Enhancing the FLAVOUR of MILK KEFIR with a 2nd fermentation

 You are likely now able to find both plain and flavoured milk kefir in the dairy section of your local grocery store.  While it’s is great to see fermented food options like milk kefir becoming more available, there are some points to consider.  Store-bought milk kefir can be costly and contain a lower diversity of microbes (to facilitate quality control in mass production).  What is most concerning is the high sugar content of the flavoured versions (between 26-29 grams/serving- that’s over 6 teaspoons!).

look at the sugar content!
look at the sugar content!

If you have access to homemade milk kefir and are interested in adding flavour but don’t want the added expense and high sugar content, it’s as easy as doing a second fermentation.  This simple technique mellows out the tang, adds extra living, beneficial microbes and unlimited healthy flavour options.


Some of my favourite milk kefir flavourings- I love lots of spice and fruit
  1. Make the kefir as usual (click here for reference)
  2. Place finished kefir in a glass bowl or jar
  3. Add your desired flavouring
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or lid.  Leave at room temperature for 1-6 hours. (a longer time period might cause the whey to separate a little.  If this happens, just give the contents a stir to reincorporate it)
  5. Store in the refrigerator.  I leave the fruit, spices or tea bags in the kefir to max out flavour!


2 of my favourite flavours: blueberry and chai tea
2 of my favourite flavours: blueberry and chai tea
  • Chai tea: add 1-2 decaffeinated chai tea bags/litre
  • Lemon:  lemon peel or slices
  • Orange: orange rind or slices
  • Vanilla: 1 whole vanilla bean (split down the middle to release seeds)
  • Creamsicle: orange + vanilla bean
  • Berry: (fresh or frozen)

Be creative!  There is no limit to the possible flavour combinations!  Feel free to share your ideas, I’d love to hear what you come up with!


7 Responses

  1. Did I ruin my grains? Before I read this blog, I added milk AND fruit to my strained grains, instead of just adding them to the kefir to put in the fridge. Did I kill the grains?

  2. Would there be any reason not to incorporate solid flavorings for a second fermentation in during the first fermentation?

    1. Hi John- thanks for your question- I never add flavourings to a first ferment because I don’t want to compromise the physical kefir culture. it can be very sensitive! the best method to keep your culture healthy is to feed it the nutrients it has evolved and thrived with (lactose)

    1. Hi Gerry- I have never tried doing a second ferment with store-bought milk kefir because I have alwaysm made my own. To clarify, store-bought milk kefir is not the same as homemade milk kefir. In order to control fermentation on a large scale, specific microbial strains are added to the milk. Homemade kefir contains a more diverse population of beneficial microbes (bacteria and yeast) that are living both in the kefir culture and also in the environment where the kefir is produced (similar to how the microbial culture of sourdough starter is different from household to household). That being said, if you can’t or do not want to make your own, store-bought is still a good choice to add this healthy drink to your diet. You could try and do a second ferment and note the results- if you are happy with the results (flavour, any reactions you may have), the microbes in the store-bought kefir are viable to this method.

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