Kefir Grains for Milk, Coconut Milk and More

Kefir Grains for Milk, Coconut Milk and More

Milk Kefir is a probiotic food that contains a miriad of bioactive lactobacteria that help fight against tumors, harmful microbes, carcinogens and more. Kefir is also immensely helpful in improving many digestive and immune related health issues. It has also been shown to improve skin, help with headaches and migraines, regulate blood sugar, improve mood and help the body to process essential vitamins and assist in ridding the body of excess toxins like sugar and mycotoxins found in many grains and processed foods.

Milk kefir does more in a morning than standard mesophilic or thermophilic yogurt does in a year. It contains all 9 essential amino acids as as well as 10-34 beneficial bacteria, as opposed to your typical store bought yogurt which only has 2-7 strains. Store bought yogurt contains transient bacteria (they move through the system and go but do not stay) whereas kefir contains bacteria that actually attach to the walls and colonize to remain in the gut and regulate. They’re aggressive in nature and actually pursue and attack pathogens and bad bacteria in your gut. This is a particularly strong strain of kefir grain hailing from Ireland; much much stronger than your average store bought kefir.

I brought these grains back from Ireland and they produce a smooth, thick, not overly pungent drinking yogurt kefir. I have fed it almost exclusively with milk from local Oregon farms since our move back from Northern Ireland. It has had organic milk but most of our organic farms heat their milk too high and essentially kill the milk so that there is really nothing for the kefir grains to feed on. I have cultured raw local goat milk with it and both standard and jersey whole milk from local farms. I also use it to culture coconut milk for a drinking milk as well as a very thick coconut yogurt. It will culture most any milk but it takes 2-3 days to adjust to a new environment. You can use these grains to culture hemp milk, almond and most any nut milk, rice milk and oat milk. Carefully read the ingredients to be sure they are free from xanthan gum, carrageenan (both are inflammatory) and any chemicals you wouldn’t want to ingest. Kefir does not like chemicals and hormones and if you put it in an environment full of them it will revolt or get sick. If you are using non-dairy milks you will need to refresh them with real, fresh, hormone free, non-ultrapasturized dairy milk once in a while.

I love milk kefir.  I should be subdued and say “I really like it” and not come off as a weirdo but the truth is that it has so many health benefits and makes me feel so good that “love” is probably more accurate.  I drink at least a cup per day and culture just shy of 2 liters per day for myself and my family.  Mostly we drink it.  I have developed an allergy to cow’s milk so these days I make mine with coconut milk and drink straight or with a bit of raw cinnamon (no sugar) stirred in.  My kids prefer it with a bit of raw honey (mixed with a bit of water to keep the two strains of bacteria from fighting) and we also put it in smoothies. 

I bake with it as it’s a great replacement for buttermilk and also means I can leave out baking powder in a lot of recipes… because baking powder is often full of crap. Not literally, but who wants to eat aluminum and chemicals? Not me. It makes our bread soft and fluffy, our muffins puffy and as the grains eat up most or all of the lactose in the milk it is also kind on the tummy. It also makes a killer awesome coconut yogurt, which is totally worth the extra fiddling it sometimes takes to make. So there is my schpeal as to why I think it’s wonderful. It’s even better if you can find a local source of humanely treated Jersey cows for the milk as they produce milk much higher in protein.

If you are not accustomed to milk kefir, start slowly with consuming 1 Tbsp per day and double every few days until you can drink a glass.  Some people experience candida die off and will have flu like symptoms if they hit it too hard too fast.  This is good, but does not feel good when it happens to you.  My son and I did this when we started drinking it and were knocking back a pint glass daily.  His symptoms were worse than mine (which only lasted about 2 hours) and he had a rash on top of what looked like a flu for more than half the day.  I was able to flush it out with water kefir after a bit of a bacteria epiphany, but I would still recommend starting it slowly as people vary in their health and for some it could last for days.

I mail grains out on Mondays and Tuesdays only to avoid having them stuck in the mail over the weekend. When you receive them rinse them out in your mesh sieve with non-chlorinated water and put them in a clean glass jar with the appropriate amount of milk, leaving 1-2″ of room at the top to avoid explosions. Watch the magic and enjoy!

Supplies are needed for culturing so please read through the care and directions before purchasing.

Milk Kefir Care & Directions:

Grains need new milk, coconut milk or coconut water every 8-14 hours. You will need 2 glass jars with plastic or spring/clamp lids, a nylon mesh sieve and an appropriate size funnel.

I use a 5.5” stainless steel funnel, 5.5” nylon mesh strainer, and glass mason jars with wide mouth plastic lids or regular mouth plastic lids.

Use whole milk (pasteurized is fine but not ultra-pasteurized). I have used organic valley grass fed, Market of Choice’s own brand regular hormone free whole milk, and Garry’s. If you can’t afford non-ultrapasturized organic milk, you will need to find your own local source. Some regular pasturized milks are still heated too high during processing and therefore do not give the kefir grains the food they need, because the milk is essentially dead or at least part dead. Think of your kefir (and all probiotic organisms you plan to culture) like a beloved pet and you’ll find you fare better in keeping it alive. Kefir’s needs and wants periodically change and you’ll need to be adaptable.

Strain the grains using a fine mesh sieve into a new jar. I used to use a screw top 2Qt Mason but now I use a hermetic sealing jug and store it in the fridge for drinking, breadmaking etc.

Weigh the grains in a glass jar and add milk proportionally. Store on counter out of direct sunlight for 8-18 hours. Optimal temperature is 22 degrees Celsius/ 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The process will be slower at lower temperatures and faster at higher temperature.

