help - what happened to my kefir? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-12-2009, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just bought some kefir grains from the Kefir Lady and i followed the instructions exactly and after 24 hours the kefir looked pretty clumpy, so I strained it and what was left in the strainer was very thick cottage cheese looking stuff and what went through the strainer was essentially water. What did I do wrong? And how do I recover my kefir grains from the thick curds in the strainer? Do I rinse it?

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#2 of 6 Old 08-12-2009, 05:40 AM
 
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I'm not an expert and have only had my grains for a few months...

I saved my grains from this situation one time by placing them in a stainless-steel mesh strainer and gently rubbing a spoon around in them while under running water.

I also sometimes end up with clumps around the kefir and regular milk (looks like it, anyway) in the rest of the jar. Could you be trying to culture too much milk at one time? I've found that if I shake up the mixture before straining it, it gets more uniformly thick. I also have put it through the strainer as-is (i.e. clumps +watery milk) and then I shake the strained liquid and put in the fridge for 24 hrs.

I've found in the heat of summer that I need to do my culturing in the fridge or my milk goes off faster than the grains can culture it. It takes a few days instead of 24 hrs, but I have had great kefir for 2 months now.

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#3 of 6 Old 08-12-2009, 06:44 AM
 
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...maybe the holes in your strainer are just a little too small ?

I baught an extra one which is not fine mesh ( plastic and slightly larger holes) and it works better for separating the grains from the kefired milk + I stir with a plastic spoon at the end to strain as much as possible from the goey mass that stay in the strainer

I rinse the grains under tap water AFTER I've saved the kefired milk in another container that I've put in the fridge so that I don't make a mistake (once I started rinsing the grains with my kefired milk still in the bowl below = a lost batch !)
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#4 of 6 Old 08-12-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth2008 View Post
I just bought some kefir grains from the Kefir Lady and i followed the instructions exactly and after 24 hours the kefir looked pretty clumpy, so I strained it and what was left in the strainer was very thick cottage cheese looking stuff and what went through the strainer was essentially water. What did I do wrong? And how do I recover my kefir grains from the thick curds in the strainer? Do I rinse it?
When you rinse your grains, you rinse away the kefiran, so unless you're trying to rescue or save damaged grains, it's not recommended to rinse kefir grains.

It sounds like you either had too many grains for the amount of milk you had, your milk cultured longer than necessary for the temperature it was at or it maybe went a bit longer than necessary for the temperature (sometimes they can go a bit under 24hrs depending on the amt of grains and the room temperature). Are you on Marilyn's Yahoo! Group? You can also call her. But my guess is that what she'd suggest is if you want to try to grains with the same amount of milk that you do it at a lower temp. The other suggestion would be to use more milk.

The watery stuff that you have is whey and you can mix it back into the kefir. It separates when it either cultures too long or the temp is too high. Basically, your grains ate all the lactose available in the milk and it started to separate.

How to separate the grains from the curds? You can use a wooden spoon to push them through the strainer a bit, or, just wash your hands and feel them and separate them manually. The grains will feel a bit rubbery and you'll be able to tell them apart that way.
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#5 of 6 Old 08-16-2009, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the responses ladies! My second and third batches turned out better. I did need a strainer with slightly larger holes (I was using a stainless mesh strainer) and I needed more milk. It's still a bit grainy though and not creamy, but it tastes fine in smoothies. I'd love to get it thick and creamy like the Lifeway kind!

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#6 of 6 Old 08-16-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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Unless it very very overbrewed, when the kefir turns into curds and whey, you can usually just give it a good stir with a wooden spoon or a good shake in the jar before straining. The kefir curds and whey should mix back up pretty well and turn into a nice thick kefir and the grains should become easier to strain.
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