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I've been experimenting with kefirs and wanted to make a non-dairy one for a friend who is lactose intolerant. (Kefir is nearly lactose-free, and some lactose-intolerant people can use it in modest quantities). I did a little research, found a lot of inconsistent and conflicting information. So I just plunged ahead and was very happy with the results. I've only used it for smoothies, but I think it would also make great pancakes or fruity type quick breads.
- I used canned coconut milk which resulted in a slightly coconut flavored kefir. I understand you can use the coconut milk that comes in the dairy case in 1/2 gallon containers and that kefir made from it does not have a coconut flavor - I have not tried this yet.
- Be sure that you use a glass jar or plastic container and non-metal spatulas or spoons.
- If you are using kefir grains that have been kept in milk, rinse them with non-chlorinated water to remove milk residue. You do not need to do this if you are not sensitive to lactose.
- Shake the can of milk to combine the cream with the milk, then open and pour into the jar.
- Add the kefir grains to the jar. Cover with a clean cloth or coffee filter or something similar, and leave on a counter away from direct sunlight or in a cupboard.
- Coconut milk turns into kefir somewhat more quickly than does milk, 12 to 24 hours. In a heat wave, it was done in about 9 hours for me. The longer it stands, the tangier it gets.
- Stir the kefir and then strain it in a nylon mesh or stainless steel strainer. A spatula is helpful to gently lift the curds and pick out the kefir grains. Don't press down on the grains.
- Refrigerate the kefir for a day or so, where it will continue to thicken.
- I used it to make delicious smoothies. If you prefer a yogurt type of consistency, drain through a coffee filter or in a yogurt strainer to make a thicker consistency.
- Put the grains into a clean jar and start over. If you do not want to make more at this time, place in a container and cover by 1 inch with milk or cream it should be ok for a week or so.
- You can make coconut kefir for about two weeks, but after two weeks, rejuvenate the kefir grains in cow's or goat milk. Kefir grains will not grow and multiply in coconut milk, and they need the dairy milk to stay in peak condition.