Like yoghurt, milk kefir contains probiotic bacteria. It is a sour, fermented drink full of gut-friendly live cultures that resembles thin yoghurt with a slight effervescence. It is made from milk (from cows, goats or sheep) combined with kefir grains and left to ferment at room temperature for several days. The microbial activity of the grains – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, also known as a Scoby – converts the lactose and protein in the milk into a delicious probiotic drink.
Kefir originated in the Northern Caucasus mountain region, then travelled into up into Russia and across Eastern Europe, where it continues to be a popular drink. Kefir is similar to kombucha, in that it needs a scoby to begin the process – in this case, kefir grains. However, the grains (which look like little cheese curds) reproduce with each new brew so anyone who brews it will have some to spare or they can be purchased online.
Kefir can be consumed on its own for a probiotic boost – it has more microbial activity than yoghurt due to its different bacterial strains and yeast content. It can also be added to smoothies in place of yoghurt, used as a marinade and mixed with cereal.
How to make Milk Kefir