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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It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.
Now…onto today’s featured Healthy Kitchen Hacks:
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.
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!