Is Water Kefir as Beneficial as Milk Kefir?

by Sarah Fermented FoodsComments: 59

water kefir versus milk kefir_mini

My recent article comparing the probiotic potency and overall health benefits of milk kefir versus yogurt spawned a lot of emails to my inbox with questions about how water kefir fits into the mix.

After a bit of reflection on the subject, I came to the conclusion that the topic really deserved its own blog post, so here we go!

Which is really better, water kefir or milk kefir?  Or, are the benefits between the two basically the same?

The truth is that water kefir is really not a good substitute for milk kefir even if you have a milk allergy.

Milk kefir, made with either dairy milk or coconut milk, far surpasses water kefir in probiotic potency. The benefits of milk based kefir exceed those of water kefir no matter if the water kefir is cultured with fruit juice, vegetable juice, coconut water, or filtered water and a whole sweetener.

Before you go throwing away your water kefir grains, however, let’s be clear on the benefits of water kefir which makes a fantastic base for homemade soda among other culinary uses.

Undeniable Benefits of Water Kefir

Water kefir, just like milk kefir, utilizes a beneficial culture of microbes that consume the simple sugars in the juice, coconut water or sugar water base to create a plethora of probiotics. The water kefir culture’s use of the sugar means that there isn’t much sugar left in the final product. This is good news for those with Metabolic Syndrome in that water kefir doesn’t add to problems with blood sugar fluctuations or feed those sugar cravings.

In addition, the fermentation process releases additional vitamins and minerals.  Best of all, there aren’t any additives, chemicals or artificial anything in a kefir soda made with properly fermented water kefir.  It even turns out a bit bubbly just like conventional sodas and can be bottled to add further effervescence.  Water kefir can also be used as a base for dairy-free smoothies, popsicles, and homemade jello.

Water kefir can be added to non-dairy milks like almond milk too. Use 1/4 cup water kefir to 2-3 cups non-dairy milk, mix and serve. Extra water kefir grains may be used as starter culture for fermenting vegetables.

While the benefits of water kefir are clear and well established, this fermented beverage doesn’t hold a candle to milk kefir made with either dairy milk or coconut milk.

Critical Differences Between Milk Kefir and Water Kefir

According to Donna Schwenk, author of Cultured Food for Lifewater kefir is her least favorite fermented drink. She says that she has never experienced the same health benefits from water kefir that she did from homemade milk kefir.

Why?

The most likely reason is that there are only 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts in water kefir made with live grains.  This compares with the 30 to 50 in homemade milk kefir made with live grains. Click here for a video which shows the difference between live milk kefir grains and water kefir grains based on the live cultures that I use in my kitchen.

Milk kefir grains and water kefir grains are not interchangeable which is why I always recommend obtaining them from reputable sources such as these.  I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received over the years from folks trying to ferment milk into kefir with water kefir grains they got from a friend (or vice versa) only to find themselves frustrated with repeated failure or inconsistent results.

What about milk kefir made with a one time use powder?  Be aware that, like water kefir, this is also not as beneficial as milk kefir made with live grains

There are only 10-15 beneficial microbial strains in milk kefir made with powder instead of live grains, not to mention it is more expensive too!

Here is the specific list of beneficial microbes in water kefir for your consideration.

  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus hilgardii
  • Lactobacillus hordei
  • Lactobacillus nagelii
  • Leuconostoc citreum
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides
  • Acetobacter fabarum
  • Acetobacter orientalis
  • Streptococcus lactis
  • Hanseniaospora valbyensis (yeast)
  • Lachancea fermentati (yeast)
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast)
  • Zygotorulaspora florentina (yeast)

Compare this to double the amount in a milk based kefir made with live grains:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
  • Lactobacillus kefiri
  • Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus sake
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
  • Pseudomonas
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Pseudomonas putida
  • Streptococcus thermophilus 
  • Candida humilis (yeast)
  • Kazachstania unispora (yeast)
  • Kazachstania exigua (yeast)
  • Kluyveromyces siamensis (yeast)
  • Kluyveromyces lactis (yeast)
  • Kluyveromyces marxianus (yeast)
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast)
  • Saccharomyces martiniae (yeast)
  • Saccharomyces unisporus (yeast) 

The only benefit probiotically of water kefir compared with milk kefir is the absence of Streptococcus thermophilus

Jordin Rubin, author of Restoring Your Digestive Health warns about this particular probiotic strain as studies have shown that people who suffer from autoimmune diseases run the risk of aggravating the symptoms of their disease if they consume more than two cups of yogurt or kefir per day that contains Streptococcus thermophilus.