Coconut milk or coconut water (pure), home made hemp, almond, rice, oat, macadamia, cashew milk can also be used but the grains will need to be refreshed once in a while with real hormone free non-ultra pasteurized milk.

Proportions are as follows:

5g/1/2 Tbsp grains to 250ml/ 1/2 pint milk

10g/1Tbsp grains to 0.5 Litre/ 1 Pint milk

(20g/2Tbsp to 1 liter/1 quart milk)

Decide how much you will consume and buy the appropriate jars:

1 Pint/16oz/500ml Glass Mason

1 Quart/32oz/1 Liter Glass Mason

2 Quart/64oz/2 Liter Glass Mason




Amino Acid, Lactobacteria & Nutritional Profile of Milk Kefir:

22 amino acids (that we know of) Amino acids help with muscle growth and repair.

9 essential amino acids: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, and Histidine
Non essential amino acids include: Cysteine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Asparagine, Glutamic Acid, Tyrosine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamine.

Milk kefir contains 18 amino acids; and all 9 essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids in milk kefir: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine, histamine.

Amino acids mg/100g

Isoleucin 190
Leucine 340
Lysine 300
Methionine 88
Cystine 21
Phenylalanine 170
Tyrosine 170
Threonine 140
Tryptophan 47
Valine 240
Arginine 120
Histidine 93
Alanine 120
Aspartic acid 280
Glutamic acid 660
Glycine 77
Proline 330
Serine 190

Milk kefir contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin (which promotes the body’s production of collagen), folate, enzymes and probiotics. Because kefir does not have a standardized nutrition content, the content values can vary based on the cows, cultures and region where it’s produced. Yet even with the range in values, kefir has superior nutrition.
For example, one cup (8oz) of store-bought whole milk kefir has about: (15)

  • 160 calories
  • 12 grams carbohydrates
  • 10 grams protein
  • 8 grams fat
  • 300 milligrams calcium (30 percent DV)
  • 100 IU vitamin D (25 percent DV)
  • 500 IU vitamin A (10 percent DV)

14 oz of Milk Kefir contains:
Protein: 20 grams
Potassium: 686 grams
Vitamin C: 14% daily values
Calcium 56% daily values

Source: National Food Institute – Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Danish Food Composition Databank – ed. 7.01

Milk, cultured, kefir
Refuse: 0%
Content pr. 100 g Unit Content Variation No. Source
Energy kJ 269 00050
Protein, total [NCF: 6.38] g 3.5 2.9 – 4.1 60 T0325
total-N g 0.5 0.5 – 0.6 60 00050
Fat, total [FACF: 0.945] g 3.6 3.1 – 4.1 233 T0325
saturated fatty acids g 2.3 00050
monounsaturated fatty acids g 1.0 00050
polyunsaturated fatty acids g 0.1 00050
Carbohydrate, total g 4.5 00050
carbohydrate, available g 4.5 00050
added sugar g 0 00000
dietary fibre g 0 00000
Alcohol g 0 00000
Ash g 0.8 T0325
Moisture g 87.6 233 T0325

Vitamin A RE 31.9 00050
retinol µg 30.6 00050
ß-carotene eq. µg 15.8 00050
Vitamin D µg 0.101 00050
D3 cholecalciferol µg 0.101 00050
D2 ergocalciferol µg
25-hydroxycholecalciferol µg
Vitamin E α-TE 0.092 00050
alpha-tocopherol mg 0.092 00050
Vitamin K µg 0 00000

Vitamin B1, thiamin mg 0.045 0.043 – 0.046 2 T0325
Vitamin B2, riboflavin mg 0.203 0.179 – 0.223 4 T0325
Niacin equivalents NE 0.870 00050
niacin mg 0.087 0.080 – 0.094 2 T0325
tryptophan NE 0.783 00050
Vitamin B6 mg 0.038 0.034 – 0.041 2 T0325
Pantothenic Acid mg 0.31 T0333
Biotin µg 3.5 T0333
Folates µg 21.0 12.0 – 37.0 48 T0333
Vitamin B12 µg 0.18 0.120 – 0.230 2 T0325
Vitamin C mg 0.3 0.100 – 0.800 20 T0325
L-Ascorbic Acid mg
L-Dehydroascorbic acid mg

Sodium, Na mg 49.0 38.6 – 59.4 9 T0157
Potassium, K mg 155 132 – 178 9 T0157
Calcium, Ca mg 127 108 – 146 24 T0325
Magnesium, Mg mg 12.7 10.8 – 14.6 24 T0325
Phosphorus, P mg 95 81.0 – 109 27 T0325
Iron, Fe mg 0.05 0.050 – 0.056 2 T0325
Copper, Cu mg 0.01 T0157
Zinc, Zn mg 0.44 T0157
Iodine, I µg 24.3 12.5 – 37.1 24 T0156
Manganese, Mn mg 0.009 4 T0325
Chromium, Cr µg 0.052 18 02099
Selenium, Se µg 1.3 00100
Nickel, Ni µg 2 0.400 – 7.00 4 T0325

Milk kefir contains 18 amino acids; and all 9 essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids in milk kefir: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine, histamine.

Here is a listing of the typical strains of probiotics and beneficial yeasts in kefir, according to the Journal Food Microbiology (

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 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)

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Raw milk has not been processed to remove pathogens that can cause illness. The consumption of raw milk may significantly increase the risk of foodborne illness in persons who consume it — particularly with respect to certain highly-susceptible populations such as preschool-age children, older adults, pregnant women, persons experiencing illness, and other people with weakened immune systems.

hermetic sealing jug