Milk kefir is a drink my daughters and I have most days, and is a fabulous way to get tonnes of living probiotics into your day, before you leave the house.
I love sharing my hacks to a more energetic life – and obviously probiotic drinks are one aspect to that. Of course, there are other pillars like movement, sunshine, love, relationships, purpose and meaning, nutrition… and when those are in balance, we can find that life fills up with health.
So, as an adjunct to your healthy lifestyle, I’d love to introduce you to Milk Kefir.
It’s a totally different drink and culture to water kefir, and needs a different type of fermenting.
Milk kefir is a secret weapon in my breakfast choices, and has totally helped calm my little gut down.
It’s actually a perfect drink for any time of the day – breakfast smoothie with your favourite fruit, after lunch as a digestive aid and with dinner as a delicious and nutritious drink – think of pairing it like a mango lassi – but instead it’s got none of the sugar and all the probiotics.
Milk kefir is tangy, slightly effervescent fermented probiotic drink.
It’s made by taking a teaspoon of milk kefir culture (get yours here) and simply adding it to some warmed milk – either dairy or coconut milk or any nut milk.
The milk kefir culture will convert the milk of your choice, through a lactic acid fermentation into a tangy, fizzy, living probiotic drink for you to then enjoy.
In fact, it’s often referred to as “Milk Champagne” because of its fizz.
This is what happened when I opened a bottle of milk keifr, and it was unexpectedly fizzy:
The milk kefir grains can be used repeatedly and will continue to grow, so that you can start to make bigger and bigger batches.
Yep, this isn’t one of those cultures that you need to keep buying from me – once you have your culture (get yours here) you can continue to make milk kefir indefinitely.
In my book, Probiotic Drink at Home there’s a chapter dedicated to milk kefir, including:
- all the stages of its fermentation cycles
- how to achieve different consistencies (from runny yoghurt to thick like sour cream)
- how to care for your milk kefir grains
- how to split and reuse the milk kefir grains
- in-depth fermentation guidelines
- a bunch of recipes
- Plus, another 200 pages dedicated to other types of fermentation!
10 REASONS I THINK YOU SHOULD DRINK MILK KEFIR
1. Amazing for overall gut health! The living and diverse range of probiotics in the milk kefir make it an incredible win for anyone’s gut. In fact, a study in BMC Immunology in 2008 states that the consumption of fermented milk, either during breastfeeding or by the child after weaning resulted in an increase in the number of Bifidobacteria in the gut and a decrease in the number of Enterobacteria and Closridium.
2. It’s extremely cheap! Once you have the culture, (the milk kefir grains) you can continue to re-use them and they will grow, making this an extremely cheap probiotic drink to have at home.
3. It’s very easy to ferment, and the culture is very resilient, meaning there is very little change of getting it wrong – perfect if you want a quick solution to your fermenting needs.
4. The finished milk kefir product can be made into a whole range of milk kefir products, including cultured cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese and more!
5. It contains almost zero sugar, making this a perfect drink to make any time of the day, without packing on the weight!
6. Milk kefir contains multiple probiotics and a broad range of probiotics, making it a very cheap living probiotic you can have everyday, therefore saving you tonnes of money.
7. It’s delicious and can be made sweet or savoury, depending on your vibe. For a sweet version, add summer fruits like berries, mangos, bananas. For savoury, add some salt and mint (heaps of recipes in my book, Probiotic Drinks at Home)
8. Perfect for people who are lactose (dairy) intolerant. The milk kefir can be cultured in nut milk or coconut milk. Plus, if you want to use dairy milk, the milk kefir grains will actually pre-digest the lactose in the dairy milk, making some people better able to tolerate this milk.
9. Being a living probiotic, it contains all the immune boosting, mood enhancing, skin loving benefits you would expect that come hand in hand with good gut health. I have written about this in more detail here, here and here.
10. It naturally contains a range of other acids, which are beneficial for your health. A study from the International Journal of Food Microbiology in 2006 listed other products formed during the fermentation process, including lactic acid, acetic acid and pyruvic acid and other acids – all great for your gut and digestion.
You can get your milk kefir culture from here.
In addition, I have put together a free comprehensive FREE Ebook that has heaps of information you will need, plus some recipes. You can get that here.
Check out this in depth video teaching you how to make milk kefir.
The first 15 minutes are explaining why I think gut health is the key to overall health and wellness. The teaching about how to make milk kefir starts at around 15:12, so scroll forward to that if you like.
HOW TO MAKE BASIC MILK KEFIR
– Extract from my book, Probiotic Drinks at Home.
Basic milk kefir
The finished milk kefir should be tangy, as well as a little zingy and tart. You may be able to feel some texture, which is the clusters of milk fats, yeasts and bacteria. It’s perfectly normal for some separation to occur – this is the curds and whey becoming apparent. If this happens, simply shake the jar to mix it together. I choose to add cream to my milk kefir to make it thick and creamy, but it’s completely optional.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3–72 hours
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 5 days
Makes: 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) full-cream (whole) milk
3 tablespoons thin (pouring)
2 teaspoons milk kefir grains
Pour the milk and cream, if using, into a saucepan. Gently warm, without boiling, to body temperature – around 36.5°C (98°F) or when you can comfortably leave your (clean!) finger in the milk for about 10 seconds.
Put the milk kefir grains in a 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide- mouth glass jar. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir well. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.
Place the jar in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and leave the liquid to ferment for 3–72 hours, depending on
the temperature and the texture of milk kefir you prefer (see page 67). Agitate the mixture as frequently as you
can to reincorporate the milk kefir grains into the milk.
Sit a strainer over a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) bowl. Pour the milk kefir through the strainer so the liquid runs into the bowl and the thicker milk kefir is left in the strainer. Using a spatula, gently push the thicker milk kefir through the strainer into the bowl. The milk kefir grains will remain intact in the strainer. Set them aside to re-use or rest (see page 68).
Pour the milk kefir into a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid and screw on the lid.
Store the milk kefir in the fridge and enjoy cold.