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Coconut Milk Kefir

Kefir is a tangy, milk- or water-based drink fermented by a symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast clumped together in a matrix of protein, fats, and sugar. It’s a wonderfully rich source of healthy, diverse microbes and will do you a world of good. Kefir originated in the North Caucasus region, but no one knows precisely where or when. It comes to us from the mists of time, most likely handed down through many hundreds of generations. You can buy commercial kefir at the store, but you’ll make a better version at home. The symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast forms “grains” that resemble small cauliflower florets. Some scientific sources have found up to thirty different kinds of bacteria in the grains.

*Serves 2

Ingredients

½ cup organic milk kefir grains, unwashed

2 cups coconut milk

Method

PLACE THE KEFIR GRAINS in a wide-mouthed quart canning jar and pour in the coconut milk. Lay a square of paper towel across the top and screw down the lid band (but not the lid). Allow the coconut milk to culture at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours, less time for warmer temperatures, more time for cooler temperatures, until the milk is cultured and thick. If the first batch fails to culture, pour off the coconut milk and reserve in the refrigerator for other uses, and make a second or third batch if needed. Use a plastic strainer and spoon to retrieve the cultured coconut milk curds as you would for milk kefir, adding the grains back to the quart jar to make tomorrow’s batch.

Recipe by Elise Museles of Kale and Chocolate. First appeared in The Microbiome Solution (Penguin 2015).

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