Edible Monterey Bay

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Courtesy Jordan Champagne, chef and proprietor, Happy Girl Kitchen Co. in Pacific Grove

Makes 1 quart

1 quart milk—goat, cow, sheep or coconut
1 tablespoon kefir grains*

Pour the milk into a clean glass jar. Add the kefir grains and cap. If you do not want your kefir to develop too much effervescence, then put the lid on loosely. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, shaking it periodically. I put my kefir out on the countertop next to the stove where it is a little warm and out of the sunlight. In about 18 hours I find it to be perfectly cultured without becoming too sour or separated.

At this point, pour the kefir through a strainer to fish out the precious grains. Reserve the grains and use them for the next batch, storing them in a small jar covered in milk where they will keep for one month. The grains should continue to look whitish in color and plump with vitality. You only need one tablespoon of grains per quart of milk to keep your kefir going.

You can leave it out to continue to sour or refrigerate it and it will last about one week. Your homemade kefir will likely be sourer and more watery than the ones in the store. This is because commercial kefir contains thickeners and sweeteners. Embrace the homemade flavor!

*These may be ordered online or strained from a friend’s batch of homemade kefir.

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At Edible Monterey Bay, our mission is to celebrate the local food cultures of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, season by season.