Turn simple ingredients into superfoods with Dearbhla Reynolds’ fermentation recipes. Make your own Coconut Milk Kefir with this recipe from Dearbhla Reynold’s new book The Cultured Club.
If you are using coconut milk predominantly, then to help maintain the integrity of the kefir grains it will be necessary to rest them in dairy milk for at least 24 hours after making coconut milk kefir three times. This is because they require lactose (milk sugar) in order to thrive.
500ml coconut milk
2 tbsp milk kefir grains (see below)
1 Place the coconut milk and the milk kefir grains in a clean 500ml jar. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature to culture for at least 12 hours. Taste the kefir after this time – if you’re happy with the taste, then it’s ready. Otherwise, leave for another 12 hours to develop a more tart taste. Strain out the milk kefir grains and add to new coconut milk to repeat the process.
2 Store the fermented coconut milk kefir in the refrigerator until you drink it. It will keep for one month.
3 You can do a secondary ferment if you want to add more flavour. Secondary fermenting may sound a little complex, but all it really means is flavouring the kefir overnight, usually with some fruit. While the fruit is infusing the milk with its flavour, the live bacteria are happily reducing the sugar load.
Kefir grains are available to buy online from sites such as www.kombuchakamp.com. However, getting some surplus from a seasoned brewer who is bound to have an abundance is a much nicer way of sharing. Try sites like kefirhood.com or link up with fermentation groups on social media.
Kefir grains come in two different forms: milk kefir and water kefir. Milk kefir looks like clumps of cauliflower, whereas water kefir is more like little crystals. Milk kefir feeds on milk (see below) and water kefir feeds on sugary water.
If your palate is new to fermented and cultured foods, kefir can take a little getting used to. The tang and the tart taste are strong on a tongue more accustomed to sweet, but it can develop into a taste that is soothing and enjoyable.
4 tbsp milk kefir grains (see above)
1 litre whole raw milk
1 Put the kefir grains in a clean 1-litre jar and fill almost to the top with the milk. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside on your kitchen counter for one to two days, stirring periodically with a wooden spoon – this is particularly important, as metal appears to damage the cultures.
2 After 24 to 48 hours (the most favourable culturing time), strain out the kefir grains with a plastic strainer set over a jug. The grains are then popped back into a clean jar with some new milk and the process continues. In the jug you now have your milk kefir, which you can enjoy as is or in a variety of ways, both sweet and savoury. Other wonderful ways to use kefir include in a filling breakfast , or for a simple kefir cleanse.