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How do I know if I am making Kefir and not spoiled milk?

by (155)
Updated about 19 hours ago
Created January 31, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Hey guys,

I just started making my own kefir at home and it sounds like a strange question but how do I know if I have made kefir and that I am not just drinking spoiled milk? I fermented my first batch for 24 hours at room temperature and at the end, there were many miniature curds throughout it with a slightly thick consistency. I tasted it and it was quite good, slightly sour but tasty. Does any kefir veterans have any tips?

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3280 · April 24, 2013 at 4:42 AM

And if for some reason you do decide to rinse them (after a genuinely spoiled batch, say), never use tap water. Chlorine and flouride will damage them.

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3280 · April 24, 2013 at 4:40 AM

Right. Bitter is bad, indicates spoilage.

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868 · December 08, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Yes, if you can get it down without wanting to vomit, you're fine. I once fed my daughter spoiled milk by mistake. She drank it because she trusted me. She threw up almost immediately. You'll know.

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787 · February 05, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Totally agree. "spoiled" milk is hard to smell, let alone taste. People really overcomplicate culturing - it's really difficult to screw up.

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801 · February 05, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Sounds like you made it right... Check out thehealthyhomeeconomist.com for some really good videos on making kefir and other fermented foods.

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1303 · January 31, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Ditto with Mari- I still don't know if my creme fraiche was made correctly or not since I didn't have anything to compare it to. The only kefir that I've had tasted like liquid goat cheese despite being cow's milk.

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7324 · January 31, 2011 at 3:28 PM

I had the same thoughts when making creme fraiche. A bit disconcerting for sure.

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8 Answers

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3690 · February 05, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Spoiled milk will taste too bad for you not to notice. Sour and tasty means that your kefir is perfect.

Cfe88f41d0f90c6355a58eddbe78c9f8
868 · December 08, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Yes, if you can get it down without wanting to vomit, you're fine. I once fed my daughter spoiled milk by mistake. She drank it because she trusted me. She threw up almost immediately. You'll know.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7
787 · February 05, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Totally agree. "spoiled" milk is hard to smell, let alone taste. People really overcomplicate culturing - it's really difficult to screw up.

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4896 · February 05, 2011 at 3:33 PM

sour milk is delicious, kefir is just a variation. As long as it's sour and not bitter, all is fine.

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3280 · April 24, 2013 at 4:40 AM

Right. Bitter is bad, indicates spoilage.

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8057 · April 24, 2013 at 3:24 AM

One whiff will tell you if it's kefir or spoiled milk--very different. Kefir IS thick and chunky. Give it a stir before straining, NEVER rinse your grains unless switching types of milk. The kefir clinging to the grains helps the next batch ferment.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc
3280 · April 24, 2013 at 4:42 AM

And if for some reason you do decide to rinse them (after a genuinely spoiled batch, say), never use tap water. Chlorine and flouride will damage them.

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10 · December 08, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Some answers, some questions.

I always rinse them because I found a thickier kefir being produced if I make it partially in the fridge, or including the "storing milk" in the next batch and now I'm wondering whether that thickness is sour milk, so just in case I rinse the grains throughly on a plastic strainer to make sure no old milk remains hidden in there.

Usually I store it about two weeks, in a closed-but-non-air-tight container and now it then it starts getting a "cheesy" flavor. So it is possible than "some" spoiled kefir gives that flavor, but since it's just a little, you can't tell YET it's bad. It's like some under-skin tickling: it's definitely pain, but in so few cells, that you can't call it "pain".

I stored another batch before, about two months or more, and it ended up cheesy consistency but vinegary flavor. I didn't like it but it was certainly something others eat (like strawberry double fermented kefir, that tastes to beer or cider, but in my head is rotten strawberry. Certainly liked by others)

So is that flavor like starting-to-become-cheese safe?

Was that extra thickening bad?

My kefir grew so much that another reason I make it partially in the fridge is because it foams soo fast hehe.

Now, I can tell fresh kefir by the whey going above and the creamy part to the bottom. As far as the creamy part floats, it tastes great for me, that I don't like sourness.

I assume that means the kefir died. I know there will be no benefit from living bacteria, but what about all the other chemicals left behind?

Is it bad? good?

Thanks.

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198 · January 31, 2011 at 3:38 PM

The miniature curds and thick consistency is how kefir is supposed to look like. I often ferment for 36 - 48 hours in cooler area of my house, cause I like it more sour. Sometimes it separates, but I just stir it and drink.

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539 · January 31, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I've been making kefir for years and yours sounds perfect! Experiment with temperature and airtightness; differences in refridgerating/leaving out on the counter loosely or tightly covered will give you variations in effervescence and thickness. Sometimes I like mine more sour, sometimes less, and sometimes the time of year and changes in the ambient temperature of my kitchen make me change my methods. You'll also get different results using goat or cow's milk, full fat or otherwise. They are versatile and rather hardy little grains.

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0 · January 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I just started drinking smoothies and my dr told me to buy the kelfir in peach&straberry flavor well I opened both of them to taste them and lol I spit them back out because they tasted rotten is that supposed to taste kinda like buttermilk but with flavor lol

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0 · April 23, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Is there anyone here that would be willing to share some kefir grains? I would like to try them I used to have water kefir and my roommates through them away thinking it was something bad so sad... If anyone could help I would much appreciated if anybody has extra to give or donate. Thanks Denise

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