Published on March 9th, 2020 | by Catherine Tingey0
DIY Coconut Milk Kefir
DIY Coconut Milk Kefir
Ever seen something in a store that was ridiculously expensive and thought, I can make that…?
Thanks to a $17 elixir I bought at, of course, Erehwon, I’ve become a kefir making expert.
I was fascinated by this beverage that made me feel instantly relaxed and reduced sugar cravings, so I set out to make my own.
But what is kefir and why is it truly an elixir?
Consumed for centuries by peoples in the Caucasus Mountains, Eastern Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia, kefir was originally made with goat’s milk.
There is very little written record of the origins of kefir, but the word is derived from the Turkish keyif, which means ‘feeling good’ after eating.
This may be due, in part, to the high tryptophan content in kefir which is also an ingredient in…turkey, and explains Thanksgiving food coma.
More history of the mysterious origins of kefir can be found here.
Teeming with live bacteria and often yeast, kefir is a cultured, probiotic drink.
‘Cultured’ means that it contains live microorganisms; however, not all foods which are cultured are considered probiotic.
Technically, in order for a food or supplement to be considered probiotic, it must contain a known bacteria that when consumed provides health benefits.
For example, sourdough bread, beer and wine undergo a fermentation process, but those bacteria and yeast are no longer present in the finished product. Therefore those foods wouldn’t be considered probiotic.
The most commonly known cultured food is yougurt.
Did you know that kefir has between 2 and 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) whereas yougurt has only about 10 million?
Kefir is a probiotic powerhouse.
These critters help maintain and repopulate our gut microbiome which has been called ‘the second brain’.
This is why consuming kefir on a regular basis can boost immunity, heal IBS, lower risk of diabetes, depression, hypertension and inflammation.
IMHO that makes it a superfood!
HOW TO MAKE IT
There are two ways of making kefir: 1) using kefir grains (more complicated as the grains need to be fed and maintained) or 2) use a powdered starter culture.
I’ve had the best luck using the starter culture method.
DIY COCONUT MILK KEFIR
- 1 Quart mason jar (4 C) , wide mouth is better
- Muslin, rubber band, maybe a heating pad
- 1/2 – 1 C Coconut Milk (regular or reduced fat)
- 3 – 3 1/2 C Coconut Water
- 1 Package Kefir starter cultures (powdered starter)
Depending on how creamy you like your drinks, add coconut milk and coconut water to mason jar.
[Start your first batch at 3:1 — 3 C coconut water, 1 C coconut milk.]
Stir in powered starter culture (4 packages come in 1 bag from Cultures for Health) until it dissolves.
Cover in muslin and rubber band. Stick thermometer through muslin.
The ideal temperature for culturing is around 72-74F. This will give you a nicely balanced kefir in about 24 hours.
*If you want more fermentation, increase heat to 80F for 24-36 hours. This will give a slightly fizzy kefir. Personally, I’m not a fan of this as it smells a bit off.
Rule of thumb: Heat speeds up the culturing process. If your house is below 70 degrees, it will take longer; warmer then it will take shorter. My house is cold in the winter so I binder clipped a heating pad at the lowest setting overnight.
How to know when your kefir is ‘done’?
When you remove the muslin, it will smell faintly tart. The coconut milk may have slightly curdled at the top of the jar.
Stir to integrate and taste a spoonful. It should no longer taste sweet, but will be creamy, coconuty and tart.
Cap and store in the refrigerator.
MAKING MORE (this the best part!)
Add 1/2 – 1 C of the finished kefir to a new jar.
Add desired ratio of coconut milk to water. Stir.
Do not add another starter culture packet as you’ve already added live cultures.
FLAVORING OPTIONS If you want to experiment with your finished kefir, try these (after culturing), per 1 qt:
- 1 TSP vanilla extract
- 1 TSP cinnamon or chai masala spice
DRINK DAILY on an empty stomach!