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Kefir is very sour - what am I doing wrong?

In a bid to improve my gut problems I purchased some live Kefir about 3 weeks ago. I followed the instructions, added it to whole milk and left for 36/48 hours. As expected the first couple of brews where awful and went down the drain. The 3rd & 4th brew were ok and drinkable but since then it has gone downhill, it's very sour and today's brew was totally unpalatable and went straight down the drain. It looks & smells like milk that has gone off!! My Kefir now looks like one lump of cauliflower, I have not used any metal implements at all for stirring, straining etc. Up to now I have strained it the evening and put it in the fridge for the morning.

I wonder if there are there any successful kefir brewers out there with any words of wisdom before I finally give up on it.

Thanks

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Hi Sue. There are many variables that can affect how kefir turns out. It took me a while to get the hang of it.

What kind of milk are you using? Whole, organic is best.

Also are you using an airtight jar or one with an open top?

It depends how warm the weather is as to how long a ferment takes. It is best to keep your eye on it and get it just before it starts separating. Are you in the UK?

You can tell it is a good one if it tastes ever so slightly fizzy.. but No, not like sour milk.

You might want to break up the grains a bit to give more surface area, I also usually give my jar a little shake half way through to spread them about.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer ☺

Chloe

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Thanks Seavee79. I am using Grahams gold whole milk from a supermarket, don't think its organic! I am using a jar but leave the lid slightly off. Yes, I am in the UK.

I will break up the lump to see if this helps. Do I need to rinse the grains after each batch?

Do you cool yours in the fridge before consuming?

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I cool mine in the fridge and it tastes much better for it!

I can leave a pint in the fridge and drink it during the week.

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No need to rinse unless the grains get a yellow coating (usually from being left in the same milk for too long) then they need a rinse and a massage

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I dunno, I always think it smells and tastes a bit like old socks - but that may be because I use goats milk

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I'm afraid I gave up with milk kefir as I couldn't bring myself to put it in my mouth. I have some water kefir now, I don't know if it is as good for you but I am at least able to consume it.

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Why don't you buy proper kefir in a tub or bottled from I.e. Polish shop or at Asda/Tesco in Polish isle.

I personally like to drink kefir plain.

But if it's too sour for your pallet you can make kefir "milkshake" by adding strawberries (best) or any other berries to make it sweet. Shove it all in a blender for a couple of minutes and voila - beautiful, low fat, thick, smooth milkshake. You can do the same with buttermilk which is even less calorific than kefir, though has less "good" bacteria. And is less sour too and smoother.

I personally wouldn't mess with adding any powdered stuff to supermarket milk to grow something. 🤔😯 It's not goin to work as supermarket milk goes through tons of processes from heating to filtering, pasteurization etc. Pretty much nothing is left, organic matter can hang on to. You'd have to get fresh milk from a farmer to get good results.

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Trelemorele,

I find full fat organic milk works. I disagree with the Polish Aisle - it’s processed and loses a lot of quality. Organic fresh produce shops also sell it fresh - in London mine is pre order and arrives on a certain day. These are the natural bulbs.

Suesews - it is bitter but I forced myself to drink it over a week and it seemed okay after a while. As Trelemorele said, strawberries work. I am yet to try it with honey (not sure if this is a no no)

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I love it with honey

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I don’t know what you’re “cooking” in there at home but that ain't kefir.

Kefir doesn’t taste bitter. It tastes sour and it’s smoot not lumpy.

If you want best, authentic, healthiest and original you go to the source. And the source is East Europe – Russia, Poland or Turkey. They have hundreds years of experience in making kefir and sauerkraut. But you have dismissed that information I’ve given 1st time over posh, 700% mark-up, “organic” concoctions for home DIY.

You aren’t going to make kefir at home– period. You don’t have access via any shops to one vital ingredient - fresh from the cow milk. Call that milk “organic”, call if fresh filtered, pure, whatnot - not one shop in Europe is allowed to sell fresh from the cow milk to the public.

I’m not here to argue, I’m giving you information from the source. You take it and use it to your advantage or leave it and feed yourself some wacky brews.

If making bizarre concoctions with questionable tastes and textures at home over buying original product (you bizarrely claim to be processed with no quality!?) makes you happy - who am I to stop you. People put a lot of junk in their mouth and live.

