Tips: Sour Milk Kefir? Ways to fix it – And second ferment ideas

Milk kefir being to tart or sour, this is most people’s number one issue.

Sour Milk Kefir Ways to fix it.
I will discuss a few ways to prevent sour milk kefir & a few ways to fix already soured milk kefir. Plus why second fermenting milk kefir adds more benefits.

Buy kombucha, milk kefir & water Kefir

Prevent sour milk kefir:

  • Use less grains to your milk ratio. I use 1 tbsp of grains to 2 cups of raw milk. If your grains multiply remove the excess or add the extra milk to accommodate the extra grains. Having to many milk kefir grains per ratio of milk can lead to your milk kefir being sour because the grains eat the sugars faster.less tart milk kefir
  • Using good quality milk is also a good way to prevent sour milk kefir. Not everyone can get their hands on good raw milk, but you can at least buy the best you can get (organic, not pasteurized or homogenized etc).
  • It is important to note some just use regular cows milk from the grocery store because that is all they can get & they have no issues with it effecting taste or  the health of the grains. So if that is all you can get & it is turning sour still try the tips mentioned here. But do buy whole milk.
  • In warmer months only sit the jar of milk & kefir grains out at room temp fermenting 4, 8 or 12 hours & then sit it in the refrigerator to finish fermenting. I like to do this pretty much year round for a nice thick milk kefir that taste better.
  • Making sure your milk kefir grains are healthy. Flat grains tend to be off balance & can lead to both sour milk kefir & yeasty milk kefir. Slightly squeeze each grain before adding to the jar of milk to check them.milk kefir & grains.jpg
  • Fermenting in plastic can cause sour milk kefir, only use glass.
  • Some prefer to ferment milk kefir with a breathable cover (I personally do), but some prefer to ferment with the lid sealed & to release the gas build up. Try both & see what way you prefer & how it effects the taste.
  • Storing kefir grains for long periods & then starting to use them can also cause a period of sour milk kefir while the grains are snapping back & getting in balance. So if you recently started using grains that had been stored just be patient, follow the advice in this post & in my milk kefir directions post.
  • Just general best practices can help, make sure all jars are washed well, then rinsed with distilled white vinegar (especially if you have treated water). Never touch the grains with metal.
  • Nut Milks such as coconut, almond etc can cause sour milk kefir.
  1. If you are using alternative milks like nut milks, every 3 to 4 batches make sure your grains are getting real milk so they do not get their bacteria & yeast out of balance.
  2. If you are using alternative milk like nut milks because have issues with lactose, most with lactose issues can drink milk kefir made from real milk just fine. That is because the milk kefir lives on the lactose. Doing a second ferment is the wway to go insure the removal of lactose as much as possible.
  3. Try to make sure you are using very good quality alternative milks.
  4. Try mixing 1 cup of nut milk to one cup of real milk

What to do with milk kefir that is already sour:

  • Make cheese with the soured milk kefir (blog post on making cheese is already posted).
  • Stir the milk kefir & add more milk (add half the amount of milk, so if you have 2 cups of sour milk kefir add 1 cup of milk), let sit out 4 to 6 hours to ferment then taste. This can be done with the grains in or removed.
  • Add to smoothies, unless it is very sour mixing it with fruit or protein drinks is a great way to not taste the sour.
  • Mix with cottage cheese or yogurt.
  • Add in some real vanilla, raw honey or black strap molasses to of set the sour taste.
  •  Second ferment the sour milk kefir (info below on a few ideas & why).

Second ferment sour milk kefir (even if it is not sour second fermenting is great):

Second fermenting milk kefir after you have removed the grains can be a great way to not only get rid of that tart sour taste, reduce any remaining lactose but also increase the nutrients, bioavailable vitamins, probiotics & benefits by giving the bacteria that is present more to eat.


Cacao second ferment milk kefir yogurt

Second fermenting can give milk kefir sweetness & remove tart, sour or bitter taste.

A reminder milk kefir tends to be thick but not as thick as yogurt, more like a drinkable yogurt. Second fermenting can add a bit of thickness sometimes, so can draining just some of the whey make it thicker.

I will be adding blog post with recipes with exact amounts over the next few months or so. But you can taker the ideas I share here & run with them & create your own. Do not be afraid to try things out.

Never do a second ferment with the kefir grains, make sure you remove them so you do not harm them.

Ideas to add to second ferment: (use or or mix & match)

  • Zest some lemon or other citrus peels.
  • Real vanilla (extract or bean).


    Strawberry vanilla second ferment milk kefir yogurt

  • Raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder).
  • Pureed avocado
  • Spices like cinnamon or spice blends like pumpkin pie spice
  • Your favorite protein drink or powder.
  • Chopped nuts
  • Steal cut oats
  • Fruit powder
  • Sliced or cubed fruits (with fruit less is more, too much fruit can cause kefir whey separation & best to remove the fruit after several hours or to your taste to prevent extra souring & bitterness so directions for fruit below).


Use cold or room temp milk kefir, but if cold add extra time sitting out at room temp.

  1. After adding your flavors (again do not leave the grains in the second ferment).
  2. Cover jar with plastic wrap & either secure with a rubber band or screw lid over wrap.
  3. Allow to sit at room temp 1, 3, 4 or so hours depending on temp & your taste (feel free to taste along the way).
  4. You can stir several times if desired (or shake jar).
  5. Watch for separation, you want to try to avoid separation of the milk & whey.
  6. Stir
  7. And refrigerate covered.
  8. Enjoy

Second fermenting with fruit, I prefer to do it this way: (you can still do it like above if you prefer).

Using strawberry & blueberry as an example. You can use fresh or frozen fruit.
Use cold or room temp milk kefir, but if cold add extra time sitting out at room temp.

  1. To 1 quart of finished milk kefir (do not overfill jar).
  2. I add 1 tsp real vanilla (& I do not add the fruit yet)
  3. Cover jar with plastic wrap & either secure with a rubber band or screw lid over wrap.
  4. Allow to sit at room temp 1, 3, 4 or so hours depending on temp & your taste (feel free to taste along the way).
  5. You can stir several times if desired (or shake jar).
  6. Watch for separation, you want to try to avoid separation of the milk & whey.
  7. Now add a couple cut in half strawberrys & several cut in half blueberries
  8. Stir
  9. Sit in refrigerator covered.
  10. After several hours remove fruit(watch & taste to figure out how long).
  11. Give fruit a squeeze to add the juices to the milk kefir. (you can leave fruit but to me it starts tasting spoiled).
  12. Stir
  13. Enjoy

sour milk kefir

What to buy needed supplies (on Amazon)

Informationstichintime milk kefir

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