Cooking with Kefir: Baking

As one of the oldest fermented foods around, people have been cooking with kefir, or using it in their everyday life, for more than 2000 years! While these days it’s most commonly enjoyed as a drink or in a smoothie, there are endless ways to use kefir as an everyday ingredient.

We marinade meat with it, soak our oatmeal and grains in it, use in in place of milk and water in many of our favorite recipes and enjoy it as the foundation of our favorite dips, dressings and spreads. To introduce our Cooking with Kefir series, we’re focusing on baking with kefir.

cooking kefir baking

The Basics of Baking

Kefir is an extremely versatile baking ingredient and when substituted for milk, buttermilk or water, will produces the fluffiest, most delicious dishes imaginable. Ok, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but trust us, the results are great. It comes down to some of the basic properties of kefir:

It’s Acidic – kefir has a natural tart and tangy flavor, due to the presence of lactic acid. This provides similar results in recipes as would buttermilk, but with more protein.

It Has Different Amounts of Fat – using whole milk kefir in baked goods adds richness to the final product, without the necessity of adding as much additional oil or shortening.

It’s High in Protein – similar to the acidity claim, the high protein content of kefir amplifies the nutritional benefit of baked goods, without resorting to strange ingredients or powders.

It’s true that when heated, the live and active probiotic cultures in kefir die, but that doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from using kefir in place of milk. Plus, Lifeway Kefir is up to 99% lactose-free, making it a great option for pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits or bread for people who cannot tolerate dairy!

Get In My Belly

Speaking of pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits and bread, check out some of our favorite baked recipes with kefir as a main ingredient below. We definitely recommend enjoying them with a cool, creamy glass of your favorite Lifeway Kefir.

Savory Veggie Waffles with Herbed Kefir Cheese

This recipe is made with our Organic Whole Milk Kefir and the Simple Mills Almond Flour Pancake and Waffle mix. When we’re craving a sweeter dish, we sub the sautéed veggies for our favorite mixed berries.

Farmer Cheese and Peach Crostata

This slightly intricate recipe comes to us via the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America 2015 tour. It not only uses our kefir, but our Farmer Cheese as well! It’s sure to impress your guests this holiday season.

Cranberry Vanilla Quick Bread with Kefir

Our plain lowfat kefir is the key ingredient to what makes this quick bread extra moist and fluffy. When it’s seasonally available, we use our Limited Edition Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir for an extra shot of cranberry goodness.

Pumpkin Spice Kefir Doughnuts

Healthy doughnuts? More like healthier doughnuts. These mini doughnuts are a special treat reserved for the weekends that we feel good about eating, thanks to the extra protein and little added fat. Plus, they’re made with our Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Kefir, which makes us extra excited.

Kefir Apple Spice Pancakes

Ah, nothing says “snow day” quite like a stack of warm, fluffy pancakes. Thanks to the acidic quality of kefir, these cinnamon-delicious pancakes are moist, springy and delectable. Plus, thanks to the apple, they’re extra high in fiber, vitamins and minerals!

Gluten-free, Grain-Free Savory Sage Biscuits

We’re so excited to continue working with Simple Mills to come up with recipes for you, and this recipe for savory biscuits comes from their team. Find the original recipe here and be sure to check out the rest of our Lifeway + Simple Mills collaborations here.

How do you cook with kefir? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, and be sure to find more Made with Lifeway recipes and cooking inspiration when you visit us on Pinterest!