I grew up on kefir so know how it tastes and how it is made. You may not like it, dismiss it, not even want to try it and/or simply avoid it but you don’t have the slightest what kefir tastes or is.

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Raw milk can be bought straight from accredited farms , such a pity so few of them. Gazegill organics is one and they do a really good delivery

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Trelemorele, how can you criticize making fermented with pasteurised milk when you are buying from large corporations, using very narrow strains of bacteria and probably pastrie using the end product.

These foods are traditionally made at home, it's possible to buy or find someone to gift you ancient strains of bacteria that have been alive and used in homes for hundreds of not thousands of years.

This is what authentic kefir is. supermarket kefir is not the real deal. Try growing from it for 2 or 3 generations if you think it is.

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You can get raw milk from cows (usually jersey cows) at many local farms in England. I get mine just down the road, but I prefer goat milk.

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Cos it ain't proper if you read the label - but contains sugar - and costs lots, lots more. Real kefir grains (not powder - that's yoghurt starter) works fine in any good un-messed-with milk (pasteurized is OK; the grains don't mind). Whole raw organic or K2 is best, but anything "normal" (not Cravendale. for example) will work and be fine - even semi skimmed, although you won't get quite the same spread of nutrients. Water kefir gives a different set of bacteria and nutrients. I think supermarket kefir is probably like supermarket yoghurt (same name, different product) - dead as a doornail.

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it does look like cauliflower so dont worry about that! I make just under a pint at a time, I leave it loosely covered in a glass jug and can see when its ready as it seems solid, you can see the clumps through the glass. I mix it with non metal spoon and sieve into another jug. It is thick like cream but tastes tangy. There isnt an off milk smell but it isnt like yoghurt its tangy..hard to describe. It can go off I think and I found Happy Kombucha webside and help line very helpful. My dog jumped up and drank a whole pint once and he was fine!

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I believe it's as good for dogs as it is for us!

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Cats like it too

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My dog has a cup every day, hoping it will keep him healthy.

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Water kefir is very palatable and you can buy water kefir grains from a website called Happy Kombucha. I use Buxton Still Mineral Water to make mine and, if desired, one can add certain fresh fruits, fresh root ginger. Water kefir is much easier to make and manage.

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I make kefir at home with blue top milk

I sometimes have to slow my production down by putting it in the fridge for a few days (and when I’m away on holiday)

If it over processes it probably takes a couple of brews to get back to ‘good’

I strain it through a cloth and we use it the same as Greek yogurt. We do chill before consuming

I must be doing something right as members of my family report ‘better guts’ when it’s consumed regularly

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Like anything it won't be to everyone's taste. I use mine in my breakfast smoothie but can palate it straight. I started with the gold top but mainly use standard whole milk now. With the gold top I did notice the cream would settle to the top and smell more sour than usual.

As has been said there are a lot of variables. My grains have stayed in small clumps and I add a good spoonful to my smoothie to regulate them.

I agree there probably aren't many people making kefir with unpasteurised milk.

For me it's easier to drink after being refrigerated.

It will take longer in the fridge to work, it can be like thick yogurt in 24hr or less and will separate if left longer.

It does taste very strong if it has separated, but I give it a good stir after sieving and leave in the fridge overnight.

Keep trying you'll get there.

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Thanks everyone for your replies, I will keep trying!!

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I use goats milk kefir which I buy on repeat order from a small farm in Wales by mail order. It is quite palatable on its own and no trace of anything “ goaty” lol. Do a google search I’m sure it will pop up. It’s not cheap but nothing healthy is I’m finding!!

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Sounds perfect, but 24 hours is enough if you have the heating on (and in summer). The longer you leave it, the sharper the taste. Do not store in fridge - it needs to be kept at room temperature unless you want to slow the growth as you are going to be away for a few days. Make sure it is in glass not plastic. Do not put a tight lid on it or you will end up with very fizzy kefir and a possible explosion. It is sour compared with yoghurt. If you don't like the taste, mix with some fruit juice/puree before drinking. The grains will grow and should look like cauliflower. If you end up with too many grains - sell extra on ebay or give to friends (or you can freeze a little as a backup supply - keeps for a couple of years). I have been making kefir for 10+ years.

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