Kefir Cheese Experiments

We had lots of jars of left-over kefir lurking in the fridge. I decided that the time had come to try some interesting cheese experiments. My goal was to make a dry “parmesan”-style grating cheese as well as a piece of hard kefir cheese to coat with wax and age in the fridge.

Dry Parmesan-style grating cheese

I started off the cheese making process by straining the kefir through a fine cotton cloth. After 24 hours, I put the whey in a jar to use for making lacto-fermented vegetables, soaking grains etc. The remaining curd was nice and thick. I mixed some sea salt into the curd until it had a nice salty savoury taste.

Next, I had to find a way to press the curd. After some deliberation and assessment of equipment options, I ended up wrapping my little pattie of curd in a piece of muslin and putting it in the bottom of a colander. I used an inverted saucer as a chaser to press down on the curd. After trying several different weights, I settled on a plastic bag full of water. This makeshift cheese press didn’t look very pretty, but 24 hours later I was pleased to find that the curd looked pretty well pressed.

Experiment One: Dry Parmesan-Style Grating Cheese
I broke the pressed curd into small pieces (roughly one inch cubes) and set them to dry on a wooden cheese board on the bench. I have to admit that certain two-legged rats in this household (Kevin and I!) found these little cubes of curd quite tasty and had trouble leaving them uneaten on the bench. I turned the pieces each morning to ensure that they would dry on all sides. I also wiped them every couple of days with a cotton cloth dipped in salt water. This was to stop any mold from growing on the surface of the cheese before it could dry completely. After about a week, the pieces of curd had dried all the way through. They were very hard and smelled very cheesy and pungent! I ground them up in the food processor and mixed the resulting powder with beaten eggs to make stracciatella soup. Kevin and I both found this delicious, but if you are looking for a mild cheese experience I advise you to look elsewhere! We have wrapped the leftover bits of cheese in paper lunch wrap, and are storing them in a jar in the fridge.

Experiment Two: Aged Kefir Cheese
For this cheese, I left the pressed curd in a big piece. I dried it on the cheese board for a few days, turning it and wiping it with salt water to keep the surface clean. Once the surface had hardened up a bit, I coated it with cheese wax and transferred it to the fridge to age. We are planning to let this cheese age for at least a few weeks before trying it, so I can’t yet tell you what we think of it! I’ll be sure to report on the outcome when the time comes.

Please note: I have extra kefir grains if anyone would like some. They are free to anyone who can pick them up from Kaitaia. I charge to ship them to other parts of New Zealand.

13 Responses to “Kefir Cheese Experiments”

  1. Johanna says:

    What a great idea Rebecca. Very keen to try making kefir parmesan, especially. It sounds like a brilliantly simple and elegant method. (Although I suspect we would have problems with rather large rats as well.) Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Kylie says:

    Mmmm I must try this next time I have kefir overflow 🙂

  3. Michelle says:


    where I can get kefir grains in Auckland? many thanks

  4. Pip says:

    Hi Rebecca I have been reading your website for some time now and find it so inspiring. I would love to get my hands on some of your kefir grains if you still have any to spare. I am in Kaitaia on Tuesday (21st October) or Friday (31st October). Anyway I live in Kerikeri so not too far away to meet you. Thanks for some great ideas (My husband and I are most interested in the bucket toilet!)

  5. Rebecca says:

    Hi All,
    @Michelle: Try the Auckland chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation or ask at a health food shop.
    @Pip: I’ve contacted you via email to arrange getting you some kefir grains.
    Thanks for the comments.

  6. Michelle says:

    many thanks

    I have found out a international community of Kefir,which shares a Kefir grains around the world. A friend help me to get it from WGN.


  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi Michelle,
    The international kefir community sounds fantastic. Do you have a link or email contact for it? I’m sure others might be interested as well.

  8. Wendy says:

    I would very much like some kefir grains and would be happy to pay to have them sent down to Christchurch

  9. Rebecca says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I’ll email you about this.

  10. Steve Bayliss says:

    Hate to sound too ignorant, but what is kefir?

  11. Rebecca says:

    Hi Steve,
    Sorry it has taken me so long to answer your question!
    Kefir is a cultured milk product made by adding kefir grains to your milk. The grains look rather like bits of badly overcooked cauliflower. In fact they are not really “grains” but a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts. The colony grows and propagates itself over time, so you end up with extra grains to share with others. Kefir is a powerful probiotic and health tonic, and can also be very tasty. Our little boy gobbles it down just as it is, but Kevin and I prefer to enjoy it in smoothies or as a cheese. There are also “water kefir grains” (also known as “sugar kefir”), which we use to make delicious and healthy homemade sodas.
    I hope this answer satisfies your curiosity somewhat!

  12. Keri says:

    Hi Rebecca

    I see this is an old post, but do you still have Kefir grains available? I live in Tauranga, and am about to get my first house cow on Friday, and will be embarking on kefir, cheese, yoghurt and butter making!


  13. Ann Bartley says:

    I have been following this blog for awhile. And I decided to try it. My question is: when I go to strain the kefir it takes days to drain and its so slimmy its really hard to deal with. Its been draining for 2 days now. The first 24 hours at room temp now its hanging in the fridge. I needed the counter space and its still too wet to even think about opening it to add salt or redress. I am wondering if I can ever press it.. Its like slimmy goo….. Is this normal? When can I expect it to firm up?
    Annie in Amargosa