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for milk-based and water-based kefir grains


Here are details explaining methods for shipping both milk-based and water-based kefir grains sent by post or by courier services.

Part 1 Describes three preferred systems used by the sender to prepare kefir grains ready for postage. The first system includes directions for shipping translucent water kefir-grains or sugary kefir-grains [SKG].

Part 2 Explains the process and methods for reactivating kefir grains by the recipient at the receiving end.

PART 1 [For the sender]


For preparing milk-based or water-based kefir grains

Shipping kefir grains, which may take between 1 - 3 days to reach their destination [by post e.g.], may be sent fresh, by placing the grains in either a solution of sweet whey or with fresh milk [for milk-based grains only]. Water kefir-grains may be shipped in a 3% sugar solution. The container of choice is a 100 - 200 ml [1/3 - 3/4 cup] food-grade plastic bottle [e.g. a pill bottle obtainable from pharmacies]. Alternatively an empty plastic cola drink or mineral water bottle may be used.

Preparing Traditional Milk Kefir-Grains

Fill the bottle about 3/4 with a solution prepared with pre-boiled cooled water, mixed with 1-2 tsp of whey powder. Or fill the bottle 3/4 full with fresh milk. Add 1 - 2 tbs milk kefir-grains. Make sure not to fill the bottle more than approx. 90% with kefir grains + solution. Squeeze the bottle with one hand until the liquid reaches the rim. While holding the bottle with one hand [while still squeezing], place and secure the lid tightly with the other hand. The bottle should be left with little to no air gap. This procedure leaves the plastic bottle slightly distorted due to a partial vacuum. This is performed so as any CO2 gas is produced during transit, the pressure expands the bottle, forcing it back to its uniform state, and not cause the bottle to bulge out due to excessive pressure. This simple procedure reduces the potential risk of excessive pressure buildup during transit.

Preparing Translucent Water-Kefir-Grains or Traditional Sugary Kefir Grains [SKG]

The method explained above may be implemented for shipping fresh translucent Sugary kefir grains [SKG], only if shipping does not exceed 10 days. When shipping SKG, the preferred medium for shipping is prepared with a solution of water and sugar [not whey or dairy milk]. About 2 tsp of sugar [sucrose] to 250 ml [1 cup] of water, plus 3 tbs of translucent SGK has worked well. An alternative medium may be prepared with 2 tsp of molasses with 250 ml of water. The latter solution produces less CO2 gas, which is favourable by reducing pressure buildup during transit.

NOTES: SkG should remain viable when shipped fresh, as explained above, for up to 10 days at ambient temperature.


For milk kefir-grains only

Milk Kefir-Grains may be shipped in a partially dehydrated state. This is useful when shipping time may exceed 5 days.

To partially dehydrate [PD] kefir grains, place the grains in a strainer and rinse with Chlorine-free clean COLD water to remove protein deposits from the surface of the grains. Alternatively, the grains may be placed in a bowl filled with fresh cold water and the grains are gently stirred to remove protein deposits from the surface of each grain. Pour the contents into a strainer to drain away the water and recover the washed grains. Gently pat-dry the grains by placing between a sheet of paper or cotton toweling. Finally, place the grains between two sheets of thin cloth or paper toweling. Keep in a warm spot with good ventilation and let dry at room temperature for 24 hours. Mix 2 parts by volume of *dry milk powder [DMP] with 1 part PD kefir grains. The PD kefir grains + DMP mixture is placed in a ziplock plastic bag and shipped in this state. Kefir grains shipped in this state will remain viable for approx. 2 months, depending on the extent of dehydration [the drier the grains, the longer they will store].
I use an electric-driven heat controllable food dehydrator to partially dehydrate kefir grains. Dehydrating at 25°C [77°F] for approx. 2 hours [until the outer-surface of the grains dehydrate]. This is performed so that the DMP does not adhere to the surface of the grains and to reduce water content.

Any form of dry milk powder may be used i.e. full cream or non fat, cow or goat's milk etc.

NOTES This shipping method was investigated by a Professor of Microbiology, Professor J. M. Schneedorf, who at the time was researching kefir at the University of Alfenas, Brazil. The parcel took about 2 weeks to reach the Professor by post. The grains were healthy and grew well in his laboratory. He also found that there was no evidence of any microbes, yeasts or molds cultivable from the actual DMP removed from the grains, after 4 days culturing under laboratory conditions.

This was likely due to initially sterilizing the DMP, before mixed with par dry kefir grains. Sterilization was performed by toasting DMP in a hot iron skillet for 3 minutes [while continuously stirring the DMP]. Rapid cooling the sterile DMP to ambient temperature and then mixing the DMP with par dry kefir grains. The mixture was placed in a ziplock plastic bag and posted by regular airmail.


Instructions for Dehydrating Milk Kefir-Grains

To fully dehydrate kefir grains, place the grains in a strainer and wash with Chlorine-free clean COLD water, to remove protein deposits from the surface of the grains. Alternatively, the grains may be placed in a bowl filled with fresh water and the grains are gently stirred to remove protein deposits from the surface of each grain. Pour the contents into a strainer to drain the water and recover the washed grains. Gently pat-dry the grains by placing the grains on a sheet of paper or cotton toweling. Finally, place the grains between two sheets of thin cloth or paper toweling. Keep in a warm spot with good ventilation and dry at room temperature.

The grains should be dried until they become hard and yellow in colour. This may take between one to five days, depending on temperature, humidity and size of the grains. Dehydrated kefir grains remain viable for up to 1 to 1-1/2 years if placed in a sealed container stored in the fridge [do not freeze]. I recommend adding *dry milk powder, adding enough to cover the grains, which will aid in preserving the dehydrated kefir grains more effectively.

