Make homemade kefir from plant-based milk like soy milk or almond milk. Try this simple three-step process to get all the benefits of probiotics without drinking dairy.
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How To Make Homemade Kefir from Plant-Based Milk
If there’s one thing that’s made a difference in my family’s health, it’s drinking Homemade Kefir daily for over 2 years now. Kefir has probably cured my 10-year old’s seasonal allergies, (she hasn’t had a headache or itchy eyes since she was 8.) And my kids seem to be sick less often than their classmates.
I’ve become a bit of a kefir crusader. I tell all my friends and family: drink kefir to improve your immunity. And then I share my kefir ‘grains’ with them:
- My 74-year old aunt drinks over 2 cups of Homemade Kefir a day and says she hasn’t been sick once this winter. She thinks her arthritis bothers less.
- My neighbor thinks her husband’s tummy ‘troubles’ may have gotten better.
- And my sister-in-law thought Homemade Kefir “boosted” her immunity – and made her smoothies taste delicious.
Read more here: 3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Gut Health Right Now.
To see How to Make Homemade Kefir, you can watch my VIDEO on Facebook LIVE.
My kids drink a shot-glass-full of kefir daily – to get all the benefits of nearly 20 different probiotic strains/cultures. (Yogurt generally contains only 4-6 probiotic strains.) We like this recipe. But most importantly, making homemade kefir is a simple two-step process. So I actually do it. Basically, just leave a cup of milk out on the counter overnight – with kefir grains (starters) in it – and the next day your kefir is ready.
While crusading about kefir, I’ve had friends ask:
- Can you use plant-based milk to make kefir?
- Can you make soy milk kefir? Or rice milk or almond milk kefir?
So after a little research on my particular milk kefir grains, I tried it out.
The answer is yes. Once you get going, it’s a simple three-step process (instead of a two-step process). It's easy: Make Homemade Kefir with Plant-Based Milk #Soymilk #Almondmilk #Probiotics #HealthyKitchenHacks via @TspCurry Click To Tweet
One important note: This process requires the use of some dairy milk to keep your kefir grains healthy and thriving to use again and again, but you will NOT drink dairy milk. So if you’re dealing with a severe dairy allergy, this may not be for you. If you’re dealing with a dairy intolerance, you should be golden, especially since the probiotics in kefir help your gut deal with any traces of dairy.
Order milk kefir grains. I used the Yemoos brand mentioned here. Follow the careful instructions included in your kefir kit to get your milk kefir grains going in dairy. Once your grains are going strong in dairy milk, follow these steps:
Step 1. Ferment in plant-based milk – Using a plastic fork, over a clean bowl, rinse your kefir grains in a bit of distilled water (not chlorinated tap water) to wash off dairy milk. Then simply drop in a clean glass jar and cover with about 4 ounces of soy or almond milk (you could try other milks, but I tested soy and almond.) Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm place in like on the counter above your dishwasher. Kefir grains love a kitchen of about 70-degrees.
Step 2. The kefir is done – After 24 hours, you soy or almond milk should have a thicker consistency and you should be able to see a bit of curdling as above. It may or may not be the consistency of drinkable yogurt. It should smell tangy. If it separates into a watery liquid and a thicker liquid like this photo, you may have over-fermented your kefir. It’s fine to drink (or use in baking as a substitute for buttermilk) but you have stressed the kefir grains, so don’t leave on the counter so long next time.
Step 3. Care for your kefir grains – Using a plastic spoon (or strain through a plastic strainer) fish out your kefir grains (the blob in above photo) and rinse with distilled water over a clean bowl. (Grains may be damaged if touched by metal, so use plastic, glass, or wood utensils/bowls.) Drop grains in a clean jar and cover with about 4 ounces of full-fat whole dairy milk. Place in the refrigerator to feed for 2-3 days. (Milk kefir grains are nourished by dairy milk proteins and lactose sugars.) Then start again at Step #1. OR, if you have a dairy-loving friend, start at the beginning of Step #3, but don’t refrigerate the dairy milk, instead, set it on the counter for 24 hours to make dairy kefir as demonstrated here; fermenting in dairy milk will also nourish your grains.
Above is a photo of dairy (white) kefir fermented next to a jar of soy milk kefir (tan-colored). You can see the dairy kefir is thicker. But the soy and almond milk kefirs are certainly thicker than regular soy/almond milk and taste pleasantly tangy.
Would you ever try making homemade kefir? Let me know what questions you have!
Friday 22nd of March 2019
When I took an allergy test from my naturopath it showed that I have a moderate dairy intolerance. Would you say I should try the dairy version of this or skip it and do plant/nut based?
Friday 22nd of March 2019
Stefanie - I would try the dairy first. Once you remove dairy from your diet, it's really hard to get tolerance from dairy back. (And it's a big pain to always have to avoid dairy in everything. Plus dairy nutrition is tough to duplicate.) The kefir probiotics do help to break down some of the sugars in dairy. Also, try a2 Milk to make this. (And try a2 Milk to drink). A2 Milk has a2 proteins instead of a1 proteins which some people can be intolerant to. a2 Milk is regular milk from regular cows - the cows that produce it produce a2 protein-milk (instead of a1 protein milk) - it's a simple genetic thing - just like people have either blue eyes or brown eyes. Find a2 Milk in the dairy aisle of regular supermarkets.
Saturday 12th of May 2018
I wanted to try making kefir with plant protein milk (pea). I have made dairy kefir for over a year, but I’m trying to go dairy free to see if it will clear up some skin issues. My grains are well established and I don’t want to stress them. How often should I refresh them in dairy milk when making kefir with pea milk?
Sunday 13th of May 2018
I have not made kefir with pea milk. But give it a shot! I will say that I could tell that making kefir in plant-based milk did stress my milk grains. So I refreshed them in dairy milk every single time before I started a new batch of plant-based milk. I refreshed in dairy milk in the refrigerator overnight or refreshed by making a new batch of dairy kefir on the counter, or both. I still do this. Your grains may be heartier than mine - but I also know I don't want my little grain guys to die!
Sunday 18th of March 2018
I am making today and cant wait to try it out!
Monday 19th of March 2018
Great! How did it turn out Madeline? (:
Maria | halsanutrition.com
Sunday 11th of March 2018
I'm a lifelong kefir/cultured-milk fan--but have never tried making it! And I love the idea of making a non-dairy version. (I'm currently on a homemade almond-hazelnut milk kick).
Sunday 11th of March 2018
Oh! Let me know if you make it Maria! I'm curious, did your mom culture milk? Or did she buy kefir from the store? (: