Making Coconut Kefir With Kefir Grains

Can You Make Coconut Water Kefir or Coconut Milk Kefir With Kefir Grains?

Coconut water and coconut milk for making kefirI have lots of requests from people who want to make non-dairy kefir water or kefir milk. I also have many people writing to tell me how they have failed. I had tried and failed on many different occasions to make kefir soda from coconut water before I figured out why it did not work out so well.

So how come I couldn't make coconut kefir with my kefir grains when so many people say it is possible?

A big problem in Canada is that coconut water, and some coconut milk, is sold in tetra packs and they have preservatives for an extra long shelf life. Even the larger containers can have enough preservatives in them to unbalance the bacteria and yeast of the grains. (Maybe they don't use preservatives in their coconut water in other parts of the world. This is a big deal. If the sulphates preservatives on a single fig will kill your grains, what do you think will happen when the whole drink is laced with it?

If you guessed, "a smelly stinkin' mess!" you win the prize! If you guessed, "disappointment and despair!" you would ALSO be absolutely correct! I am a bit of a perfectionist… don't I hate it when something is not right several times over, when everyone else says it works!

There is another problem with making non-dairy kefir milks. The 'internet' says that you can make kefir milk using non-dairy milks like almond or coconut milk and using milk kefir grains. First, this is not an option for a vegan. Milk kefir grains are made from milk, and they must be put in milk every so often or else they will die. They live by eating lactose.

So here is the solution that WORKS (because I tried it!) and keeps everyone happy. Don't use kefir grains to make coconut kefir milk or kefir water. Instead use the water kefir you have made with the water kefir grains.

By now you probably already know that kefir makers often will do a second ferment of their kefir. So using the concept of a second ferment I had an idea.

First you need to buy water kefir grains and follow the water kefir recipe to make your kefir soda. Then you strain off the grains like you normally would, and use them to make your next batch of kefir water. NOW take 1/4 to 1/2 cup of finished water kefir, and put it in a jar with 2-4 cups of coconut milk or coconut water and let it sit for another 24-48 hours. (I used 1/4 cup for coconut milk and 1/2 cup for coconut water).

NOW you have a truly vegan coconut kefir and you didn''t have to go through 2 cups of kefir grains before you got it!



Ways To Use Milk Kefir

Kefir Whipped PotatoesSometimes, for any number of reasons you may have an over-abundance of cultured kefir milk. Right now I have 2 liters of it accumulated even though I use it in smoothies every day. So I am constantly on the look out for different ways to use up kefir milk in different ways.

Milk kefir in baking is a really great ingredient. Since it has probiotic yeast in it, it gives a light fluffy lift to cakes and muffins, pancakes and many other dishes. When you cook kefir, you will lose some of the probiotic benefits but it will still help predigest grains, add vitamins and minerals, not to mention a delicious taste! 

Here are some ways you can use your kefir.

  • Baking- First you can pre-digest flours, oatmeal, and other grains by soaking. An hour or 2 before you are going to bake, mix the recipes flour with kefir. Substitute some or all of the liquid portion of your recipe with your cultured kefir milk. If you do not plan ahead to pre-soak your flours, you can still sub kefir for the liquids in a recipe. It is especially good in cakes and muffins, biscuits (instead of milk or buttermilk), bread, rolls, pizza dough.. the list goes on! You could start with this delicious banana kefir cake
  • Breakfast– The night before, mix 1/4 cup of rolled oats with 1/2 cup kefir (for one serving). Let it sit covered on the counter over night. The next morning, cooking time is reduced and you have a delicious hearty and healthy breakfast! Just add fruit and a bit of maple syrup, or your own favorite toppings. 
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes- After your potatoes are cooked, mash them in a bowl with some garlic and kefir, and then whip them with the beaters to have a light fluffy delicious potato dish. 
  • Soups and Sauces– Sub out some or all of the liquid for kefir. 
  • Dessert- Put some kefir milk in a blender with frozen blueberries and some sweetener of choice for a delicious frozen yogurt dessert. 
  • Cream Cheese- Strain off the whey in cheesecloth over night. Mix cheese with salt to taste and spread on crackers or use as a veggie dip ingredient. 
  • Buttermilk substitute- Use kefir in place of buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt in any recipe.
  • As a starter for cultured vegetables–  There are lots of recipes on the internet for using kefir whey (or water kefir grains) as a culture starter for cultured veggies like sauerkraut. 
  • Skin care– Add to the bath water for soft conditioned skin. My sister uses whey as a face wash and swears it clears up her face whenever she is getting a pimple outbreak. 

There… that should get you started on using up that left over kefir milk!