Most Beneficial Water Kefir Made with Fresh Coconut Water

If you choose to make water kefir, note that making it with fresh coconut water is likely the best scenario according to Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet given that you will obtain a kefir that is rich in potassium and enzymes and contains sulphurated proteins that assist the body in cleansing.  Note that many sources claim that coconut water contains monolaurin, which is anti-fungal, however, this is not true according to my research. Monolaurin is in the fat of the coconut, not coconut water.

Other Benefits of Milk Kefir Compared with Water Kefir

Besides a superior probiotic boost, milk kefir also contains calcium and magnesium in high amounts which are absent in water kefir.

And, there are potential problems when brewing water kefir to make sure to watch out for.  If you suffer from candida issues or diabetes, note that unless you are extremely careful to ferment the water kefir properly, there can be too much sugar remaining which could actually harm you rather than help.  Properly brewed water kefir really should taste only mildly sweet.  It is a slightly sweet but mostly sour flavor that does take a bit of getting used to at first.

If you want a sweeter water kefir, brew for the full length of time until the sweetness is gone and then mix with plain juice.  Use as little juice as you can get away with to attain the level of sweetness desired.

Note also that it is best to refrain from using 100% juice when making water kefir as you will end up with an alcoholic beverage!   For more on making water kefir sodas with juice or sugar sweetened water, check out this article and my how-to video on the subject.

So, what to choose?  Water kefir or milk kefir?

The good news is that you don’t have to … you can make both even if you have a dairy allergy!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Sources and More Information

Microbiological study of lactic acid bacteria in kefir grains

Which is Better: Water Kefir or Milk Kefir

How to Make Dairy Milk Kefir (recipe plus video how-to)

How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir (recipe plus video how-to)

Water Kefir Sodas (recipe plus video how-to)

The Difference between Live Water Kefir and Milk Kefir Grains

Comments (59)

  • Mary

    I have Myeloid Dysplastic Syndrome, would taking Kefir help my immune system & bone marrow?

    June 18th, 2016 4:11 pm Reply
  • Sandy Silva

    Yikes. I just read the last part of the article saying not to use 100% juice cuz it will be alcoholic. I made some water kefir and added 100% Concord grape juice and it did smell like wine. But once we drank it, it tasted like soda. Very bubbly. It does make me a tad drowsy. Is that cuz it’s alcoholic. And why does it become alcoholic if it’s pure juice as opposed to juice with filtered water added?

    April 3rd, 2016 7:39 pm Reply
    • Yumi Sakamoto

      Hello Sandy, do you recommend Kombuucha or kefiir for during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

      June 3rd, 2016 1:35 am Reply
  • Emily

    This was really helpful thank you! We are learning all about kefir, water vs. milk and making it at home. So far I’ve only used a powder starter to make kefir, but am excited to get my hands on some grains! Do you think there is a huge difference between the one time use vs. grains?

    November 6th, 2015 6:37 pm Reply
  • Abdian

    I am from Indonesia, Where can I get grains of water Kefir, Thank you for the information.

    August 6th, 2015 10:07 pm Reply
    • Yeegy

      can contact me to get grains. thanks

      September 17th, 2015 5:24 am Reply
  • Michele

    Hi – can the milk kefir be made with 2% milk? I have lost 63lbs and am hesitant to continue making it with whole milk although it has been successful thus far.

    April 26th, 2015 12:43 am Reply
  • Sandi

    I recently found out that I am lactose intolerant. We thought it as IBS but is not. Will this type of yougurt help me? Love yougurt but sets my stomach into a mess. I am frustrated as my food choices are very limited.

    Thank you

    Sandi

    April 2nd, 2015 1:12 pm Reply
    • OliviaMichael

      First, Kefir is not yogurt. Yes, it should be fine, because the lactose is eaten up. This is a very late reply..hopefully you have found your answer already :-)

      June 27th, 2015 12:25 am Reply
    • Alisdair MacSoto

      You have to leave the milk to fermet for a long time to make sure that there is no lactose left. The bacteria dn yeast of milk kefir feed themselves with lactose. A different issue is besides being lactose intolerant you also have an allergy to casein (the main protein of milk) then you cannot take keffir. But if you are only lactose intolerant kefir should help you.

      July 4th, 2015 7:38 pm Reply
    • Suizy Lamont

      Hi Sandi there is a product called herbal fiber blend made by aim which is really good. It conditions the bowel whilst helping to clear parasites. I also make water and milk keffir. I add coconut milk to my milk keffir. I don’t have any grains or dairy cut out all sugar honey and sweet fruits including dates. My tummy is now happy. Feel free to email me. Blessings Suizy

      August 29th, 2015 6:40 am Reply
  • melissa

    Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated centuries ago in the Caucasus mountains, and is now enjoyed by many different cultures worldwide, particularly in Europe and Asia. It can be made from the milk of any ruminant animal, such as a cow, goat, or sheep. It is slightly sour and carbonated due to the fermentation activity of the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that make up the “grains” used to culture the milk (not actual grains, but a grain-like matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars that feed the microbes.with my best wishes,melissa

    March 28th, 2015 12:17 am Reply
  • Rolf Stålhandske

    Kefir is proven to be soo good for health and I have met several cases proving that ( i am phsycian myself !), especially diabetes 2 cases!
    But there seems to be a potentially problematic aspect.

    If the theory ( the subject is still very controversial amidst the medical society !) that too much saturated fat is risky for your health, how then if you, besides, eggs, meat, milk and other sources, drink lots of milk kefir?
    I think we need to ask ourselves that and be watch out !

    March 25th, 2015 12:11 pm Reply
    • Bob

      Galactose is a byproduct of the break down of lactose in the gut. Chronic exposure of mice, rats, and Drosophila flies to galactose caused them and their cells to age (Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2006;84(3):647-654). The cells had signs of aging: shorter telomeres and DNA damage. Whole milk, skim milk and other non-fermented milk products contain galactose. Fermenting milk breaks down galactose, so fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese do not contain galactose and therefore appear to be safe. Another recent study from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austra shows that higher intake of high-fat dairy products lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by 23 percent in the highest consuming 20 percent of participants (eight portions per day) compared to the lowest consuming 20 percent (one portion per day). People who consumed 30ml of cream per day lowered their type 2 diabetes risk by 15 percent compared to those who consumed 0.3 ml per day. Drinking 180ml of high-fat fermented milk also reduced type 2 diabetes risk by 20 percent compared to not drinking any. I drink a 50/50 mix of whole milk kefir and skim kefir to reduce the caloric content (getting fat on anything is bad) but otherwise, it is weird that full fat milk kefir might be one of the healthiest things one can drink especially for type 2 like myself.

      November 11th, 2015 1:19 pm Reply
  • regina k

    Why is it that sometimes I get zippy effervescent milk kefir and other times I don’t? I was thinking maybe sometimes I have more space at tye too of my jar. I dont use mason, but just a large glass jar, and coffee filter secured by rubber band.

    February 7th, 2015 11:50 am Reply
  • Halley

    This was a very interesting read! I’ve been making water kefir for several months now. I always add a little bit of 100% juice after it is brewed. Can you explain how this leads to an alcoholic beverage? What would you suggest flavoring your water kefir with to avoid alcohol? I breastfeed so drinking alcohol makes me nervous. Thanks!

    February 7th, 2015 12:28 am Reply
    • Tracy

      I think she means if you do the first fermentation in 100% juice. I read an article/blog recently (sorry, don’t have the link but it came up when I searched for alcohol content of water kefir) in which they said the typical alcohol content of water kefir (I think it was the second ferment where I would put maybe 2-3T of lemon juice in a qt of first ferment) is under .67 and it’s only that high if it’s a fizzy/bubbly as a can of Coke. Mine has never been that high. I am also pregnant and drink it nearly daily, as does my toddler. I don’t think it’s got enough to hurt anything, especially if it’s not especially fizzy. Running the grains through straight juice is supposed to be really hard on the grains, so I have never done them that way anyway.

