Milk kefir is a delicious and healthy beverage that you can easily make at home. The actual process of making milk kefir is as simple as it can be. And all you’re going to need is the actual milk and kefir grains. That’s it!
But wait a minute…
What exact milk should you be using? Ordinary cow milk? Goat milk? Can you make milk kefir with a non-dairy option? Should the milk be pasteurized or can you use it raw? And, ultimately, what is the best milk for making milk kefir?
Don’t worry. Things might seem a bit complicated, but once you read this article to the very end, you are going to know everything you need to make this yummy milk kefir.
But first, here are a few links that will help you find some ‘exotic’ milk options, in case you want to give them a try.
What Are the Types of Dairy Milk that You Can Use for Your Milk Kefir?
There are many different types of milk out there! Of course, we are used to dividing the options on dairy and non-dairy ones.
Originally, milk kefir was made with the dairy option. In fact, there is still no better option for your kefir than cow, sheep or goat milk.
However, a lot of people have also tried experimenting with other types of “milk”. And sometimes the results turn out to be delicious and just as healthy.
But first thing first. Let’s take a look at what types of dairy milk are the best for your kefir.
Without a doubt, this is the most popular choice, as it’s extremely easy to find cow milk in any local store. Moreover, you can experiment with the fat percentage to understand which one you like more. If you decide to use cow milk, your kefir will turn out thick and smooth.
However, a lot of people are afraid of cow milk as it contains lactose.
The good news is that you can drink cow kefir, even if you find it difficult to digest ordinary milk! The trick here is that the kefir grains use most of the lactose for food. Later on, the little guys break the lactose down to lactic acid. And guess what? You can easily consume lactic acid, even if you are intolerant to lactose.
Even after the fermentation process, a lot of important elements are left in the cow milk. Vitamins B and C, as well as, essential amino acids, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Throughout the years, this milk type is becoming more and more popular. If you decide to make your kefir using goat milk, you will get a thinner beverage with an interesting taste. Bear in mind that the flavor is quite strong and you might either like it or totally hate it.
By the way, in case you are still afraid of lactose, goat milk might be a great option for you as it does not contain as much lactose as cow milk. But you should bear in mind that after the fermentation process is over, neither of the options are going to have a sufficient level of lactose.
Usually, people use this type of milk for cheese making. But you can totally use it to make your kefir. The beverage will turn out to be even thicker than the kefir made with cow milk and a little sweeter. This type of milk contains more proteins and a lot of vitamins. If you have such an opportunity, you better try making your kefir with sheep milk because the texture, the taste, and the nutritious benefits are practically unbeatable.
Once you have mastered kefir making on one of the previous types of milk, you might want to try and experiment with the flavors. You can certainly give water buffalos’, mares’ or even camel’s milk a try! These options would normally be higher in fat and a bit sweeter. However, this will turn out to be relatively pricey milk kefir, in case you manage to find any of these options in your store.
Can You Use Non-Dairy Milk for Kefir Making?
Bear in mind that even if you are lactose intolerant, you can still drink kefir. But what can you do, if you don’t consume dairy products for other reasons?
Well. you can always go for the water kefir that can be easily made at home. Even though the taste of the beverage will be totally different, you will still be getting a nice, refreshing drink with a lot of health benefits.
However, you can also try and use non-dairy milk to make your kefir. There are so many options available on the market today! Coconut, rice, soy, almond milk… In case you use these types, you will be getting milk kefir-like beverage at the end. But there is one important thing that you have to take into consideration.
Generally, kefir grains do not like non-dairy milk. After a few cycles, they might stop multiplying and become sloggier. To help your grains thrive again, you would have to return the little fellows to feed on the dairy milk every few days. This is called the ‘revitalization period’. You would simply need to cover the grains with dairy milk for 24 hours.
What Is Pasteurized and Raw Milk? What Is Homogenization?
We all know that milk has many other types not only ‘dairy’ or ‘non-dairy’. In stores, you can find ‘pasteurized’, ‘ultra-pasteurized’ and ‘homogenized’ milk. What do all of these words mean? And is such milk suitable for kefir making?
- Pasteurized milk is heated to a high temperature for about 15-20 seconds and then quickly cooled down. Such milk can be stored for a longer period of time. You can easily use pasteurized milk for kefir making. Moreover, this is a perfect liquid for the revitalization period of your grains.
