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Raw Cultured Almond Milk “Kefir”

Body Ecology Recipes Plant Based Milk Recipes
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Are you including probiotic-rich foods in your diet? Including coconut water kefir, cultured vegetables, and this raw almond milk kefir have helped enormously to rebalance my inner eco-system, and restore my health and vitality. I wrote about many of these ideas in my how to section when I started the site a few years ago. But, it has been remiss of me not to have posted these very important recipes here on the blog. I will share these recipes in the next couple of months.  

Those of you who have been following me for a while would be familiar with my life-long battle with candida. You can read more about my personal story here. But, just briefly, I had tried every anti-candida diet known to man, and nothing really worked until I discoved the Body Ecology Diet. I committed to stage 1 of the diet for over a year, and still maintain many of the principles of the protocol in my diet today. 

Whilst Scott and I now maintain a vegan alkaline diet as developed by Dr Robert O Young, I still include cultured foods in my diet every day. Dr Young does not recommend fermented foods. However, my personal experience has been that unless I embrace a fully raw alkaline diet, probiotics are needed to keep my digestive tract balanced. We are all individuals, and this is the right balance for me at the moment. So, I consume just a little bit of live, raw probiotic foods every day.

One of my favourite probiotic foods is kefir. This fermented, microbial-rich food has been used as a drink and a tonic for centuries in Eastern European countries and the Middle East. It has become extremely popular in the West too. Kefir is traditionally made with cow's milk or goat’s milk, and widely available in both forms. But, you can purchase or make plant based milk kefir as well. Coconut milk kefir and coconut water kefir is now commercially available at many health food stores, and you can also make kefir from other dairy free milks like soy milk and almond milk. 

All kefir has a slightly tart and sour taste similar to yoghurt, and is extremely beneficial to health. Kefir is loaded with good bacteria and essential vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, and amino acids. It also has natural antibiotic and antifungal properties, and helps to fight infection and disease. Kefir also helps to cleanse the endocrine system, flush out the liver, and clean and tone the colon.

Kefir is also a brilliant digestive aid. It helps to line our digestive tract with protective mucous, combats putrefactive bacteria, and helps to destroy parasites, thus reducing gas and bloating. It is just a magic food! But, please remember that kefir is extremely potent and powerful. A small amount a day is all you need. Kefir has a natural, gentle laxative effect and can really get things moving! Too much will have you paying homage to the toilet bowl more times than you would like! Trust me, I've done it! I'll save that story for my coconut water kefir post. Oh My...

Cow's milk and goat's milk kefir is typically made using gelatinous white or yellow “kefir grains”. You can also make water kefir (I will share that recipe in the coming months as well) with water kefir grains. However, to make plant based/dairy free kefir, I find the traditional grains difficult to work with,  particularly for those making kefir for the first time. I also prefer not to use them as I don't consume dairy or dairy by-products. But more importantly, these grains are easily contaminated, and it can be challenging to get consistent results and accurately measure the degree of colonization in each batch.

After years of making almond milk kefir, I think the easiest way to get the most consistent results is to add really high quality vegetarian probiotic capsules. Always purchase the kind that are stored in the fridge in the health food store, and keep them cold. All you do is break them open, and add them to your almond milk. This method is also preferable for vegans, and those with severe dairy allergies.

Just a few things to note when making almond milk kefir. Unlike my raw almond milk, where I use a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of almonds to water, you will want to add some more water to the blender in order to make almond milk kefir. I find a 1:7 or 1:8 cup ratio works the best for me. Just remember not to use a metal spoon to stir the probiotics thorugh the almond milk. This can damage the delicate microbial organisms. 

You can get really creative with this kefir. But, I keep it plain and unsweetened. I prefer to add a cup to smoothies and puddings, and then flavour to taste. Either way, give this simple recipe a try and reap the healthy rewards! I will share my favourite almond kefir smoothie recipe tomorrow! 

Raw Cultured Almond Milk “Kefir”

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  1. Rinse and drain your almonds thoroughly.
  2. Blend almonds and water in your Vitamix for about 2 minutes until nuts are completely pulverized.
  3. Strain the milk with a nut milk bag into a large glass bowl. 
  4. Add the contents of about 4 probiotic capsules and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Do not use any metal implements as this can damage the delicate probiotics.
  5. Cover the bowl with a breathable cloth (I use a flour sac cloth) and allow to stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 12 hours. You may need more time depending on how stable and warm the environment is. You can wrap the bowl with a towel to insulate the bowl for better results if you have a cold room temperature.
  6. After about 12 hours, your mixture should look like a yellow “almond water” with a thick layer of scum/fat/foam on top, and smell fermented like yoghurt. If there is just a thin layer and not much odor, it is not quite done. 
  7. Gently skim this fat off with a spoon and keep for use in smoothies and puddings.
  8. Strain the remaining liquid with a fine mesh strainer.
  9. Optional: Reserve about ½ cup of the kefir to infuse the next batch instead of using capsules. I make make about 3 - 4 batches this way. Then I start over with fresh capsules again.
  10. Store the kefir in sealed glass mason jar in the fridge for up to a week.
  11. You can flavour and sweeten to taste with alcohol free vanilla extract, liquid stevia, cinnamon, low sugar fruit etc or just leave plain and add 1 cup to smoothies. This is what I do. 
  12. NOTE: Kefir is potent. Start with ¼ cup a day until your system can tolerate it. Then consume up to 1 cup a day. Kefir has a natural laxative effect, and too much will really get things moving! 
  13. Makes about 5 - 6 cups kefir. About a week's supply for one person. 