      April 2nd, 2015 1:32 pm Reply
    • Sheila

      You can add a fruit T bag to the second ferment to flavour instead of juice this lowers the risk of any alcohol content. Ginger and Lemon t bags are my favourite you can add fresh ginger to the second ferment or two t bags if you prefer a stronger ginger taste, when you pour a glass to drink you can squeeze fresh lemon to suit your pallet. Or stir in honey, but don’t put this in when fermenting as it will kill your water grains. Hope this helps.

      July 14th, 2015 6:28 pm Reply
  • Maiken

    Hi Sarah,
    When making coconut milk kefir, do you have to use fresh,canned or can you use carton coconut milk such as So Delicious?

    February 6th, 2015 6:35 pm Reply
  • nicole

    I’m allergic to dairy and coconut. Can I make kefir out of homemade nut milks?

    February 6th, 2015 4:16 pm Reply
  • Tracy

    How long can RAW milk kefir be kept in the fridge? I made some a month ago and it smells sour but not off

    February 6th, 2015 4:04 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Oh wow … it really does last a long time. It keeps getting stronger in flavor, but doesn’t actually go off for many many weeks.

      February 6th, 2015 4:21 pm Reply
      • libby

        Hey Sarah,
        We are making baby formula out of pastuerized milk. How long should the milk be cultured with kefir grains, 12 or 24 hours, to make it good for the baby formula??? Any other details about making the kefir milk that we should follow?
        Thanks so much for your help.
        Libby

        April 16th, 2015 7:11 pm Reply
        • libby

          Oh, also how long does a bottle of formula make with pasturized/kefir milk last once it has been taken out of the fridge?
          Thanks again!

          April 16th, 2015 7:12 pm Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          24 hours would be best.

          April 16th, 2015 7:37 pm Reply
    • Alisdair MacSoto

      There are two issues there. One is how long does milk keffir last as a drink? And there I agree with Sarah that it last very very very long. The other issue is how long does the drink have the boom of probiotics alive and ready. That is, how long does the probiotics last in the drink? I ignore the answer. However, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (Anticancer) says that home-made yogurts last very long, but if you really want to benefit from the probiotics, yogurts should be taken before 10 days. This does not apply to industrial made yogurt, that last shorter. I assume that in the case of keffir, being richer in probiotics than yougurt, the probiotics last longer than that. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the drink continues fermenting and geting more sour in the fridge for a longer than that. Nevertheless, in my house, we follow the rule of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber for yogurts and we always drink it before ten days..

      July 4th, 2015 8:34 pm Reply
  • Sherry

    Can you get as much benefit from the envelope starter packets for kefir as you can from the kefir grains?

    February 1st, 2015 2:17 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This is covered in the post … the answer is no. The starter packets are not as potent probiotically.

      February 1st, 2015 3:40 pm Reply
  • Ranjani

    If you have a kombucha culture growing very close to a kefir culture, could they interfere with each other? I found that my kefir grains die off over time but the kombucha seems to be doing ok. Thanks.

    January 30th, 2015 2:20 am Reply
    • Tracy

      I’ve always heard to keep a min of 3′ between different culturing/fermenting things.

      April 2nd, 2015 1:33 pm Reply
    • Alisdair MacSoto

      The main problem of contamination between kombucha and water keffir are the instrumens you use for making them. Never use the same instruments. So buy double sets and mark them to make sure that you never use them with wrong culture. Having them both in the same room is not a problem as long as you keep a good hygene in the room.

      July 4th, 2015 7:51 pm Reply
  • Donnie

    The reason I started making water kefir was because there are NO dairy cows in my area. I live in SE NC if anybody can help. In my thought and I may be wrong, water kefir is better than no kefir at all. I was in the store today and the prices of probiotics is through the roof. I’m just a poor country boy but I want to do what is necessary to have good health. I did see a healthful benefit from the water kefir though. My poops got so much better.
    Thank you Sarah, I’m glad to see this.

    January 29th, 2015 8:38 pm Reply
    • regina k

      Hi, I live in n.c. how far are you from s.c.? You could always look up natural foos LD stores and see if they sell raw milk, BC its legal and regulated in s.c.

