You may have heard of milk kefir, the cousin to water kefir. While their processes are very similar, the grains are different. Water kefir grains do not respond to dairy, and milk grains do not respond to non-dairy alternatives. Milk kefir tends to be a bit thicker (like drinkable yogurt), and while still delicious, does not lend well to a second ferment the way that water kefir does, nor is it vegan. We do, however, love the creaminess of dairy, especially moving towards the colder months, and sometimes it is nice having a creaminess to our smoothies, without the heaviness of yogurt but with all of the probiotic punch!
NUT MILK KEFIR RECIPE
MAKES: about 4 cups
1/4 cup water kefir grains
4 cups of almond, oat or nut milk of choice
INSTRUCTIONS FOR FIRST FERMENT:
- Mix your water kefir grains and milk into your jar.
- Close the lid and leave in a warm place for 24-48 hours.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SECOND FERMENT:
- After 24 hours, strain out your grains, rinse them under the tap really well and put them into a glass jar. (I usually transfer my fermented milk to another bottle and use the fermentation jar)
- Add water to the jar and stick it into the fridge. The grains will go into dormancy and can sit in your fridge for up to 3 months before being fed again.
- Add your desired flavourings to your fermented milk and store immediately in the refrigerator. You can either blend fresh fruit into your kefir, or simply pop a few pieces of your favourites into the ferment for a lighter touch of flavour.
- After 24 hours, remove your grains, and add pieces of your favourite fresh fruits, and a touch of honey or agave.
- Close the lid and allow to ferment on the counter for another 24 hours in an airtight container. This process will infuse the kefir with fruit flavor AND add a slightly tangy effervescence to your brew!
What flavours do you enjoy in your yogurt? Those flavours will all lend beautifully to these brews of your fermented nut milk.
NEED TO KNOW:
If using a standard brand of milk (like Silk unsweetened almond milk), you can expect the ferment to be a little thicker, and it will remain more emulsified during the ferment due to the presence of binding and thickening agents. This will yield something more similar to a milk kefir or sipping yogurt.
If using a natural/organic milk (We like Earth’s Own unsweetened almond), you will expect to have a ferment that is not quite as thick as its counterpart, which can be nice and refreshing, and lends well to straight forward fruit flavouring. The one thing to remember with all natural plant milks is that without the presence of binding/thickening agents, you may experience some separation during the ferment. This is absolutely normal, and does not effect the flavour or probiotic content. Simply give your fermented nut milk a little shake to emulsify before drinking!
You can substitute plant milk kefir in many recipes that call for milk for additional flavour and a great probiotic boost!