Books on Kefir

July 1, 2011

Neither of the libraries I have access to had books devoted to kefir, so the books I found discussing kefir were either DIY or the advantages of eating a fermented/probiotic diet. A lot of these same books also talked about making yogurt.

Better Than Store-Bought by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie, 1979

Kefir is a blip in this book. They agree that the kefirs in the store are not real imported kefir, and describe the real stuff as “thin as buttermilk but smooth, not curdy, and has a less acid flavor than yogurt or sour cream.” However, they use a starter from a store bought “kefir,” which I find is a little hypocritical, and they process it like yogurt in that you add a little bit at warm temperatures and let it be for 8-24 hours. They do suggest adding honey and vanilla or having it with strawberries.

Fresh Food from Small Spaces by RJ Ruppenthal, 2008

I mentioned this book two weeks ago devoting a chapter of 15 pages to making yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods, which is justified for being part of the book as adding nutritional value to food in a minimal amount of space.

Ruppenthal believes that kefir grains were probably the parent of yogurt, and he lists websites which one can get the grains from. He was the first reference I have come across that suggested that kefir is UV sensitive and should be kept in a cupboard, and he spends three full pages talking about making kefir. However, I was a little confused at times if the processes he was talking about was meant for milk based kefir or juice/water based kefir. Still, I probably quoted him the most on this topic this week.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., 2001 

As mentioned two weeks ago, this book does have a page on kefir. It talks you though how to make kefir, and how to take the kefir grains and prepare them for long term storage. The side of the page suggests that kefir has antibiotic properties, but not exactly what. It also claims that it does not bother those who are lactose intolerant. It also says that kefir is the only milk culture that forms grains.

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, 2002

In addition to yogurt, labneh, and kishk, this book talks about kefir and suggests making buckwheat pancakes with kefir. Katz also suggests that if a recipe calls for buttermilk that kefir can be substituted just fine.

Cheesemaking books that include kefir:

  • Homemade Cheese by Janet Hurst. She includes yogurt, lebneh, and kefir.

Additional nutritional and/or alternative diet books which have a few pages regarding making and consuming kefir (similar to Wild Fermentation):

  • Probiotic Foods for Good Health by Beatrice Trum Hunter, 2008. A lot on the nutritional value of kefir.
  • Truly Cultured by Nancy Lee Bentley, 2007. There is a milk recipe borrowed from Nourishing Traditions, and recommended a website for more information. There was also a coconut kefir recipe. It talks a lot about diet and what not, but there is no index, and the book is to help promote products they sell to make stuff like kefir.
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2 Responses to “Books on Kefir”


  1. […] Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, 2001. There is a recipe, but I don’t feel it talks all that much more about making it than my little kit did. […]


  2. […] Fresh Food from Small Spaces by RJ Ruppenthal, 2008. He wasn’t really talking about soda pop in the traditional sense, but he did suggest making a soda pop from water based kefir grains “using a tablespoon of kefir grains in sixteen ounces of filtered (chlorine-free) water in a jar. As a general rule, use about the same amount of sweetener as kefir grains, so a tablespoon or so of sugar, maple syrup, or molasses will suffice. Adding a pinch each of sea salt and baking soda will ensure that the organisms also have some mineralization. Finally, I cut in some fresh, peeled ginger slices and/or a little fruit for flavor. A slice of apricot, peach, fig, lemon, cucumber, or a couple of berries add a great flavor twist. To keep the kefir grains pure, you can suspend your fruit or ginger in the water using a cloth bag or unbleached coffee filter. Before setting your jar to ferment, lightly shake it so that a few oxygen bubbles get into the water. For a naturally carbonated, champagne-like beverage, close the lid tightly. For no carbonation, cover the jar loosely. Let it sit for 24 hours, or up to 48 hours for a sour version. For a slightly (1 to 3 percent) alcoholic drink, use extra sugar, keep the lid on tightly, let it ferment for about 48 hours in a warm dark place, and lightly shake it a few times during this period. If the taste is too sour for you, add a little sugar before you drink it. To reduce the alcohol content of kefir, keep the lid covered very loosely and do not shake during fermentation. The regular alcohol content of water kefir is less than 0.5 percent (milk kefir is lower still)…” […]


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