Kefir is a traditional eastern European drink that has become popular in Western culture for good reason! The word kefir comes from the Turkish word “Keif” meaning “good feeling”, for the sense of well-being experienced after drinking it. Kefir is full of good bacteria that can boost your immune system, correct digestive disorders, and even help heal food allergies.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat more fermented foods with good bacteria to help my body to continue to heal. I have been making kefir for a few months now and can’t imagine not drinking it! I love it’s tangy taste and am thrilled to be able to make it dairy-free with coconut milk. Coconut milk kefir has the characteristic delicious tang with a slight sweetness from the coconut milk. Since I currently don’t eat dairy, I love using kefir in smoothies, sourdough pancakes, breads, and more.
I was surprised at how easy it is to make coconut milk kefir at home. If you’ve never done it before, it can sound overwhelming. So here is a little step-by-step tutorial!
What you’ll need:
- 1 quart-size mason jar, very clean
- 1 packet of kefir starter (The starter is the probiotics that will “sour” the kefir)
Note: This kefir starter comes with 6 foil packets. After making the first batch of kefir with a foil packet of starter, you can use 6 tablespoons of kefir from the previous batch as a starter for a new batch. After 6 times of using 6 tablespoons of kefir from the previous batch as a starter, I use a fresh foil packet. So you should be able to get at least 36 batches of kefir from one box of starters.
- Plastic mason jar lids (You can use any lid, but I prefer plastic for kefir because metal could corrode from all the acids in the kefir)
- 2 cans of coconut milk (I use the brand Natural Value on Amazon because it is packed in BPA-free cans and contains only water and coconut)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Cooking thermometer
Start by pouring 1 packet of starter into a very clean, quart-sized container.
Combine both cans of coconut milk and the honey in a saucepan and heat lightly, until the mixture reaches 92 F. If you accidentally over-heat it (which I always do), just wait until the mixture cools to 92 degrees before adding it to the starter. If you don’t have a thermometer (which if possible, I recommend for this), 92 degrees is just barely luke-warm.
Pour the coconut milk into the jar and place the lid on. I don’t screw the lid all the way down so the gases have room to escape while the kefir is fermenting.
Now you just let the kefir sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. It should smell tangy when it’s done. After 24-48 hours, store it in the refrigerator. The layers of coconut milk and water will separate as it sits, just shake it all back together before serving.
My favorite way to drink kefir is to blend it up with some vanilla, frozen berries, and honey for a delicious and refreshing treat! It also tastes divine blended up with frozen mango.
If you aren’t used to drinking kefir, go slow when introducing it to your body. Start with a small amount to see how well you tolerate and work your way up to more. Enjoy!