Fermenting plant milk Kefir at home is a fun and sustainable way to add probiotics to your diet, improve your gut and brain health plus strengthen your immune system.
A prebiotic is an insoluble food fibre for beneficial gut bacteria. Eating a diet rich in prebiotic foods helps us maintain a healthy-gut-flora and microbiome. Inulin is a type of insoluble plant carbohydrate that is a prebiotic food source.
Prebiotic Foods include;
Chicory Root, Dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Asparagus, Banana, Blueberries, Seaweed, Apples, Jicama, Yacon Root, Burdock root, Shitake Mushrooms, Barley, Oats, Wheat bran, Legumes, Beans, Peas, Raw Cacao, Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Honey,
Digestion is an important part of our nutrient absorption & natural detoxification. Recipes have ingredients that support the digestive system.
Recipes have ingredients that support our immune system and help our bodies to fight bacterial and viral infections. Foods high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals support our immune functions. Food and herbs with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties help our bodies fight infection and support our immune response.
A Probiotic is a beneficial bacteria that is found in certain food sources, eating these foods help support our gut, immune system and brain functions. There are many different probiotic bacteria the common groups of organisms we know as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Brain Healthy recipes have ingredients that support healthy brain and tissue repair, growth and development, cognitive function and memory
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KEFIR plant milk Basics
HOW I MAKE PLANT MILK KEFIR
1. Make a new batch of plant milk when your Kefir is ready & strain milk if you like it that way.
2. Pour plant milk over strained milk kefir grains
3. Repeat the fermentation process tasting at 24hrs, taste at 36hrs & so one
STORE milk kefir in the fridge. I usually make 3 cups when I drink 1 cup every morning, so its a fluid practice and I don’t waste any.
Explanations + FAQ”S
Rhythm & planning are required, but it’s an easy routine to get into – I drink my glass of kefir in the morning and taste the new batch and if its nearly ready soak my nuts/seeds ready for the new batch – it takes 5 mins – it is a little like sprouting or looking after a chia pet you have to pay attention often. I prefer to make an effort to make my probiotic drinks than buying probiotic pills in a bottle.
WHAT IS KEFIR: milk or plant milk fermented using kefir grains into a liquid yoghurt style drink called Kefir. Kefir is a healthy probiotic-rich fermented food that can help colonise beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract. This helps improve your gut and microbiome health, contributing to improving your gut, brain, digestive, immune system health and overall wellness.
MILK KEFIR AND WATER KEFIR are different; here we are talking Milk Kefir.
MILK KEFIR GRAINS are not grains, nor are they made of dairy or milk. Kefir culture grains are a collection of bacteria and yeast that form into a whitish, rubbery little floret bunch structure called a “kefir grain” – they are a living beneficial bacteria culture.
MILK KEFIR GRAINS are for fermenting either plant-based milk or dairy milk. Dairy-milk will develop into a thicker drinkable yoghurt style texture where plant-milk texture remains similar to the plant milk consistency.
PLANT-BASED MILK KEFIR requires a little extra love and attention, but it is easy enough. I add 1-2 teaspoons of prebiotic fibre to my plant milk recipe, which helps feed the milk kefir grains, and I can ferment plant-milk using this method for months without resting the grains.
PREBIOTIC FIBRE = green banana flour, cassava flour, acacia fibre powder, tapioca fibre (not starch), chicory root powder, Jerusalem artichoke powder, mesquite powder, baobab powder Prebiotic fibre passes through the small intestine and into the colon where it feeds our beneficial bacteria and helps colonise our gut. The prebiotic fibre helps with plant milk fermentation.
USE FILTERED WATER or water that is not chlorinated to make plant milk for fermentation. Chlorine, chemicals and antibiotics kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria. We want to grow our beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process. Hence, the water needs to be chemical-free; I use a benchtop Berkey water filter system with a fluoride filter. Drinking and eating food made with chemical-free water is an essential part of my self-care.
RATIO MILK TO GRAINS you need at least 1 tbsp milk kefir grains per 3-4 cups of milk
KEEP SUBMERGED MILK KEFIR GRAINS in milk at all times either when fermenting or when resting grains The only time the grains are not in milk is the short time when you are straining and putting in a clean jar and adding fresh milk, They are a living culture. They will dry out and die if left out of milk for extended amounts of time.
NEVER WASH YOUR GRAINS they wear a coat of beneficial bacteria that helps them grow and feed, washing them would be like washing off our skin layers. Shake but don’t wash.
HOW TO REST MILK KEFIR GRAINS I rest my grains long term in dairy milk in the fridge. When I go away or need a break from fermenting, I buy or beg 2 cups of dairy milk to store grains in the fridge. I change the dairy-milk every month so the culture will remain alive and healthy. When I am ready to ferment again, I strain and shake off the dairy milk and start my plant milk fermentation.
Kefir grains thrive easily on the lactose in dairy milk; it is much easier, cheaper and better for the grains to rest long-term in dairy milk. I have had the same milk kefir grains for over five years; I only make plant milk kefir; it is a continuous practice. I take breaks, especially in summer when I tend to switch over to making Herbal Water Kefir a seasonal thing for me and another way to enjoy the bounty of my summer herbal garden and food as medicine.
NOT ALL PLANT MILK TASTE GREAT AS KEFIR you will have to experiment to see what you like. I have my favourites; cashew, sunflower seed and seed/nut combos.
RECIPES USING KEFIR drink a glass as part of your morning. Make a low carb Probiotic Super Seed Cereal for breakfast or a snack. Raspberry Orange Cashew Creme using Kefir – any excuse to make this!! Great in fruit smoothies instead of yoghurt, I love to use it in Blueberry Hemp + Flaxseed Smoothie and Cashew Sour Cream, I do use Kefir in baking and to cook with it gives a great sour flavour but be aware when heating or cooking with kefir or any other fermented foods the heat will destroy most of the beneficial bacteria.
MILK KEFIR STARTER culture “grains” can be purchased online or swap in your community. Reach out to your community and find someone who is fermenting at home and offer to barter with them. Some people have grains that are generations old and have been passed down, others have travelled from far reaches in the world, there are some very cool stories and people out there who are true fermenters and passionate about their grains.
CARING for Milk Kefir grains it is a bit like having a silent pet; they are living, you have to take care of them, feed them and be present with them from time to time.