      February 7th, 2015 11:45 am Reply
    • Emily

      I agree with Regina. If you’re in SE NC, you don’t have to go far over state line into SC to find fresh milk. I’m in charlotte, that’s what I have to do. Just do some research and make sure to call ahead for availability.

      March 23rd, 2015 4:11 pm Reply
      • Bonnie

        Hi Emily, Would you mind sharing your source for raw milk in SC? I’m in Charlotte as well and all the stands/farms I’ve looked into in SC all feed their herds GMO grains. I’m currently in a coop that ships non-gmo milk from grass-fed cows in PA, but I’d love to find a local source. Thanks!!

        February 2nd, 2016 4:05 pm Reply
  • laurie

    After about a year of using the same milk grains they began to fall apart until I didn’t have any left. But, I found that if I just use some the kefir from the day before (about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup) and fill the rest with milk it still turns the rest of it into kefir after the 24 hours. Does this kefir still have all the beneficial bacteria in it even though I no longer have the grains?

    January 29th, 2015 12:11 pm Reply
    • Darla

      I was wondering the same thing. I use a starter culture that never dies. Is it still as beneficial as using the grains?

      February 1st, 2015 2:34 pm Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        That would be the same thing.

        February 1st, 2015 3:39 pm Reply
        • Amar

          Hello there,
          I wonder if I could ask a few questions. Is it possible to convert kefir milk powder, while maintaining the presence of microorganisms useful? If yes, can you tell me how to do it please?
          Because my friend want to study master on this product.

          Best,

          January 7th, 2016 4:09 pm Reply
  • Maria

    Thanks, now what’s the best between water kefir and kombucha please?

    January 29th, 2015 8:53 am Reply
    • Julie

      I’m definitely interested in the recommendation between kombucha and water kefir. I’ve read that kombucha is more detoxifying and kefir is a better probiotic drink. I brew both because I love them both. :)

      January 29th, 2015 6:19 pm Reply
      • Lynn

        I brew both because I like that kombucha takes a while but is low-maintenance, while water kefir is quick and bountiful but requires me to pay attention daily. I have a good daily supply, but if things get overwhelming, I can eat the excess water kefir grains (or put them in a smoothie for my kids) and cut the brew way back. Too bad I can’t stand the taste of milk kefir, or consume as much as it produces.

        January 30th, 2015 10:38 pm Reply
  • Charlene

    Interesting post, Sarah. I wonder if we run into speculation territory when we assume that more different strains of bacteria = better for health.

    I think the main thing that water kefir drinks lack that milk kefir has – assuming the milk is raw – would be enzymes like lactoferrin, phosphatase, and the vitamins A,D,K2, b12, etc. Of course, I’m assuming the culturing process itself does not damage these nutrients. Haven’t seen evidence that it does. Seems like any kind of culturing of raw milk merely enhances its nutrition by breaking down lactose – which is allergenic for some – and by allowing beneficial microbial population to grow.

    January 29th, 2015 7:51 am Reply
  • Maya

    Hi

    I have an autoimmune condition plus I am dairy (lactose) intolerant and am unable to digest coconut milk. I also have a leaky gut. I have been reading about fermented foods and am interested in trying Kefir. Could you advise as to which is the best option for me.

    January 29th, 2015 7:41 am Reply
    • Alisdair MacSoto

      I would give a try to water kefir fermented in water with sugar, molasse, etc. Still having an autoimmune condition means that you want to avoid flares, so start having very tiny amounts of water kefir for your body to get used to it and increase the amount very slowly. People with such conditions get reactions easily to anything new or with bacterias.
      I heard a doctor giving this advice to someone with CFS who reacts with intolerances to everything. After a few months she is now capable of having a two glasses of water kefir daily. Before she was reacting badly when having VSL3 a very beneficial European probiotic that is very powerful. Then the dfoctor tought her to make water kefir.
      Probiotics shouls help you something with the leaky gut, but will not necessarily be enought. Have a look at Dr. Myhill’s website on the issue of keffir and leaky gut. And since you are there look also at how to culture Mutaflor, which should also help you.

