Hi--I've been trying out my new kefir grains in raw cow's milk, and I'm still in the learning stages of how to make a kefir that works the best for me. I left the lid on loosely of my last kefir batch, and the curd and whey separated pretty quickly. I stirred it before trying to strain it in a tea strainer with a nylon mesh. Is the straining supposed to take a really, really long time? My fermented kefir was full of large curds that didn't break down easily. The kefir that made it through the strainer looked like milky water. Am I supposed to just use the milky water? Or is it better to have curds in the kefir? I ended up putting some of the curds in the kefir, but then the resulting kefir was clumpy (kind of a turn off to drink!). I have a new batch going with the lid tight this time, and so far the whey and curd haven't separated (I'm also using only a cup of milk as opposed to 1.5-2 cups last time).
I'm thinking of trying to get one of those bath toy mesh bags that Heather wrote about in the archived kefir thread. Do you all think that will make the straining process faster?
Also, when is it okay for my daughter to drink kefir? She's only 6 months old, so I know it will probably be a while yet... ? She has a yeasty diaper rash, so I've been giving her a probiotic powder (from the healthfood store) in her solid foods. I figure the kefir will utlimately be better (the powder doesn't seem to be helping).
Any kefir experts out there to give some tips/advice?