Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homemade Coconut Kefir

For over a year now I've been stumbling across references to homemade coconut milk kefir in various blogs and articles on the internet.  I tried making coconut kefir using my usual method for raw cow milk yogurt and kefir, but it was an unsuccessful attempt.  There were a lot of mentions around about coconut kefir, but few good instructions.

A few weeks ago I ran across a blog called culturedfoodlife.com and noticed that Donna Schwenk had instructions for coconut kefir.  She recommends that you use her kefir starter grains which she sells in her online store.  The same grains that she uses for regular milk can be used for coconut kefir.  
I ordered the grains, wondering if they would be worth the $26 price tag.  The grains arrived alive and well.  They are living colonies of beneficial bacteria and yeasts.  Donna Schwenk claims that homemade kefir from her grains has over 36-54 strains of beneficial probiotic strains. The kefir grains are easy to care for and will last a lifetime with a small amount of attention and regular use.

I made up my first batch and 24 hours later I had coconut milk kefir.  It couldn't have been easier.  I simply washed up glass container, poured in coconut milk and the kefir grains, set it out on my kitchen counter and the next morning I had kefir.  

Coconut kefir is a good starter kefir for people who have unbalanced gut flora.  Especially for people with dairy allergies, intolerances or sensitivities, or people with significant gut related symptoms or illnesses, coconut kefir is recommended for at least three months before moving on to kefir from raw cow's milk.  

One of the benefits of making kefir from raw cow's milk is that you not only get the cultures from your starter culture, but raw milk is filled with live beneficial bacteria that multiply in the kefir culturing process.  Unfortunately, though, cow's milk kefir can be too much for some people new to fermented and cultured foods or for those who have problems handling dairy.

Donna Schwenk has made the video below on how to make homemade kefir using kefir grains. In the video she uses regular milk, but the same process works for coconut milk.   (We are in no way affiliated with Donna Schwenk or her website or online store--just passing on some interesting information.)

I've been using the brand So Delicious unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt.  Just make the kefir exactly like the regular milk kefir she makes in the video.  The only difference with coconut milk is that the kefir grains do not multiply as in cow's milk.  To keep the grains thriving, occasionally add them to raw cow's milk and make up a batch of regular kefir.  Other than that, it couldn't be more simple.

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