Dehydrated kefir grains can be placed in a ziplock plastic bag, ready for postage.

*Any form of dry milk powder may be used i.e. full-cream or non fat, cow or goat's milk etc.

Instructions for Dehydrating Water Kefir-Grains

Dehydrate an amount of water kefir-grains, by first rinsing the grains with fresh clean cold water. Place the grains on a sheet of white cotton or linen toweling and leave to dry in a well ventilated area. The grains should shrink to app 1/2 the original size and have the texture and appearance of large sugar crystals. Dehydration should take between 1 to 3 days, depending on size of the grains, temperature and humidity. The grains should remain viable in a dehydrated state, for at least 6 months.

PART 2 [For the recipient]


For culturing both milk-based and water-based kefir grains

Pour the contents of the bottle into a strainer and strain to separate the grains from the liquid [whey, milk or sugar-water media]. Discard the strained solution then follow the directions for culturing milk-kefir explained on the web here:

or the link below regarding directions for preparing water-kefir on the web:

Alternatively, directions explained below may be followed regarding culturing water-kefir [under "Activating dehydrated water kefir-grains"]


Place the grains in one cup of fresh milk and leave in a partially sealed jar, for 24 hour at room temperature. Strain and renew the milk daily, whether or not the milk coagulates. Anywhere within four to seven days, the 24 hour batches of kefir should begin to smell sour but clean and the milk should start to coagulate within 24 hours.

NOTES: When activating dehydrated milk-based kefir grains, for the first few days the culture-product may go through some unusual stages regarding producing an unusual aroma and appearance. An overgrowth of yeast is likely to occur during the first 3 - 4 batches. This may be evident as a layer of froth or foam forming on the surface of the milk. This should settle down as consecutive batches are prepared. This foaming is mostly due to initial friendly yeast overgrowth. Within 5 - 7 days, the yeast and bacterial components should find a workable and desirable balance between the two components, to produce a kefir without excess yeast activity. When the kefir begins to have a clean sour smell, with an aroma resembling fresh yeast [or beer-like], the grains have then reached a workable or desirable state of balance. From this point on, the kefir may be consumed for its appealing flavour and consistency.

Under some circumstances, activation period may take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. So perseverance with a little patience is required during this period. The grains should commence growth within 3 to 4 weeks. Within this time frame the grains should become white and slimy [the slime factor of propagable kefir grains], which is an indication that the grains have begun to grow. After the fifth week, any yellow or pinkish-brown grains should be removed and discarded. This should provide enough time for any slow to activate grains, a chance to awaken and begin propagation.

Please read FAQ 38 for further details regarding reactivating dehydrated milk-kefir grains, explained on the web here:


In an 8-cup glass jar, dissolve 4 to 6 tbs of cane sugar in 4 cups of cold fresh water. Add a slices of lemon and add the dehydrated sugary kefir-grains. Place a tight lid on the jar and let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or until the solution is bubbly with a slightly sweet flavour. If too sweet let sit for 24 hours or longer. Strain the brew, rinse the grains with cold water and repeat the process for the next batch.

On the following batch use 6 to 8 cups water and 1/2 cup raw sugar, 1 tsp black strap molasses, 1/8 tsp pure baking soda [sodium bicarbonate] and a slice of lemon. It is also a very good idea to include about 1/4 tsp of eggshell ground to a course grit. You can use the shell of a boiled egg, but if the egg is fresh, then sterilize the eggshell with boiling hot water before use. This recipe gives best grain growth, for the calcium is used by organisms as it disolves into solution. This also provides the consumer with with calcium and magnesium that is very well assimilated [highly bio-available].

NOTES: The grains should commence propagation [begin to increase] within the first two weeks. As consecutive batches of water kefir are cultured, the beverage should be ready within 48 hours thereafter. The grains should be reasonably translucent. If the grains begin to go brown in colour, loose transparency, and reduce in over size [of each grain], rinse the grains well under a stream of cold tap water, then place the grains in a sugar-solution, explained above. Then store the jar in the fridge for 3 days. Strain, rinse the grains with cold water and commence brewing at room temperature with fresh ingredients. Dry fruit, such as one dry fig or dry sultanas or raisins, may be included after the first week. Slices of fresh apple, strawberries including a variety of fresh fruits may substitute or be included with lemon.

DO NOT INCLUDE FRESH FRUIT JUICE OF ANY TYPE. If you want to ferment fresh fruit juice, add the juice to the strained water kefir and let stand at room temperature for secondray fermentation. Sugary kefir-grains do not like fresh fruit juice, and they shall end up not ever growing.

This webpage takes 4 to 5 pages to print on sheets of A4 paper.

This document resides on the Internet here:

Other Web Pages of Interest Published by the Author

About Milk Kefir + Water Kefir | Making Milk Kefir & Water Kefir + Recipes with Kefir | Cheese Making, Sourdough Pizza + Bread made with Kefir

Kefirkraut + Culturing Vegetables with Kefir Grains | Preserving Food with Kefir | Nutritional and Chemical Composition of Milk Kefir | Kefir FAQs

Seed, Nut + Soy Milk Recipes + Kefir & Viili made from these + Rejuvelac | Nutritional Value of Different Fresh Milk-Types | Culture-Foods of Asia

Kombucha & Vinegar Making | Cooking Tip for Better Tasting Food & Healthier Herbal Tea | Beeswax Lined Utensils for Safer Brewing

Dom's ToothSaving Paste | Cod Liver Oil Therapy for Common Ailments | How I Correctly Treated Ulcerative Colitis with Kefir Grains

Angelica's Story | Sandra & Dom's Art and Handcraft Work | My Music + About the Hammond Organ + Leslie Speaker Cabinet

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© Dominic N Anfiteatro 2002-2016

Edited February 21, 2016

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