I’ve dabbled in kombucha for gut health. I’m a Greek yogurt fan. Saurkraut with eggs in the morning? Sure thing. But in the realm of fermented foods, kefir is an all-star and an enigma. Yet most of us don’t realize how simple and easy it is to make right at home. Here’s how to do it and what you’ll need.

What is Kefir?
Not quite sure what kefir even is? Here’s the breakdown: milk kefir is milk fermented with kefir grains. It only takes about a day to make. After 24 hours, you get something like a very thin yogurt, filled with probiotics and ready to drink.

What is a kefir grain?
Kefir came from the Caucasus or possibly Turkey — no one knows for sure the origins of this mysterious grain.

It used to be made by hanging milk and kefir in a goatskin bag above a doorway. When a visitor enters, they would nudge it and keep it mixed up (history is fun).

Don’t worry, you don’t need a goatskin for this recipe, and you don’t need to make your houseguests stir your kefir for you by continually stumbling into it every time they visit. Though, you can if you want to get retro, and we won’t judge you (well, maybe a little).

History lesson aside, what is a kefir grain? It’s not a grain like wheat or barley. It’s a mix of polysaccharides, bacteria, and yeast. It cultures and feeds on dairy, and it’s what ferments the milk.

How do I Make Kefir at Home?
First, decide if you want to use traditional kefir grains or a powdered starter. We will use the conventional kefir grains in this recipe, rehydrated and ready to go. This all takes place at room temperature, so don’t put this in the fridge while making or it won’t work. You can refrigerate after, though. Here’s what to do:

    1. Use a glass jar.
    2. Pour 4 cups of cow or goat milk into the jar. You can also use coconut milk.
    3. Transfer one to two teaspoons of the kefir grain into the jar.
    4. Take a coffee filter, and put it on the lid, use a rubber band to seal it.
    5. Stare at your handiwork for the next 24 hours (or go do something better).
    6. Come back, take out the kefir grains, and put them in a new glass jar and restart the process.
    7. Drink up and enjoy good gut health.

Kefir Flavors
Plain yogurt is boring. Plain kefir is, well — plain. Luckily you can add flavoring to your kefir at home. Cinnamon and nutmeg are popular choices. Chocolate and vanilla are also tasty options. Just add the spices in after the fermentation process. You can also add fruit flavors, but if you do, drink it right away. If not, the sugars in the fruit will make the kefir sour and not in a this-green-juice-is-gross-but-healthy way.