Kefir is a beverage made from kefir culture/grains. There are two types of kefir grains; water kefir grains and milk kefir grains. These grains are used for producing two different types of kefir (water kefir or milk kefir). So, is kefir dairy free? Milk kefir is not dairy free because it is made with milk while water kefir is dairy free because it is cultured with sugar instead of milk. Here is the thing. Dairy free kefir is kefir that is cultured without using milk – water kefir.
This article is going to give a detailed explanation of the two types of kefir and by the end of this article, you will be able to understand why water kefir can be a healthy alternative for individuals who are sensitive to dairy products.
This type of kefir is common in grocery stores since it is a popular probiotic drink. It is made from coconut milk, goat milk or cow milk.
Individuals who cannot tolerate dairy products should forget about milk kefir because this type of kefir is not dairy free.
Milk kefir contains live bacteria and yeast from organic milk and it is therefore rich in probiotics. It can be taken as a base for smoothies and salads. Also, it can be flavored or can even be taken plainly. People use it as a substitute for yogurt or buttermilk since it has more advantages then yogurt. Kefir contains more bacteria than yogurt and they are even healthier for our body, including important yeast that can digest lactose. Unlike yogurt that contains only two to three types of bacteria.
Also, milk kefir can be strained to make cheese since it is a milk product. Milk kefir taste will depend on the fermentation level. One other thing that influences the taste is how much milk you will be using compared to the milk kefir grains. Oblivious time and temperature will also make an impact on the taste. Overall, fermented kefir has a sour taste.
Lactose intolerant individuals can take milk kefir since it is fermented.
It is fermented by putting kefir grains into coconut milk, goat milk or dairy milk. The yeast and bacteria in the grains then break down the sugars, fermenting it into important microorganisms and vitamins. The result is a probiotic drink containing natural sugars and a mixture of nutrients that improve our digestive health. Milk kefir can be flavored in honey, vanilla in fresh fruit and more.
Milk kefir grains have various uses because they can also be used to make cultured butter by inoculating cream. Some people use kefir grains to make a culture for fermenting vegetables and extra kefir grains can be used to soak flour before baking. It’s more recommended to make milk kefir at home instead of buying a commercially made kefir.
Now we are going to talk about water kefir. The water kefir is grown from water kefir grains in filtered water using organic sugars. It can be flavored and taken instead of soft drinks and juice since it tastes sweet and to some extent, it has a fermented flavor. Water kefir can be flavored with vanilla, dried or fresh fruit and herbs.
Water kefir is dairy free and it is made from sugar-water solution using water kefir grains.
These water kefir grains work together symbiotically to feed on the natural sugars in a sugar-water solution and with dried fruit. The bacteria and yeast break down glucose and fructose which are simple sugars into acetic acid and ethanol. Sugars and complex carbohydrates are converted into lactic acid and simple sugars. The lactic acid and the acetic acid act as natural preservatives that prevent any harmful bacteria from interfering with the making of water kefir. Therefore, the result is a drink that consists of lactic acid, simple sugars, ethanol, acetic acid, and carbon dioxide. Water kefir also contains a lot of nutrients and probiotics.
Coconut water kefir is made from coconut water and genuine water kefir grains. This results in a low sugar refreshing drink with a flavor of a tasty coconut water, it contains probiotics and electrolytes. Another issue to note with water kefir is the difference between the homemade and commercially made water kefir. Commercial water kefir is made from yeast and bacteria that imitate the original water kefir grains, this gives a good product but with low quality, since it contains fewer probiotics, low-quality nutrients. It just doesn’t offer a variety of probiotics since they are not made from the traditional grains.
Home-made water kefir is recommended since it is easy to make. You can also choose which flavor to use or any other extra supplements. You can make it according to your diet needs, using a preferred taste that you like. For instance, choosing to make it sweet or less sweet especially for individuals with diabetes. They will need it with less sugar. You can also save water kefir grains and dry them to make a powder probiotic kefir to sprinkle plants, you can even sprinkle them on salad or food or even fill into capsules for you and your family. If you are interested in making water kefir at home you can always check our step by step detailed guide on how to make water kefir.
Main Differences Between Milk Kefir and Water Kefir
Milk kefir and water kefir, they have numerous health benefits. Milk kefir has a more unique difference since it is more nutritious than water kefir due to the milk it contains. Also, milk is the main source of nutrients for most mammals as it contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates all of which are important for our development and growth.
Water kefir poses an advantage of having a low glycemic index which releases glucose at a slower rate, therefore it will reduce food cravings which is why it is suitable for individuals who are on a diet.
Although the two kinds of kefir are similar according to the role they play in our bodies, they also have some additional differences. For instance, the way they are prepared is quite different, the taste also differs. Water kefir tastes like soda, while milk kefir tastes like yogurt. Each type of kefir has its unique characteristics and if you wish to implement probiotics as a part of your diet then you have to see which type of kefir is the best for you.