6/8/20 ~ Good bacteria are linked to immunity; Kefir has five times more strains of good bacteria than yogurt; and, the first person to put bacteria together with immunity was Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov.

Mechnikov, a Russian born in 1845, was interested in natural science even as a child. His interest was so strong that when he went to University he competed a four year Natural Science course in two years, because of his dedication and hard work.

At 23 he met his first wife who suffered from tuberculosis so badly that she had to be carried to church for their wedding. Despite his every effort to save her, she died five years later, leaving him so heartbroken he tried to take his own life.

Two years later he met his second wife who contracted severe typhoid fever. Although she did not die, Mechnikov once again became extremely depressed but this time he decided to do a life threatening experiment on himself, rather than out and out trying to kill himself. Again, he survived.

In 1882, in his own private laboratory, he observed mobile cells in the larvae of starfish which he thought might be part of starfish’s defenses. To test his idea he put into the starfish larvae small thorns from a tangerine tree set up as a Christmas tree for his children. Next day he saw that mobile cells had surrounded the thorns. This led to his discovery of phagocytosis, the ingestion of bacteria or other material by phagocytes.

In 1902 he pubished, Immunity in infectious diseases, and in 1908 was awarded, together with Paul Ehrlich, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

discovered the phenomenon of phagocytosis with which his name remains associated.

Yogurt and kefir were little known in the West until the early 1900s, when Russian biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov

speculated that a yogurt-rich diet sparked the remarkable longevity of Bulgarian peasants. His zeal for friendly bacteria prompted him to drink sour milk every day. Today, probiotics are a multi-billion dollar industry.

I’m keen to strengthen my immune system, so I’m making Kefir.

But, making Kefir may not be for me. The straining part is where I fade. The people who say Kefir is easier to make than yogurt because you don’t need to heat the milk, don’t mention the straining drama. Or, maybe they have a secret I have yet to learn.

You see, to make Kefir you need “Kefir grains”. They are lumps that resemble cottage cheese curds. (So, why they aren’t they called Kefir curds?)

Getting started

  1.  Glass wide mouth Mason jar, 32 oz, is great.
  2.  Lid. I bought fermenter tops to let the gases out. If you use a tight seal, then you get Kefir with a bit of fizz.
  3.  Kefir grains.
  4.  For milk Kefir you need to use mammal milk, i.e. not almond milk, coconut milk, etc. Powdered milk works.

Put your Kefir grains into your milk filed Mason jar, cover, put in a relatively warm spot… room temperature of 67* to 79* works. (I haven’t tried colder or warmer.)

Stir every few hours.

When whey begins to separate you can either continue stirring in, or strain for a mild Kefir.


This is where my enthusiasm fades.

Using my strainer from making Kombucha, in 3-4 minutes not even a 1/16th of an inch of my Kefir had passed through the strainer.