So far this week, four people have spoken with me about milk kefir – and all have different reasons for being drawn to this tart but creamy drink. One person was trying to heal their chronic digestive woes, another was recovering from chemotherapy, another wanted to kick their sugar habit, and the fourth was my preschooler who loves it on his oatmeal.
I started making milk kefir regularly only about two years ago, but have learned much in that time. This culture is more particular than water kefir, growing more slowly and being more sensitive about its diet and temperature. It also ferments faster, over just 24 hours, making it somewhat high-maintenance compared to the week-long ferment of kombucha.
But the health benefits outweigh these inconveniences. For starters, this drink is rich in probiotic bacteria, but also in B vitamins and folic acid. Plus, the lactose-intolerant often find that milk kefir doesn’t bother them because the lactose has been partially broken down by the beneficial bacteria. But even if you aren’t after health benefits, milk kefir provides a tangy and effervescent drink that can be added to smoothies, used in baking, or simply enjoyed on its own.
The people I have spoken with this week have also pointed out a few (Canadian-friendly!) resources that can be of help for those wanting to start out with milk kefir:
Kefir Canada can ship water or milk kefir grains to you, but this site also provides many tips on keeping a kefir culture and provides some info on its benefits.
Kefirko Also provides lots of info on their site, but of more interest is their wide range of kefir-making tools. The only downside is that these ship from Europe (hello, shipping costs). If you would like to get their product for cheaper, check out the North-American based Masontops – or even easier, let me know and I can make some available at my next workshop.
Kefirhood is a portal for connecting with providers of milk and water kefir grains; people can locate a provider of grains in their area, often getting grains for cheap or free. But it’s up to you to decide if you trust the source!