An easy to make deliciously soft and light loaf of kefir bread with a hint of sourness, made with kefir fermented milk. Equally perfect for breakfast toast or teatime sandwiches. Freezes well and can be toasted from frozen.
We have become big fans of kefir; which, if you haven’t come across it, is a type of fermented milk. With a consistency similar to pouring yoghurt, it has a delicious hint of sourness – it is ideal in the summer months for soaking your overnight oats or bircher museli or whizzed into a smoothie.
It’s now available in many supermarkets, but it’s so easy and considerably cheaper to make your own once you have acquired the necessary fermenting agent, the kefir grains.
These look like small cauliflower florets; add the grains to milk (cows or goats) and leave on the countertop (or in the fridge if it’s particularly warm) for a day or so, sieve out the grains for reuse and you have a jug of health-giving fermented kefir. The grains are a symbiotic mixture of “friendly” bacteria and yeasts, and the resulting drink is rich in probiotics.
To keep the grains in peak condition, it’s important not to leave them too long in milk; the best way to keep them in tip top form is to feed them by making kefir. In summer, this isn’t a problem as by the time a litre of milk has fermented, we’re ready to use it. However, in winter we have far less need for it; Herbert our miniature Dachshund gets a little to drink every day, diluted down, to boost his probiotics and hydration. .
Over time the grains will grow and grow and you will eventually have more than enough to pass some along to someone new, who will rapidly become a paid up member of the kefir fan club. Spare grains are also good for dogs and Herbert happily gobbles them down.
We’re always looking for new ways of incorporating kefir into our diet, so I decided to try a loaf. Bear in mind, though, that the baking process will kill the probiotic bacteria, but the hint of sourness in the final loaf is worth it.
How Can I Make Kefir Bread?
For this loaf use we used a mixture of water and kefir, and white and brown bread flours. While I used our home-made kefir, this loaf would work equally well with a bottle of commercial kefir, now widely available in many supermarkets. Use the unflavoured, unsweeted plain variety.
I made this loaf using my normal yeasted bread technique. Mix all the ingredients until they come together into a shaggy dough. Then knead the dough for about ten minutes until smooth and pliable. Place back in the mixing bowl, and cover (I use a disposable shower cap – we now take them from every hotel stay – or even a plate), and leave somewhere warm to rise. During the winter, raise the dough either next to a radiator or in the oven with the light on. After about an hour, once it has roughly doubled in size form into a loaf shape and place in a loaf tin.
To give the kefir bread its attractive shine, bake it inside a terracotta bread baking cloche with a little added water to provide some steam for a crustier crust. Remove the top of the cloche halfway though cooking to allow the loaf to brown.
The final result is a delicious loaf of bread with a hint of sourness, with a soft crumb, perfect at any time of day either as it or popped in the toaster.
If you like this recipe, you can make bread with home-made kefir without any added yeast, as shown in my no yeast kefir-raised bread recipe.
The best way to grease a bread tin to stop sticking
I now always grease my bread tins with butter rather than oil, as it makes it far less likely that the loaf will stick to the pan. I find that oil runs down and the loaf sticks, even when using a non-stick pan. Old butter wrappers are perfect for this.
Yeasted kefir bread
- If using activated yeast, dissolve it in the water. This isn't necessary if using quick yeast.
- Add the flours to a large bowl. Add water, kefir, yeast and salt. Using your fingers, stir the mixture to bring the dough together.
- Tip the dough out onto a worksurface. Knead until smooth and pliable - about 10 minutes. Form into a ball shape and place back in the bowl. Cover, and leave somewhere warm to rise for about an hour, until roughly doubled in volume. Actual timings depend on the ambient temperature.
- Grease a loaf tin with the butter. Tip the dough out of the bowl, and roll into a sausage as long as the tin. Place into the tin seam side down. Cover again, and leave for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled again. After about 30 minutes, switch on your oven.
- Bake at fan 200C/gas 7 for about 40 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- This recipe is 12 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portions
Not sure I’ve ever eaten anything with kefir in it before but I’ve seen a lot of kefir drinks on the market recently. I’ll check it out and see if I can make this loaf myself!
The flavour is really rather delicious Laura.
I’ve never heard of kefir before but it’s something I’ll look out for now. I also love the tip about using a shower cap!
What an absolutely gorgeous looking loaf of bread! I confess I’ve yet to try kefir, but I intrigued by it!
We love kefir here, as does Herbert too!
Thanks for this recipe, we’ve been wanting to make bread at home for ages now but it always seems a bit of a hassle. Shall have to give this a try x
Making bread at home is always easier than we think, you should really give it a go.
I have never tried kefir before, least of all in bread – but this sounds absolutely delicious. What a great way to incorporate kefir into your diet
The baking process did kill off the probiotic bacteria, but the hint of sour flavour is delicious.
Helen at Casa Costello
Ooh I like the sound of the added touch of sourness in this bread. I’ve never experimented with Kefir yet but maybe this will be the year.
We are a big fan of Kefir, Herbert thinks it is rather wonderful too.
I have never heard of kefir, but it looks like a good way to make your own bread that’s a bit different x
Kefir is a great addition to your diet, delicious flavour and great properties.
Nichola - Globalmouse
I have never heard of kefir before but that is one seriously tasty looking loaf so I’m looking forward to exploring it more.
I’m a big fan of Kefir, and would recommend giving it a go. Using it in this recipe added a delicious sour flavour.
I’ve never heard of this type of bread before (where have I been?), but it looks wonderful – I love your imagery x
This recipe makes a delicious tasting bread, ideal for daily use.
I’ve never heard of Kefir bread, however this looks divine. There is not much which is better than a yummy fresh loaf. Sounds simpler than I thought too. Great post :) x
Homemade bread is so easy to make, and so tasty.
That is a beautiful loaf of bread. I have never used kefir for baking bread. I can’t wait to try this recipe and see how it turns out.
The addition of Kefir gives a hint of sourness, such a good flavour.
Always wanted to try my hand at baking!! Sounds like you have a great loaf of sourdough bread there. Love sourdouigh!!
I love making homemade bread, always so tasty.
You had me at “easy”! Love that this recipe looks simple to make and sounds delicious, one that everyone would love!
So easy to make Sarah, and so delicious.
Ali from Home & Plate
You’ve made this look so easy. I love a warm loaf a bread right out of the oven and this is the perfect way to try kefir.
Something rather delicious about homemade bread.
Love that this bread has healthy kefir in it! So good :)
I’m a big fan of Kefir, adding it to this recipe added delicious flavour.
Tracy | Baking Mischief
I’ve never had bread made with kefir, but it sounds so good! And I love your shower cap trick! I’m going to start collecting them for that purpose. :)
A really simple idea that works well.
So… do you use 300g strong white bread flour? Just wondering why it’s listed twice in the ingredients.
Good spot – it is a mix of white and brown strong bread flours – we have corrected.
I started to add kefir in to my diet this year. Had never thought of using it in bread, great idea.
Such a great make. I highly recommend adding the Kefir, as the underlying taste is delicious.
I made this today and it is perfect. I followed the recipe 100% and got the fluffiest and tastiest bread. I split mine onto two baguettes stretched and ba Jed on moulded mesh trays. I also put lots of olives (rolled as one long piece then cut mid-length in two shorter halves.
I highly recommend this recipe.
Hi Nanette, that is great! I love kefir in bread as it makes it so soft and fluffy.