Milk Kefir versus Water Kefir
There are two different types of kefir. Milk kefir is fairly well-known, and can now be found in many grocery stores. Water kefir is similar to milk kefir in that it is a probiotic-rich beverage. However, water kefir is dairy-free, making it a great choice for those who choose to avoid dairy. Water kefir is also a lighter beverage and can be flavored any number of ways, making it easier to drink in large quantities. It's a great choice for hydration in warm weather.
Here are the primary differences between milk kefir and water kefir:
How It is Made
Milk Kefir. Milk kefir is made with cow milk, goat milk, or coconut milk. It may also be made with other alternative milks, though results may be inconsistent.
Water Kefir. Water kefir is dairy-free and is made with sugar water, juice, or coconut water.
What It Contains
Milk Kefir. Milk kefir is a probiotic-rich beverage with live active yeast and bacteria. Our Milk Kefir Grains (traditional reusable starter culture) are propagated in organic milk.
Water Kefir. Water kefir is dairy-free and is made with sugar water, juice, or coconut water. Our Water Kefir Grains are grown in organic sugar and filtered water.
How It is Used
Milk Kefir. Milk kefir can be consumed plain, flavored, or as a base for salad dressings, smoothies, and more. It may be used as a substitute for buttermilk or yogurt in recipes. Milk kefir can also be strained to remove some of the whey, making a type of cheese ranging from a soft consistency to a cream cheese texture, or even a hard cheese texture.
How It Tastes
Milk Kefir. Milk kefir tastes like a strongly flavored cultured milk. The taste of any particular batch is based on the level of fermentation. The level of fermentation is dependent on a number of factors, including the ratio of kefir grains to milk, the ambient temperature, and the culturing time. Well-fermented kefir generally has a strong sour or tart taste and can even be a bit carbonated. It is known in some circles as the "champagne of milk."
Water Kefir. Water kefir tends to have a sweet, slightly fermented taste to it. We generally recommend flavoring water kefir, as it isn't very impressive-tasting plain.
How It is Flavored
Milk Kefir. Milk Kefir can be flavored by blending in fresh or frozen fruit, flavor extracts such as vanilla, sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia and more. There are a number of flavoring options.
Water Kefir. Water Kefir can be flavored using fresh or dried fruit, flavor extracts such as vanilla extract, fruit juice, or even herbs.
Milk Kefir. Milk kefir can be used in place of yogurt or buttermilk in recipes. It can also be strained to make a soft cheese. Milk kefir grains can be used to inoculate cream to make cultured butter or a sour cream-type condiment. Extra milk kefir grains may be used as starter culture for fermenting vegetables. Extra milk kefir can be used as leavening or to soak flour before baking.
Water Kefir. Water kefir can be bottled and consumed in place of soda pop. It also can be used as a base for dairy-free smoothies or other desserts. A quarter-cup of water kefir can be added to 2 to 3 cups of non-dairy milk to culture it into a non-dairy kefir. Extra water kefir grains may be used as starter culture for fermenting vegetables. Extra water kefir can be used as a booster for making gluten-free sourdough starter.
|Milk Kefir Grains|
|Water Kefir Grains|