Friday, January 17, 2014
Homemade Coconut Milk Kefir
I make my coconut milk kefir the easiest way possible. I learnt about it from a friend and went to get some regular milk kefir grains from a local place selling ferments. It turns out very delicious. And it is full of probiotics. Way more than the store bought kefirs. How do I know? I don't know exactly of course but the store bought ferments don't seem very alive to me. If you leave a store bought fermented food out, it doesn't seem to keep fermenting. This one - if you leave it out for a while lid tightly closed and then open it, you can hear from the fizzing sound that it has been hard at work fermenting. It looks alive, it bubbles and froths. But it tastes better than the store bought coconut kefirs in any case.
1 tbsp or more milk kefir grains (see below from where to find some)
1 cup (or more for more grains) coconut milk (buy full fat and additive free or make your own)
Here are the steps of making your own delicious probiotic kefir:
1. Obtain milk kefir grains. Google or online sources or find a local source (like your local Weston A. Price chapter) or a friend who has plenty to share.
2. If you are sensitive to cow's milk, rinse the grains well with filtered water (chlorine can kill them). In my experience it took a few batches to get all the cow milk out of the grains (if it completely ever leaves but my dairy allergy symptoms left after a few weeks of making batches all over an over again and I also rinsed the grains in the beginning in between the batches). People say aluminum strainer is not good to use in contact with the grains. Some say no metal at all but I have used stainless steel strainers, it has been fine. if you are worried about it, use a plastic or bamboo strainer.
3. Place the grains (about a tablespoon should be enough) in a glass jar and add about a cup of coconut milk. I use additive free coconut milk called Aroy-D. Be careful with coconut milks as they contain possibly gut harming additives like different gums as thickeners. You can also make your own coconut milk.
4. Cover the jar with a napkin or something similar (I use old napkins, they are the right size for a small jar) and put a string or rubber band around the jar's mouth to keep the cloth in place. Place on the counter or in a cupboard (keep several feet in between different ferments if you have other ferments in your kitchen, they might contaminate each other and weaken the grains or the other cultures like your kombucha scoby). (I have been told now an airlock jar would be great for the kefir too and I am in the process of trying it out.)
5. Let it ferment for 12 to 36, even 48 hours. Taste it to see if it is sour enough for you. If you have too many grains, the whey might separate from the creamy part. Try using less grains for that amount of coconut milk. Or add more coconut milk for the next batch. Or divide them in half and get two batches going. Or share with a friend. Note that the grains will start growing too at some point.
6. Strain the kefir and start a new batch with the grains (no need to rinse in between - unless you want to do so like I did in between the first few batches as I worried about the cow milk contamination).
7. Drink the kefir right away or store in the fridge. It starts to thicken in the fridge and can become solid in a few days. You can find new uses for it then.
TIP: Use the coconut milk kefir in puddings, smoothies, as a base of home made probiotic ice cream, in place of sour cream when thickened in the fridge, eat as a yoghurt with fruit and berries or with honey. You can also strain it through cheese cloth overnight in the fridge to make kefir cheese. My favorite is to eat the kefir with pomegranate seeds or any berries.