Kefir, a fermented drink, has been around for centuries and is fast gaining popularity. But is there only one type or are there different types of kefir?
While traditionally kefir was made using dairy milk, today you will find a wide range of options. In this blog, I will help you find out what these kefir options are.
12 Different Types of Kefir, You Should Be Trying
Kefir is made using kefir grains. These grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts that ferment the milk/non-milk alternatives and create a tangy, slightly carbonated beverage that has multiple health benefits.
There are several different types of kefir that can be made. I am listing out the most popular ones based on their base ingredient:
A. Dairy Milk Based Kefirs
Let’s begin by discussing the traditional types of kefir made using animal derived milk. They are made using whole, low-fat or skim versions. These kefirs are the most nutritionally rich and versatile as they are rich in calcium, protein and a variety of minerals and vitamins.
Cow Milk kefir
This is the most traditional type of kefir and is made using cow’s milk. It is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains. These grains help to break down lactose in the milk, making it easier to digest even for the lactose intolerant.
Cow milk kefir is a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D, making it an excellent choice for those who want to improve their bone health.
Goat Milk Kefir
Similar to cow’s milk kefir, goat milk kefir is made using goat’s milk. When compared to the cow milk kefir, it has a more tangy and slightly tart taste. It can take some getting used to, but it can be easily incorporated into smoothies, dips, and dressings or enjoyed on its own.
Goat milk kefir is a good alternative for people who are sensitive to cow’s milk as goat milk is more easily digested than cow’s milk.
Sheep Milk Kefir
Sheep milk kefir is made using sheep’s milk, which has a slightly sweet and rich taste. Like goat milk, it is also a good alternative for people who are allergic to cow’s milk.
Sheep milk is high in protein and is also a great source of calcium. ts unique flavour and nutrient profile make it a great addition to any healthy, well balanced diet.
You get cream kefir when you use heavy cream instead of milk for fermentation. It has a thick, creamy texture and a tangy flavour. The fermentation of cream results in a thick, creamy, and tangy product that is similar in texture to sour cream or crème fraîche.
Cream kefir is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Use it as a topping for desserts, add to smoothies or use as a base for salad dressings and dips.
B. Juice/ Water Based Kefirs 🌱
Next are different types of kefir that use water or similar products. Although rich in probiotics of good bacteria, these are not nutritionally similar to milk kefirs since they do not inherit the nutrients from their base product.
Water kefir is made using sugar water. Sugar or a sweetener is needed because the kefir grains need something to feed on for fermentation to take place.
Water kefir has a lighter, more refreshing taste than milk kefir. It is a good source of probiotics and is a great option for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. It is also low in calories, making it an ideal beverage for those who are trying to lose weight.
Coconut Water Kefir
Another refreshing type of kefir is the one made by fermenting coconut water with kefir grains. It is a dairy-free alternative to traditional milk kefir and is particularly beneficial for those with l dairy allergies.
Coconut kefir is not only a rich source of probiotics, it is also rich in electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals like potassium. You can drink it as such or use it as a base for other drinks.
Fruit Juice Kefir
Fruit juice kefir is made by fermenting fruit juice with kefir grains. This non-dairy version of kefir is a popular option for lactose intolerant and vegans. You can make your own fruit juice kefir using a variety of fruit juices, including apple, grape, and orange.
The kefir grains feed on the the natural sugars in the fruit juice are convert it into lactic acid, giving the drink a tangy and slightly sour taste. This kefir option is lower in calories than traditional milk kefir and contains no fat.
C. Plant Milk Based Kefirs 🌱
The last category in different types of kefir is the ones that use plant based milk as the base. Although you can technically make kefir using any kind of plant milk, some types of plant milks give better results. I am listing down a few options for you.
Coconut Milk Kefir
This type of kefir is made using coconut milk instead of dairy milk. Coconut milk is one of the most used types of plant milk for making kefir. Since coconut milk has carbs you will not have to add sugar to ferment it.
Coconut kefir has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste. It is also rich in probiotics and good fats.
Soy Milk Kefir
Soy milk kefir is made using soy milk instead of dairy milk. Soy milk has a slightly nutty flavour and is a good alternative for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Apart from the goodness of probiotics, soy milk milk kefir is a good source of proteins and is also a low calorie option.
Almond Milk Kefir
As the name suggests, almond milk kefir is made by fermenting almond milk with kefir grains. The resulting kefir has a slightly nutty taste and is a popular choice for people with dairy allergies or opting for a plant based diet.
One of the major advantages of almond kefir other than the probiotics is that it is low in calories. It is also high in good fats and vitamin E. You can enjoy it on its own or use it as a base for other recipes that call for the use of kefir.
Oat milk kefir
If you want a dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free option, oat milk is a great alternative. Oat milk kefir has a mild, creamy taste and since oat milk is readily available, it is quite easy to make.
Oat milk kefir is a good source of probiotics, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. It is particularly high in vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining healthy nerve function and producing red blood cells.
Rice Milk Kefir
Rice milk, a popular vegan milk, is also a popular choice for making kefir. The fermentation of rice milk is known to improve its nutritional value which make rice milk an excellent choice for kefir preparation.
The kefir made with rice milk may have s thinner texture. It is less sour in taste as compared to other types of kefir.
Overall, kefir is a versatile drink that can be adapted to suit a wide range of dietary preferences and taste preferences. Whether you prefer the tangy taste of milk kefir or the refreshing taste of water kefir, there is a type of kefir out there that is right for you.