      July 4th, 2015 8:15 pm Reply
  • milena

    Hi Sarah,
    You mentioned in the other article that yogurt has streptocococcus thermophilus but in this article you say milk kefir has it too……. The only benefit probiotically of water kefir compared with milk kefir is the absence of Streptococcus thermophilus

    so it is best to stay with two cups of kefir each day? even children? raw milk and clabber have streptococoous thermophilus? thank you Sarah iam from europe Portugal and i been learn and been bless with your articles

    January 29th, 2015 6:15 am Reply
    • Alisdair MacSoto

      Traditional academic nurtrition and medicine does not consider Streptococcus Thermophilus a patogen. There are other species of streptococcus that are patogens, but not Thermophilus. This is why Europeans, Africans and Middle Easters have used Streptococcus Thermophilus to make cheese and milk cultures for thousands of years. What she is saying is that Jordin Rubin believes that it can be bad for some people with autoinmmune diseases. I ignore the scientific base for that statement, but in that case, there would be only a small portion of the population that cannot get Streptococcus Thermophilus. For the rest, the bacterial would be beneficial.

      July 4th, 2015 8:00 pm Reply
  • Christina

    Hi Sarah, thanks so much for these helpful posts! You had mentioned all of the excellent strains of good bacteria and yeasts in properly fermented kefir. I have made kefir with raw milk for maybe 2 years now, and usually let ferment 48 hours so that it is a thicker consistency (It takes longer because the house temp is cooler here in WA state). However, I took a 3 month break from dairy this summer for some focused gut healing, and it seems my kefir has never been the same since. I think it is my 3rd or 4th time round, and the kefir is runny (nearly the consistency of regular milk) regardless of how long I let it sit. I am hoping these granules (which look robust and healthy) will come back around. It could also be that it is winter so cooler temps. Just wondered if you had any input from your experience….as I want to make sure the kefir I am making is properly fermenting and still loaded with all those lovely strains. Thank you so much! :)

    January 29th, 2015 2:36 am Reply
  • lara

    MAY I ASK HOW YOU CAN DRINK MILK KEFIR IF YOU HAVE A DIARY ALLERGY?
    THAKNS SO MUCH

    January 28th, 2015 10:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      If you have a dairy allergy, make your milk kefir with coconut milk.

      January 28th, 2015 11:02 pm Reply
      • Kris

        Do you need to put the grains in dairy to refresh them between batches of making coconut milk kefir? Thanks!

        January 29th, 2015 6:52 am Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Yes … every third or fourth time in my experience.

          January 29th, 2015 9:09 am Reply
      • Sharon

        Can the milk kefir grains be put in water with some sort of sugar source in this case?

        June 3rd, 2015 6:39 pm Reply
  • Melissa

    I never seem to keep milk kefir alive. It somehow gets pushed to the back of the fridge when not in use and eventually it is forgotten. I am constantly asking friends for more grains only to have them die a slow death in the back of the fridge. However, I make water kefir, kombucha, and jun. My family and I drink these regularly. Should I still try to incorporate milk kefir in the mix even though I have so many fermented drinks already?

    January 28th, 2015 5:55 pm Reply
    • Donna

      You may already know this, but it takes a few days for the milk kefir grains to start working again after being refrigerated. It can take from 2-10 days of leaving them at room temp to get them going again. The milk needs to be changed daily. I usually use half as much milk during this stage as I would use when the grains are productive and making kefir.

      January 28th, 2015 11:48 pm Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Really? My live kefir grains work right out of the fridge … I keep them in a small mason jar in milk at all times though when they aren’t doing their fermentation magic.

        January 29th, 2015 9:11 am Reply
        • Alisdair MacSoto

          I always have to throw away my first two bunches of milk kefir when I take the grains out of the fridge. After two or three days, my grains are back to normal. May be is the milk I use. I use skimmed UHT milk. What milk do you use?

          July 4th, 2015 8:19 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    I did not know I could use dairy kefir grains for coconut milk kefir. Can I just take some of my milk kefir grains, rinse them very well with filtered water, and then put them in coconut milk? My little one could really use the probiotics but she has a severe dairy allergy. Thank you for the information.

    January 28th, 2015 2:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Yes, you will need to get the grains back into dairy milk every few times to “refresh” them and then put them back into the coconut milk though.

      January 28th, 2015 9:19 pm Reply

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