The companies that sell the grains… and the people throughout history who have made kefir must have to make the grains without existing grains so how do you make kefir grains at home?
There is no way to "make" grains at home from scratch. I know what you're saying but I tried for a year to find a way and everyone told me it was not possible. I'm big on DIY and there's a way to make nearly everything at home but I turned up nothing on kefir grains. I'm not sure where all these grains originally came from but there does not appear to be a way to create this complex creature on your own at home.
You might be able to find someone locally who is willing to share. That's how I got my latest batch. Check Craigslist or the farmer's market maybe?
It's a culture that has been propagated and passed down for many generations. If you're not willing to buy some, you'll need to hook up with someone who has extras they're willing to give you. The grains multiply, and anyone who is regularly making kefir is going to end up with more grains than he needs.
So I make "quick & dirty" kefir by mixing 1/3 store-bought organic kefir with 2/3 raw goats milk & leaving it on the counter for 12-18 hours.
You can strain the finished kefir & you will have some grains--but not as many different strains as you will get from getting grains from someone else.
I noticed this is pretty high on Google search so I'd like to chime in for anyone that finds this. The most plausible theory at this time is that kefir grains originated from sheep intestinal bacteria. Scientists have tried to use pure cultures to recreate kefir grains and haven't had much luck - so this isn't something you can DIY. However, once you have a kefir grain or grains it will multiply over time. In this sense you are making your own kefir grains, but you must start with a kefir grain(s) that is obtained. If you are looking for kefir grains check out simplykefir.com or check your local craigslist
You can try your local Freecycle, I got some there once.
Last time I bought from a reputable dealer on eBay and these grains are the best ever--they double every week so I'm always looking for people to give them away to (North SF Bay Area--Sonoma County).
You can even buy them on Amazon.
There are powders that will innoculate your milk but not as well as the real kefir grains.
I made coconut water kefir using nothing but the coconut water and a tightly sealed glass jar at room temperature.
Has anyone else tried this? Do the same types of good bacteria form just as if i was using the grains?