Milk kefir is becoming a common sight on grocery store shelves and a popular probiotic drink. However, those with a strong intolerance to dairy may have to forego milk kefir. The good news is there are reduced dairy and dairy-free kefir options!
ALTERNATIVES TO DAIRY KEFIR
1. Water Kefir
Making water kefir is very similar to making dairy kefir, but instead of culturing milk, water kefir grains culture sugar water or fruit juice. Finished water kefir is quite versatile because It can be flavored in a variety of ways!
How-to Video: How to Make Water Kefir
2. Coconut Milk Kefir
Coconut milk kefir, a popular alternative to dairy milk kefir, is a tangy coconut-flavored cultured milk. It can be cultured with very little or no dairy exposure.
For detailed instructions, visit our recipe on How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir.
NOTE: If culturing coconut milk using milk kefir grains, it is important that you return them to dairy milk periodically, in order to revitalize them and keep the kefir grains healthy.
3. Coconut Water Kefir
Coconut water is a popular natural electrolyte drink. Coconut water kefir is a delicious cultured option for those who wish to avoid all traces of dairy but still want a probiotic drink.
To make coconut water kefir, you can culture fresh coconut water from young coconuts or pasteurized coconut water found in health food stores.
There are two starter culture options for making coconut water kefir: water kefir grains or kefir starter culture. Using water kefir grains ensures that there is no trace of dairy as there may be if you were to use milk kefir grains or the kefir culture starter.
Click here for Instructions on How to Make Coconut Water Kefir.
NOTE: If using water kefir grains, it is important that the grains are activated using sugar water. Once the grains are making good water kefir, they are ready to use with coconut water. In order to keep the water kefir grains healthy you will need to alternate between using coconut water and sugar water for each batch.