How to Make Homemade Plant-Milk Kefir (Almond Milk & Oat Milk)

Mar 23, 2023| By JOI team

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Mar 23, 2023| By JOI team

How to Make Homemade Plant-Milk Kefir (Almond Milk & Oat Milk)

Almond Milk | Almond-Base | Beverage | Breakfast | Cashew Milk | Cashew-Base | Dairy-Free | Oat-Powder | Vegan | Vegetarian | Yogurt | 

If you're looking for a dairy-free alternative to traditional kefir, making kefir at home with plant-based milk is a great option. With the help of Cultures for Health's powdered kefir starter culture, you can easily make homemade kefir with JOI. A delicious kefir made with clean, nutritious plant milk can be yours with just a little planning.

What Equipment Do You Need to Make Homemade Kefir?

DIY kefir can be prepared with a few simple household items you've probably got sitting around.
  • One glass or plastic container, at least 1 quart in size
  • A coffee filter or cheesecloth to cover the container during fermentation
  • A rubber band to secure the cover (yes that gets its own separate bullet point)

That's it!  Next up, gather your ingredients.

What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Homemade Kefir?

Basically, you need two ingredients:  plant milk and kefir starter culture.

First, you'll need JOI milk concentrate to make your plant milk.  It's shelf stable, so maybe it's already in your pantry? If so, grab some and blend up nutritious, delicious plant milk in just 30 seconds.  No gums, fillers or added oils!  

For kefir, we're using a blend of almond (or cashew) JOI milk with oat JOI milk.  More on "why" this combination works well for kefir, below.

Secondly, to activate the fermentation of the milk, you have a few options.  We've chosen the "beginner" route:  kefir starter culture powder.  We're using Cultures for Health's powder, and it couldn't be easier to use.

bag of JOI oat milk powder along a bag of Cultures for health kefir starter and a bucket of JOI cashew milk concentrate

How Do I Make Homemade Kefir?

If you don't have JOI milk already blended in your refrigerator, start there.  Prepare 1 quart of homemade JOI milk for culturing.  We used 2 cups of JOI almond milk plus 2 cups of JOI oat milk. 

Let's break that down:  place 4 cups of water in a blender and add in 4 Tablespoons of almond (or cashew) JOI milk concentrate and 4 Tablespoons of JOI oat milk concentrate.  Blend for 30 seconds. Congrats, you just made homemade almond-oat milk!

Next, pour your milk into a jar.  We used a glass ball jar.

Grab your kefir starter culture and add one packet to your container. Give it a gentle stir until it's all dissolved and happy.

Now it's time to cover your container with something like a coffee filter or cheesecloth. We want to keep those pesky bugs out, but still let our kefir breathe. Secure it with a rubber band, and voila!

Next, find your little kefir a warm, cozy spot to hang out in. Ideally, we want to keep it at room temperature (around 72-74°F) for 12-18 hours. The longer we let it culture, the tangier and thicker it will become - yum!

After patiently waiting, it's time to check out your creation. Your plant-based kefir should be thick and creamy, just like buttermilk or heavy cream, with a slightly sour, less sweet aroma. If you prefer it even thicker, try adding some more oat milk powder per cup of water.

And now for the best part - tasting your homemade kefir! If you love it (and we're sure you will), cover it up tightly and pop it in the fridge for later. EnJOI!

Health Benefits of Kefir

Let's take a step back, though.  You may be asking yourself, "Why should I make kefir anyway?!"

Kefir is a fermented drink that is full of good bacteria and yeast beneficial for gut health. These good bacteria and yeast help to balance the gut microbiome, boost immunity, and promote overall digestive health.

By making your own kefir at home, you can control the ingredients and ensure that you're getting the full health benefits of kefir without any added sugars or preservatives.

Making kefir with plant-based milk is a great option for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or simply looking for a dairy-free alternative to traditional dairy kefir. With the help of Cultures for Health's kefir starter culture and JOI, you can maximize the nutrition and health benefits of every drop of kefir.

ball jar filled with milk and kefir topped with cheesecloth

 

Flavoring Your Kefir

Once you have made your homemade plant milk kefir, you can flavor it with your favorite ingredients.

Adding a sweetener like dates, maple syrup, or honey can help balance the tangy flavor of the kefir.

Cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg are also great additions that give your kefir a warm, comforting taste.

For those looking to add an extra enhancement, try adding a pinch of turmeric.  Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

You can also experiment with different types of fruit, such as berries, bananas, or mango, to add a fruity, sweet, nutritional twist to your kefir.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring your kefir, so have fun and get creative with your ingredients!

Using and Drinking Kefir

Kefir can be used in a variety of ways.

It's a great alternative to yogurt in smoothies.  Also, it can be added to oatmeal or cereal for a creamy texture.

You can also enjoy it straight out of the jar as a drink.

Kefir can also be used as a base for salad dressings or dips, giving your dishes a tangy kick. But, note:  when using kefir in cooking, it's important to avoid heating it, as high temperatures can destroy the beneficial bacteria and yeast.

With its versatility and health benefits, kefir is a great addition to any meal.  Have fun experimenting with kefir in the kitchen!

jar of homemade kefir

Understanding the Differences Between Almond Milk and Dairy Milk Kefir

It's important to note the differences between dairy milk and almond milk when it comes to making kefir.

Dairy milk contains high levels of lactose, which is a type of sugar.

The cultures in kefir grains and starters feed on lactose, which provides the necessary sugar for fermentation.

However, homemade JOI almond milk is devoid of added sugar (unlike many store-bought almond milks - that's a good thing!), which makes it more challenging to culture. To compensate for this lack of lactose sugar, we've added oat milk powder to provide the necessary fuel for fermentation. 

Makes sense, right?! 

Inspired to Make Some Other From-Scratch Recipes?

Try making plant-based yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream at home with JOI!  Our recipe blog is filled with ideas, from creamer to ice cream and everything in between.  

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3 comments

  • If I need to bring the carbohydrates level of oat milk up to make Kefir , what is the best way how much dates, honey or sugar should I add what is the best way and how do I measure the proportion. Is it say One date blended into the milk (500 ml) or x grams sugar/honey ?

    Ian Mangan
  • Do you have to use the starter powder each time or can you inoculate a new batch with a small amount of the previous batch like you do with yogurt?

    Mikel
  • Sounds delicious! Is it possible to make in instantpot? 😊 Thank you!

    Jolene Sabirai

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