Easy Kefir Sourdough Bread
I have to be honest here and tell you the truth, I have killed many a kefir that I had growing near my kitchen window, I have put it down to the fact that I live in a very old farmhouse which has lots of temperature changes, a house that’s not completely draft proof due to old single glazed sash windows. The joys of living in an old but beautiful house.
So I was delighted when I came across this wonderful Kefir made by Always Organic by Blake’s, a lovely local company based in County Leitrim.
I have been dairy free for many years due to intolerance caused by my six-year battle with chronic illness, which I am happy to say I am now 85- 90 % recovered. Although I couldn’t tolerate dairy, I could tolerate kefir.
However, there are many out there who cannot tolerate dairy because they are unable to digest lactose, the key sugar found in milk (thus being lactose intolerant). The active ingredient in kefir helps break lactose down and makes it easier to digest. Furthermore, kefir has a larger range of bacterial strains and nutrients, some only specific to kefirs that help remove almost all of the lactose in the dairy.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink, originally from the mountainous region that divides Asia and Europe. It is similar to yogurt – but a drink, with a tart, sour taste and a slight ‘fizz’. This is due to carbon dioxide – the end product of the fermentation process. The length of the fermentation time will affect the taste. Kefir is a great source of calcium and is rich in probiotic bacteria.
How is it made?
The method of making kefir is one of the main differences between kefir and yogurt. Traditional milk kefir uses kefir grains and whole cow’s milk – although now you can find it made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and coconut milk as well as from rice and soymilk alternatives. Kefir grains are not actually grains at all but are small gelatinous beads that look like grains containing a variety of bacteria and yeasts. The grains are placed in a glass jar/bowl, soaked in milk, covered and left at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours. This enables the bacteria and yeast to ferment the lactose (natural sugar in milk) into lactic acid, activating the bacteria to proliferate and grow.
After around 24 hours at room temperature, the grains are strained from the kefir and transferred to a fresh batch of milk and used again to enable them to keep reproducing - this cycle can be carried on indefinitely. The strained kefir is now ready to drink.
The grains will multiply as long as they are kept in fresh milk at the right temperature. When the product is put in the fridge the cool temperature inhibits the fermentation process.
Kefir can also be made from coconut milk, there is also water kefir. Kefir comes solely from mesophilic strains, which cultures at room temperature and does not require heating at all. Kefir contains 10–34 strains of probiotics as well as numerous beneficial yeast strains. Kefir bacteria can actually attach to the walls of the gut and colonize to stay and regulate. They’re also aggressive in nature and can actually go out and attack pathogens and bad bacteria in your gut.
As a Chef and Nutritionist I wanted to find other ways to use kefir in cooking and baking so over the next while I will post some really lovely kefir recipes I have been enjoying this past few months.
For now here is the recipe for this really fantastic super easy 3 step kefir sourdough (cheat sourdough) bread that is so easy to make and tastes amazing.
I really hope you enjoy making it as much as I did and looking forward to hearing your feedback or even sharing your kefir sourdough bread photos with us.
Kefir Sourdough Rye Bread
100 ml Kefir
300g Rye flour
200g Plain white flour
2tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
Combine 100 ml of Kefir and 2 teaspoons of the Rye flour in small glass jar.
Let the starter sit uncovered on a counter for 1-2 days until you see bubbles and nice bread smell. Starter is ready.
Add into it 300 ml of water, 500-600gr of white flour, 2 tbsp of oil, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp spoon of salt.
Mix well then tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead. Once the dough is satin-smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Leave to rise for overnight on a counter.
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
Dust the loaf with flour and favorite seeds and cut a cross about 6cm long into the top of the loaf with a knife.
Bake for 40-50 mins. until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.