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Does overfermenting damage kefir grains?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:57 pm
by Dostoevsky
Hi everybody, I've got a quick question about kefir grains.

When I make my kefir, I let the grains/milk sit for 48 hours (instead of the more common 24 hours) because I prefer very sour kefir. I didn't think this was a problem, but I have heard a couple of people online who warned against continually overfermenting your kefir. They claimed that this damages the grains.

Does anyone know if this is in fact true? (I've only seen this warning a couple of times, so I wasn't sure.) Thanks in advance!

Re: Does overfermenting damage kefir grains?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:23 pm
by dri
From what I've read, the risk is that they run out of "food" (sugars). I've done some batches for closer to 80hours (by accident as I forgot to put it in the fridge before I went away for a long weekend). the grains looked a bit stressed, similar to when I had tried to make a plastic keeper. When stressed the grains turn into more of a flat ribbon with almost none of the cauliflower like texture.

If your's keep looking normal you are probably fine to keep going 48hrs. If they start looking stressed give them a few days of shorter runs.

You might also try doing second ferments, putting the grains into a second jar while leaving the original jar fermenting for 24-48 more hours. It will keep fermenting and will eventually separate and consume all the lactose.

For truly sour, I like to add slices of lime in the second ferment, which adds a nice flavor and helps thickens it up.

Re: Does overfermenting damage kefir grains?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:14 pm
by Dostoevsky
Thanks for the reply. To my untrained eye, the grains still look pretty normal, so that gives me a little peace of mind.

Thanks also for the lime suggestion. I'm going to try that. Sounds yummy! :)