Classic Kefir 101: Milk and Coconut Water Kefir for Beginners

"What's a Kefir?," I thought as I pushed my shopping cart through the organic section of my local grocery store. I have to admit that, due to the Kefir bottles location next to organic Greek yogurts, I thought it was just another brand of yogurt! So I ignored the sweetened, prettily packaged bottles of Kefir for a long time. Boy am I sorry! I could've been pouring that into my family since last winter!  Oh well, I'm onto it now like there is no tomorrow!

Sooooo,what the heck is Kefir!? It is fermented milk with some darn important strains of healthy bacteria, pro-biotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in them which assist in healing all the damage we have wreaked on our digestive systems! For more info, read here.

What can Kefir help? The ingredients in Kefir can help with many immune and inflammatory diseases, the likes of asthma, allergies, gut disorders, weight control and more. Check it out.

Want more recipes like this? Check out our other "Cultured Foods 101" posts:

Let's ‘grow’ our own Kefir!

What you will need:

  • Quart jar, washed with hot soapy water and dried
  • 4 cups (1 quart) milk or coconut water (Try to find organic if possible, or whole, low-fat, goat, almond or soy will do as well. See, everybody can be a Kefir-quaffer! You can even do goat's milk, but we are sticking to the basics here.)
  • 1 pkg Kefir starter. Buy at your local health food store, or order here, or here.
  • Pot, washed and dried
  • Whisk, washed and dried
  • Food Thermometer, washed and dried (Stating the obvious, but this is kefir 101!)

Ready, set, here we go!

  • Pour your milk in the pan on the stove set at med-high.
  • Stirring constantly, don't let it boil!
  • Place your food thermometer in the milk, but be careful not to not let it touch the bottom.
  • Once the temperature reaches around 92 degrees, remove from heat.
  • Now stir in culture packet, and whisk until dissolved.
  • Pour into your glass jar, put the lid on tightly, and leave it alone!
  • Let it ferment at room temp (72-75 degrees) for 18-24 hours. 

When you check your milk Kefir then, it will have a "spoonable" consistency,and a distinct "sour" fragrance.

Finally, you can shake the jar and place into the fridge, where it will keep fermenting at a slower pace, and you can begin enjoying it!

Toss it in your smoothies, on cereal, oatmeal, cobbler, pie, or dips. I basically toss it in recipes or dishes that would call for sour cream and yogurt, mayo, milk, half and half....you get the idea.  My family is none the wiser, but hopefully, all the healthier!

For the coconut Kefir, open the lid after 24 hours, and you should see and hear a fizzzzzzz!

Upon a test taste, it should have some bubbles and carbonation. If no fizz yet, then screw that lid back on, and check in another 24 hours until it is bubbly and delicious!  Drink with fresh fruit squeezed in it, and substitute this wonder drink when you are craving that afternoon pop or caffeine fix.  Trust me, your body will thank you, and eventually you will begin to crave your daily sip and fizz!

I honestly couldn't tell you which one I enjoy the most...milk kefir for breakfast with chia seeds and berries, or my coconut kefir in the afternoon, which was just plain by itself! YUM!

We will share some of our fav recipes with Kefir in upcoming posts, and explain how we second ferment! So go order your culture starter packs and get on board with us!

Fab Photography by Shannon Kaye Photography!     

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What are you using your Kefir in or on?  Can you see some health improvements in yourself or your family?  Send us your Kefir story to lauren@campmakery.com