We love store bought milk kefir, not just the flavored versions but the plain ones as well. The homemade stuff I have been making for the past couple weeks is awful! It tastes like rotten milk, even when I blend it up with fruit and honey and make sure it is very cold, we just cannot drink it. I have tried using less/more milk and changed up the length of time anywhere from 6 hours to 24 and every time it tastes rotten (the milk tastes fine before).
Right now I have a full teaspoon, a little more, of grains in a cup of milk and they are in the fridge, I read somewhere that they will ferment in the fridge but it will take a few days. Hoping it results in a less sour/rotten tasting milk.
Any suggestions/tips/ideas? Is it true that homemade kefir just does not taste like store bought, I really hope not cause I love that stuff and hate to have wasted money on the grains!
Hello, I made milk kefir years ago for a short while. I no longer make it and we don't drink milk or kefir any more either.
From what I recall, the store-bought kefir was very much like a yogurt smoothy and seemed entirely un-kefir-like compared to the milk kefir that I made. My home-made kefir tasted tangy and soured. It tasted a bit like buttermilk - with a bite.
I used raw (unpasteurized) milk. I don't know if you are using raw milk but I suspect that would make a difference; under refrigeration, raw milk eventually sours but pasteurized milk spoils.
Hopefully someone with more experience will answer your post.
To confirm, are you using fairly new grains, or did you get them from someone's supply of grains? What kind of milk are you using? What amount of milk were you putting with the grains for counter top culturing (no heat!)?
Depending on what you say, one thought is you don't have enough grains and are using store bought milk, and it's spoiling before the grains can culture. I've made kefir when traveling from store bought milk (trader joes) and it tasted the same as our raw milk kefir that we make at home, for the most part. If raw milk sours, it won't smell or taste rotten - pasteurized milk will spoil and smell nasty.
We've made milk kefir for a few years and I still can't drink it straight. Kefir cheese - forget about it. I use it in smoothies frequently but it tastes gross by itself. Different from the store-bought stuff that I remember - that worked well as a yogurt sub and tasted fine on it's own. I use raw goat milk mostly but have tried raw cow's milk and organic pasturized, nonhomogenized. I suggest keep trying the smoothies - use orange juice or something with a strong flavor to drown out the kefir bite while you adjust.
Kefir at the store is made with a culture instead of grains. That might be part of the problem is that you like the cultured flavor. If you really like the cultured flavor better, cheesemaking suppliers do sell the starter culture and you could maintain it like you would yogurt.
I started making kefir by using pasteurized milk, and it would turn out rotten. Since we have switched to raw milk, I don't have that problem. The thing is, pasteurized milk will get rotten by sitting out while raw milk just sours (and is still good to drink). I personally, still, don't drink it straight. I put it in my raw milk smoothies every day :-).