Cooking and Baking with Kefir

cookingbaking01

Our Favorite Kefir Recipes:

The following are a collection of some of our favorite kefir recipes and common sense ideas from around the Internet. It should be noted that this is a collection of both milk kefir and water kefir recipes, and that a distinction will be made on which version to use. It might sound odd at first to use kefir in your everyday cooking and baking, but once you try it we think you’ll be a fan. Kefir adds rich flavor (like buttermilk), tenderness (like yogurt), and super fluffiness (like nothing else): because kefir is carbonated, it practically “rises” itself. While kefir is delicious when consumed on its own, it also makes a brilliant base for flavored milkshakes or lassi-style beverages. Have fun with kefir; it is an awesome ingredient that will change the way you eat!

Kefir for Breakfast

Blend up a powerful probiotic smoothie with half a banana, a half-cup of blueberries and a half-cup of low fat kefir. Add some tang to your morning by enjoying a wholesome bowl of muesli topped with strawberry-flavored kefir. Have kefir juice with your breakfast cereal, instead of orange juice, by mixing half a cup of probiotic kefir with half a cup of pure fruit juice. Use kefir instead of buttermilk in your favorite pancake or waffle recipe.

Whole Grain Kefir Pancakes (milk kefir)

pancakes

Makes about 12 small-medium pancakes. Kefir (an effervescent fermented milk drink) is the secret to these fluffy pancakes. The recipe is easily doubled to serve more people, or to ensure leftovers for snacks later on.

Ingredients

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour*

3 Tb fresh wheat germ

1 tsp unrefined sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 large egg

1 cup kefir (OR buttermilk OR yogurt thinned with a bit of milk)

2 Tb unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted, plus more for frying

Maple syrup, jam, preserves, fresh fruit and/or yogurt for serving

*You can substitute different whole grain flour for the whole-wheat flour.

Examples: whole spelt flour, whole barley flour, whole oat flour, buckwheat flour, or fine corn flour.

You can also try amaranth flour, quinoa flour, or millet flour.

Directions

In a medium bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour (or other whole grain flour), the wheat germ, the sugar, the salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg. Add the kefir and whisk well. Slowly whisk in the melted butter until evenly blended. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well. You can mix the wet and dry ingredients more thoroughly than regular pancake batter because the wheat bran and germ will prevent the batter from getting gluey. The batter will be a bit thicker than regular pancake batter. Let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking (this allows the whole grain and wheat germ to absorb liquid).

Start heating two frying pans over medium-low heat. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter or coconut oil in each frying pan and let melt. Using 2 to 4 tablespoons of batter per pancake, drop or pour batter onto the heated pan. The batter will seem quite thick when you look at it, but it should be aerated with lots of bubbles when you spoon it onto the pan. You should fit 3 to 4 pancakes per pan. When bubbles just begin to show on the surface, flip pancakes and cook on the other side for a minute or two (this is a bit earlier than you normally flip pancakes, but it essential to the fluffy end texture). Adjust the heat, as you need to prevent the pancakes from burning or undercooking.

Serve cooked pancakes immediately with maple syrup or any of the toppings mentioned above. Leftover pancakes may be reheated, or eaten cold with jam and peanut butter.

Raspberry Kefir Coffee Cake (milk kefir)

raspberrccake

3 cups flour,

divided 1 baking powder

.5 tsp baking soda

.25 tsp salt

1-cup butter

1.5 cups sugar

2 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest

2 eggs at room temperature

1-cup plain yogurt or kefir

2.5 cups fresh raspberries

1 cup powdered (icing) sugar

1 T water

.5 tsp almond extract

Directions

•Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a large Bunt pan (I think it’s 12 cups), and sprinkle with flour

•Whisk together dry: 2.5 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and .25 tsp salt in a medium bowl.

•In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in kefir or yogurt.

•Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir until just mixed (some streaks of flour are OK).

•Toss .5 cup flour and the raspberries together in a separate bowl. This will coat them, and keep them from mushing in the cake’s assembly. Fold a few of the raspberries into the batter until it’s just stained with pink.

•Spoon half of the batter into pan and smooth. Add remaining raspberries (see above picture), and top with remaining second half of batter. Smooth with a spatula.

•Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Whisk icing sugar, water and .5 tsp almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle over cake, and let stand.

Kefir at Lunch

Add good bacteria to your salad greens by tossing them with a light and refreshing kefir salad dressing. Stir a quarter cup of plain kefir into a creamy bowl of butternut squash soup. Enjoy with a sandwich made with toasted sourdough bread made with kefir. Try thickened kefir atop perogies instead of sour cream for a twist on an Eastern European favorite.

Kefir with Dinner

Instead of sour cream, spoon thickened kefir onto a baked potato for a probiotic boost. Top with chives and serve along side a grilled steak and side salad. Stir in a quarter cup of kefir to your favorite cream soup - just before serving - for a touch of appetizing tartness. Top a savory mutton stew with creamy kefir. Serve with a slice of whole-wheat crusty bread. For a perfectly tenderized steak, marinate your choicest cut in half a cup of kefir overnight. Season to taste and grill. For a complete entree, serve with a generous helping of green beans and julienne carrots.

Kefir Bread (milk kefir)

3 cups flour

3 cups kefir

1.5 tsp baking soda

1.5 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter

Directions

Mix these together well, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area. After twenty-four hours the dough should be liquidy and bubbly. At this point beat the dough well and add: 1.5 tsp baking soda 1.5 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter 3 cups of flour Beat this together well and knead in enough flour by hand to make a soft dough. When it will hold the shape of a loaf, divide the dough into two piles. Shape the loaves and place them into two well-greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise. When the bread rises to the top of the pans, pop it into a preheated 350F oven for about 30 minutes. The crust will be quite brown, and if you knock on the bottom, the loaves will sound hollow.

Curry Sauce (water kefir)

curry

We've also used kefir in curry sauces (instead of coconut milk). Kefir works really well with the Pataks curry paste - with chicken or prawns - where you add about glass of kefir once the meat and onion are cooked in the paste. The result is a delicious creamy sauce. We've tried Pataks Korma and Tikka Masala pastes.

Spiced Kefir (milk kefir)

There is so much to experiment with adding spices to kefir, here is a an example that is something like a spicy lassi:

•    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

•    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

•    1.5 teaspoons ground turmeric

•    1 teaspoon ground coriander

I have noticed a rather strange thing happening to this combination of kefir and spices. After about 3 or 4 days being carried around in my bag (it takes me a while to get through it), the cream in the kefir spontaneously forms little spicy buttery globules that float on top. They are slightly similar in shape to popcorn, and between the size of a pea and a grape. I think the agitation caused by being in my bag whilst walking may play a part in their formation. They're lovely to eat, spicy and creamy if you are brave enough to eat them. You could also skim them out and then you've got naturally fat-reduced kefir (if that's your thing).

Kefir for Dessert

Mix a half-cup of cold, refreshing kefir with one tablespoon of maple syrup and half a shredded apple. Top with few crushed pecan nuts and enjoy this sweet and nutritious treat!

Blend a mango, a few strawberries and a peach together with one cup of plain kefir.

Freeze in a Popsicle mold and enjoy as an alternative to frozen yogurt. 

frozentreats