- Ultra-pasteurized milk is heated up to even higher temperature. However, this milk is considered to be ‘cooked’, so you can’t use it for kefir making. The grains will simply have no food.
- You can find either homogenized or non-homogenized. In dairy milk, the cream can separate from the actual liquid. In order to avoid that, the milk undergoes a homogenization procedure. If you have gotten your milk from the store, then the chances are high that it has been homogenized and you can easily use it to make the kefir. However, even if the milk is not homogenized, you can still add it to the grains. Simply make sure to stir the whole thing from time to time.
- You can also use raw milk for your kefir. Just make sure that the drink is as fresh as it can possibly be. Raw milk has a set of its own bacteria and the older the milk is, the higher the chances that these bacteria can become dangerous for the grains and for your health. Bear in mind that the grains have to become active in pasteurized milk, and only after that, you can start using raw milk.
Review: Best Exotic Type of Milk for Making Milk Kefir
You should experience no problems finding practically all the types of milk mentioned above in your local stores.
But in case you want to try a couple of more exotic options, then here is our short list.
1. Roi Thai Coconut Milk
Roi Thai coconut milk 250 ml (8.4 oz) (Pack 6)
- NON-DAIRY / PLANT BASED MILK: Coconuts are naturally full of goodness. We can use every part of coconut. But first thing first, coconut milk is an interesting source of dairy alternative. No trans-fat. No cholesterol. No starch added.
- VERSATILE USE: Coconut milk goes with anything…Breakfast cereal with coconut milk, Spaghetti carbonara, Sweet potato coconut curry soup, Coconut-banana Smoothie, Coconut-Key lime sheet cake, Coconut-lime ice pops, Coconut coffee ice cream, Thai desserts etc.
- STORE IN ROOM TEMPERATURE: Perfect for stocking up in your pantry so you can always have great tasting, dairy free milk on hand. Shelf life of 18 months. Only need refrigeration after opening.
- BPA free: As our Roi Thai coconut milk fill in aseptic pack (carton packaging) so our product is safe from BPA.
- PRODUCT OF THAILAND
For the price, you will be getting 6 packs of 250 ml of coconut milk. This is a plant-based option that can be used for various purposes. The great thing is that the packs can be stored at room temperature. Of course, after you open it, it has to be stored in the fridge. An unopened pack can be stored for 18 months.
This product has been made in Thailand. The company uses carton packaging that means that the product is BPA-free.
Check out the current price for Roi Thai Coconut Milk on Amazon.
2. Desert Farms – Camel Milk (Frozen)
Organic Fresh Frozen Camel Milk - Fresh Flavor with Health Benefits - Raw & Natural Grade A - Gently Pasteurized from Healthy Camels in Midwest - Made In The USA [6 Pack]
- EXCELLENT SOURCE - Of Calcium & Vitamin B1. Good Source of Protein, Potassium & Fats. High levels of Lactoferrin & Immunoglobulins. All-Natural, non-homogenized.
- IT’S NATURAL - Non-homogenized fresh taste is preserved with an exceptional flavor. The special taste comes from the sweet grasses covering our farms.
- NOMADS & BEDOUINS - Still rely on camel’s milk nutritional and medicinal properties, while generations of tribes have lived on camel milk entirely with a few dates for months in the harsh desert climate.
- DESERT FARMS HAS NOW - Captured Nomads and Bedouin's ancient knowledge and locked camel milk tight in a bottle. No artificial additives whatsoever! Our Camel Milk is truly fresh, tasty, authentic - and undeniably good for you.
- GENTLY PASTEURIZED - Pasture raised whole camel milk contains all the fresh, wholesome goodness you expect from Desert Farms & we’re Guarantee: Nothing added, Nothing removed.
In case you want to splurge on your future kefir, camel milk is a perfect choice. You will be getting 6 packs of 16 Oz of camel milk. The milk is sent in a large box with ice packs. The milk has to be stored in the fridge and defrosted 3 days before being consumed.
Camel milk is a real superfood as it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Your camel milk kefir will usually turn out a bit sweeter than the kefir made with the help of the normal milk.
Check out the current price for Desert Farms – Camel Milk (Frozen) on Amazon.
We hope we have made it a bit easier for you to navigate through all the types of milk available on the market today. Remember that you always have water kefir, in case you want to be completely dairy-free drink. Because even if you are using, for example, coconut milk to make your kefir, you would still need to buy dairy milk to help your kefir grains thrive.