Cultures are living organisms. As such, no two batches of anything are always alike. You might have success, at first, and then find that your culture is struggling. Milk kefir is no exception. While it is a fairly hardy culture, it has its needs just like all of the others – food, temperature, and attention. If you’re following along with our series on making milk kefir (see part one for rehydrating the grains and part two for making kefir), then you might be getting into a rhythm of making milk kefir every day.You might desire to continue making lots of kefir and have your grains multiply in order to start new batches, pass them around to friends, or use them to ferment something else. This is often where folks hit a wall, I know I have. There is a common mistake people make right about now that, if reversed, could help you keep your grains healthy, strong, and multiplying. Wanna’ know what the most common mistake is when it comes to keeping your grains healthy and strong?
The number one mistake people make is not increasing the volume of milk used in culturing once the grains become active. As your grains multiply, they require more food to keep them healthy and to continue their multiplication. Continuing with the original volume of milk with an increased volume of kefir grains can strain the culture and put you at a stand-still with your grain multiplication. According to Bonni, a CFH Customer Service Rep andblog Contributor, it is best to increase the amount of milk incrementally. So, as your kefir grains grow, so should the volume of milk they are culturing. If you read through the directions that come with the kefir grains, you will see that it states that one to two teaspoons of grains are sufficient to culture one quart of milk. Too many grains can create a stronger yeast flavor or undesired physical changes in the kefir. The bottom line: feed your milk kefir grains more milk as they multiply. A couple of teaspoons of grains per quart is a good ratio. That way you’ll have plenty of kefir grains to share or use for different purposes, which we’ll discuss next time.