Tip: the best way to clean your blender

After blending up something sticky, gooey or smelly, just place a few drops of soap in the carriage with some warm water and blend on high until all of the congealed food slips away from the blades and sides. Then repeat this process. Then rinse with water and presto! Clean carriage. 
If you have smells or stains repeat this process with some bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice and water. 
Check out the video on A No Hassle Way To Clean Your Blender that I did as part of the Chow Tips Series.

Awesome! I’m a total kefir addict, so I’ll have to try it. :)

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Me too! I love coconut water kefir and this almond milk kefir. This is AMAZING in smoothies. Enjoy :)

hi there,
oink oink!! i get probiotic tablets that have 100 billion bacteria per capsule.. would i still use 4 or just maybe 2??
also is the capsules content/bacteria the same as “cultures” you get to make yoghurt?

thanx blender girl ;)

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I would still use 4 to be safe. The capsules I used were really powerful too. Yes, you can absolutely make yoghurt this way too. I make raw coconut yoghurt this way all the time!  YUMMO! Enjoy :)

I thought kefir was made with kefir grains not probiotic capsules.  ??

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Yes, traditionally it is made with kefir grains. Please read my whole post where I explain everything in detail.

I read the whole post. It really is not kefir if you don’t use kefir grains. It’s a yoghurt drink. Much like what you can buy in Turkey.

OK. Catriona. I have put the kefir in “” for you. I have called it cultured milk. But, this is still the most accessible and easiest way to culture milk for people who don’t want to buy grains.

do you need to skim the fat off the top and strain?
can one just re-miz it all together and drink as a thicker milk?
thanks

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You can reblend together. However, you will get some bits as it sits that may not be desirable. But, if you don’t mind that, I say, go for it and enjoy :)

I’m curious as to which probiotic brand you use? I just purchased some New Chapter All-Flora probiotics after reading a recipe for vegan cheese in the book “The Concious Cook”. I’m interested to hear which type of probiotic you like to use.

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There are quite a few on the market that are good. The Jarrow Formulas 5 Billion capsules are amazing. The Solaray Multidophilus 20 Billion capsules are also good. You can also use the powders. I always empty the capsules anyway. I never swallow the capsules. I hope this helps.

That sounds amazing!! :)
But I have a question: do I need to use almonds, or could I try using cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias or other nuts/seeds too?

Greetings from Austria! Bettina

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You can absolutely use other plant based milks and use this same principle to make yoghurt “kefir’. I just like coconut and almond because they are alkaline and have mild flavours. Let me know how you go!

Hi!
Great recipe! I was wondering if I could also make this kefir with a yoghurtstarter with Bifidus bacteria?

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Hey Johanna,
Yes, you absolutely could. Enjoy :)

Thank you for the quick reply.
I took a taste this morning and it was a succes :)

Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your experience. It is so helpful to others. Enjoy :)

Hi there! Was wondering, does this need to be done in a vitamix, or would I be able to make using a traditional blender/food processor with same results? Thank you!

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Rachel, you can absolutely make this in a conventional blender. You will just have to blend for longer and pulverize as much as possible and then strain.

I make almond water kefir with water kefir. Instead of water, I use water kefir since I brew it and grow the grains. Comes out great!

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MaryEllen Seehafer - Aug 12, 2014 at 05:25pm #

Barbara, can you explain that more please? I make water kefir myself and am curious what exactly you are making! I’m always wanting to learn.

MaryEllen - you blend the almonds with the water kefir instead of plain water.

sonia regina

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Please, I didn’t understand. I make kefir with raw almond milk (7 or 8 cups water?

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Yes. I make regular almond milk with a 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water ratio. But, for the purposes of almond milk kefir you will get the best results with a more diluted solution. So, 7 cups is best.

Why so complicated? Can I just use commercial almondmilk and the kefir grains that I already have?  I guess something sweet needs to be in there, so maybe for kefir purposes I need to buy the sweetened kind….

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I make this all in less than 10 minutes, so I don’t find it complicated. I also find that the probiotic powder yields to most uniform results. However, I do love kefir grains and use them to make water kefir. I was trying to make this accessible to people that don’t have kefir grains. You can absolutely use kefir grains in this recipe. I don’t like to use commercial almond milk because it contains additives, preservatives, and no live enzymes. You also don’t need a sweetener when you use probiotic powder which technically isn’t “kefir” but is still cultured.

Hi, could you provide a couple of probiotic powders you would recommend?  The one you link to in the recipe has been discontinued.  Thanks!

Christie - I like the VSL 3 brand or Solaray.

I’m very excited to discover the idea of non-dairy Kefir. However, I’m curious, what are the added benefits of making kefir as a means of consuming the probiotic powder versus just taking the probiotic capsules daily? I saw you mentioned you never take the capsules. Why is that?

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I love the taste of kefir or cultured milk, and think it’s a tasty tangy way to get your probiotics. It’s also a living probiotic-rich food. You can absolutely add probiotic powder to smoothies or dissolve in water or milk. I don’t use the capsules because the outer coating can be difficult to digest. If you have capsules, simply break them open and consume the powder.

Hi. I can’t access the link in this sentence: “Those of you who have been following me for a while would be familiar with my life-long battle with candida. You can read more about my personal story here. “

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Sorry Dee, there was a glitch to my about page. I have just fixed it. Thanks for your interest.

Hi, thank you very much for this post!  I wonder if I could just blend 2 tablespoons of almond butter with 3 cups of water to make almond milk, and add some probiotics powder? I am thinking of getting Healthforce Nutritionals probiotics as it is vegan.  Has anyone tried this method or used this brand of probiotics? What if I use home made rejuvelac to blend with the almond butter? Thanks for your reply.

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