Coconut Milk Kefir
Yiy, what a week. I’m certainly glad last week has passed and we’re on to greener pastures. Halloween was fun though. We took the kids to my mom and dad in-law’s neighborhood to do some hardcore trick-or-treating. The kids filled their buckets to overwhelmingly full and we all got a brisk walk in the cold air. Cold air is highly motivating and will wake you right up! After that, I was ready for the long drive back to my mom’s farm for the weekend while the kids got to stay here with my husband’s parents. Judging by the look on my dad in-law’s face when we arrived back to pick the kids up on Sunday, I’m pretty certain they went to bed early and slept like the dead. Watching three kiddos will do that to you!
After posting a recipe for water kefir last week, I promised I’d post this recipe soon for all of you on how to make coconut milk kefir. You can use this exact same method for regular dairy milk kefir too. Just use dairy milk instead of the coconut milk. Traditional kefir made with dairy milk, can often be found in larger supermarkets but I have yet to see any retail version of coconut milk kefir. Kefir is a probiotic beverage consisting of an incredibly healthy blend of beneficial yeast and bacteria. Both water kefir and milk kefirs have similar health benefits as their probiotic strains are very similar but not identical. Coconut milk or dairy milk kefir is actually easier to make than water kefir as you don’t have to add any sugar to the milk prior to culturing. It’s literally a two ingredient thing – either coconut milk or dairy milk and milk kefir grains. Milk kefir grains look a lot like chunks of cottage cheese:
To make the kefir, pour 1 can of coconut milk (or 1 pint of dairy milk) into a mason jar. Add 1 teaspoon of milk kefir grains and cover jar with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Secure the filter in place with the metal jar ring or a rubber band. When choosing coconut milk to use, it should be the canned variety (not the beverage that comes in a carton in the dairy case). The coconut milk should contain only coconut, water, and guar gum. Guar gum is optional and is okay as it doesn’t affect the culturing process but any other additives will cause it to not culture properly. Once you’ve covered your jar, let it culture at room temperature 12-24 hours.
I like mine a little more tangy so I go for a full 24 hours. It should have a tangy, slightly sour taste like that of a plain Greek yogurt but runnier. While it’s culturing, it will thicken and may separate. I find that dairy milk kefir will often have the whey separated at the bottom of the jar. This is totally fine. Just stir it back in. After culturing is complete, strain the grains out with a plastic mesh strainer. No need to rinse your grains between batches. You can start a new batch right away or if you wish to take a break from making kefir, you can place the grains in another jar covered with dairy milk (yes, even if you do coconut milk kefir it needs to be stored in dairy milk to keep refreshed). These little guys will keep in the fridge for several weeks before needing to change the milk or begin another batch. After 3-4 weeks, I would either start another batch of kefir or at least strain and add new milk to keep your kefir grains happy. If properly cared for, they can last indefinitely. Note, if you wish to keep it dairy free for the new batch of coconut milk kefir, be sure to rinse your stored kefir grains in water before adding them to your new batch of coconut milk kefir.
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon milk kefir grains
- Add coconut milk and kefir grains to a mason jar or other similar glass container.
- Stir gently.
- Cover jar with cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with jar ring or rubber band.
- Let this sit at room temperature to culture for 12-24 hours until desired tanginess.
- Strain kefir grains out with a plastic mesh strainer and reserve for new batch (or store in dairy milk for up to 4 weeks in fridge. Strain and rinse before adding to new batch).
- Store coconut milk kefir in fridge for up to 2 weeks.