making kefir at home may have some other tips on how to help grow kefir grains. Please share them in the comments!
You can get milk and water kefir grains here: