This kefir sourdough starter uses natural bacteria and yeasts and is a twist on the traditional water and flour sourdough starter.
Kefir is one of the most probiotic rich foods. Kefir is a fermented milk product made from cow, goat or sheep milk that is similar to a drinkable yogurt.
It has high levels of probiotics, vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, enzymes, and vitamin k2. It’s content varies based on the cows, and cultures where it is produced.
Not only does it help kill candida (yeast), it fights allergies, heals leaky gut, boost immunity, and improves lactose digestion – when consumed daily as part of your regular health regimen.
Kefir Sourdough Starter
Milk kefir has many of the same components of sourdough, and thus works great to use as a sourdough starter. The bacteria and yeasts in your starter will be the same as in your milk kefir.
Making a regular sourdough starter (via flour & water) is easy — but can take a few days of regular feedings to get started.
We’ve also successfully used Kombucha as a sourdough starter, and used kefir to make a cheater sourdough that’s absolutely delicious.
This kefir sourdough starter is my favorite though. I much prefer using kefir in my sourdough starter because it gives it a quicker “boost” from the get go. While I have used it to make a quick kefir sourdough, using kefir as a “true” sourdough starter gives my bread much bigger holes that more closely resemble true sourdough.
My schedule for this starter is relatively straightforward:
- Night 1: Mix 2 C. kefir with 9 oz (2 C.) all purpose, unbleached white flour
- Night 2: Mix 1 C. kefir with 4.5 oz (1 C.) all purpose, unbleached white flour
- Day 3 (mid-morning): Mix 1/2 C. kefir with 2.25 oz (1/2 C.) all purpose, unbleached white flour
- Day 3 (6-8 hours later): Starter should be ready too use
After your day 3, mid-morning feeding, the starter should rise and start to slightly fall. At this stage it’s an active starter and can be used for any recipe that requires a starter.
(If you opt against using it at this point, feed it again. Use 1/2 C. water and 2.25 oz flour, and allow it 6-8 hours to ferment again).
Why use Kefir as a Sourdough Starter?
Using kefir as a sourdough starter does make a delicious loaf of sourdough bread. I love using kefir because:
- I already have milk kefir on hand at home from making smoothies.
- It’s a great way to create a sourdough starter using a culture that is already established.
- The natural bacteria and lactic acid in kefir helps to keep the bread fresher much longer.
Can I use ground while wheat commonplace of white. I have anti inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis, and can’t use white flour. Can’t wait to make.
Yes, absolutely you can.
What kind of kefir do you use? is it raw, store bought, I’m not sure store bought would work.
I use raw kefir, Diana. I haven’t ever tried store brand kefir.. if you do try, let me know how it goes.
Benjamin Walton says
Just want to make sure I’m clear 🙂 Do you use the Kefir Grains or the strained milk kefir after the 24 hour brew? If I want to bake this bread regularly do I just keep feeding the starter so I also have a ready to use starter?
Hey Ben – you want to just use the strained milk kefir. The grains.. you can re-cover with new milk to make more milk kefir. As far as the kefir starter, I just kept feeding it for a few days (no longer). .. I also have a regular “starter” that I made with grapes, flour and water (you can search my site for that one, it’s called Wild Grape Sourdough Starter). That’s the one that I feed more often. This kefir sourdough starter was my own way of using too much kefir to make something we love (bread). I hope that helps!
Hi. I want to start
The kefir sour dough starter but it will take up 3 and a half cups of dough…..the read recipe only asks for 1 cup of sour dough starter. What do I do with the rest of the left over starter. Keep feeding it…..? For how long?
You can keep feeding it – or, use it to make other sourdough recipes. I have sourdough crackers on here as a recipe, or sourdough popovers, or even Sourdough Irish Soda Bread.
Or pancakes, biscuits, waffles, scones, banana bread, maybe even chocolate chip cookies.
Good afternoon, I am excited to try this. We love our kefir and are excited to use it to make bread. Can you please clarify the recipe for me? For day two and day three, am I taking the measurement of kefir from the kefir/flour mixture, then adding that to fresh flour, or am I adding fresh kefir and fresh flour to the already fermenting mixture? Thank you for your time.
You are adding fresh kefir and fresh flour to the already fermenting mixture 🙂 I hope it works well for you.. I have kefir every day and being able to use it as part of a sourdough starter is SO helpful!!
Thank you, I’ve got a successful starter. I appreciate your recipe!
Hi can I use unbleached bread flour instead of all purpose flour
Can I make a gluten free sourdough starter using kefir? I have 3 quarts of kefir and 3 quarts of milk and kefir grains in my fridge all the time. It would be great if I can do a gf version.
Hi there,nothing as satisfying as looking at the starter bubble!!Thanks for the guidance.
If I want to keep my starter for , say next week, can I treat it like a normal starter or do I have to feed it kefir for ever more?
Do you feed the starter flour and kefir, or plain water?
Can you clarify the recipe – on day 2 and 3 when I feed it more kefir/flour, am I discarding any of the already fermenting? Or add each days recipe to all that’s already there? Seems like it would be a huge amount. Also, after it’s an active starter to keep it going, do I switch to feeding water and flour or can I keep using kefir?
Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t clarify! You will discard 1/4 – 1/2 C. each of those days and then re-feed. I’ll make a correction to ensure it’s more clear!
Lyndell Oldfield says
I often strain my keffir through cheese cloth to make cheese, so then I have whey to use. Would the whey work instead of whole keffir?
Yes – the whey should work fine!