Kefir Bread

Bread Baked

My journey into Sourdough making has been a slow one. I received my culture package in the mail from Carl’s a while ago, but have been wanting to wait till I have a secure, dependable supply of organic flours to start my own. I know that single cell yeast breads are not the best for my family, so when a friend shared her kefir bread recipe, I jumped right to it. The hardest part of this recipe, has been keeping up with my family’s demand!

We make kefir daily, out of our own cows and goats milk. I prefer the cow’s milk kefir for saving whey to ferment with, and for mixing with the flour in this recipe. I prefer the goat kefir for drinking, though. It is so smooth and flavourful.

Kefir Bread Collage
Kefir Bread
3 cups flour
3 cups kefir
Mix these together well, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area. After twelve to twenty-four hours the dough should be liquidy and bubbly.
Bread Rising
At this point beat the dough well and add:
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
3 cups of flour
Beat this together well and knead in enough flour by hand to make a soft dough. When it will hold the shape of a loaf, divide the dough into two piles. Shape the loaves and place them into two well-greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise. When the bread rises to the top of the pans, pop it into a preheated 350F oven for about 30 minutes. The crust will be quite brown, and if you knock on the bottom, the loaves will sound hollow.

We have adapted this recipe over time, and are very happy with this variation on the original recipe.

Whole Grain Spelt Variation
5 cups spelt flour
3 cups kefir
Mix well together, it may be hard to stir, you may want to knead. Let sit overnight. The next day add
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp raw sugar or 1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
Mix/knead well and place in two well-greased loaf pans. Grease with butter or good lard, coconut oil does not work. Cover loosely and place in a warm place to rise. It usually rises well to the top of the pans, but in the cold weather it will sometimes only increase by about a half. Bake at 350F until done, loaves will sound hollow. We have began using an aluminum free baking soda and have since decreased the baking soda to 1 tsp, or it is too much and we can taste it, which is quite interesting.


  1. That bread looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    Sharon · May 16, 04:45 PM · #

  2. That really looks great! I’m on my way too. I am trying dark organic rye flour. It looks a little strange but – I’m giving it my best. Thanks for the support and all the little pep talks.

    — Karen · May 16, 07:30 PM · #

  3. Tried this recipe-bloody amazing!

    — Monica · Feb 21, 08:38 PM · #

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe! I just made it yesterday and it turned out great! I was surprised how tasty it was without any salt. It really doesn’t need it. :)

    My dough wasn’t liquidy and bubbly after I made it. I was a little worried that maybe something went wrong, but since the bread was so delicious I guess there was nothing to worry about. :) Thanks again! sheila

    sheila · Apr 17, 11:44 PM · #

  5. Hi,
    just came across your site. I see you added another 3 cups of flour to your starter mix to make it less liquidy. From my understanding of soaking flours, you only need enough kefir (or any acidic medium) to combine all the flour together into a ball.
    Yesterday I started soaking 3 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 1/4 cup of kefir and today it has risen beautifully. And there is no need to add extra flour, so I get all the benefits of eating a soaked and nutritionally better bread than with unsoaked flour.

    Lots of info on the web about why soaking allows the flour to be more nutritionally complete than unsoaked flours/grains.

    Good luck n keep on baking! :)

    — Lily · Jan 11, 03:52 PM · #

  6. Can water kefir be used in place of the milk kefir in this recipe?

    — Tina · Jun 2, 05:17 PM · #

  7. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    I have often wished I had a use for my extra homemade kefir (besides the dog) and this is a great “soaked” flour recipe!

    Also, thanks to Lily for the suggestion of using only the risen dough without extra flour. The butter in the recipe makes it so you don’t really need the extra flour as it keeps the dough from sticking.

    I have it rising in pans now and it smells dreamy!

    — Sally Jo · Sep 5, 01:56 PM · #

  8. This is wonderful – I’ve been so intimidated by sour dough that it perpetually stays on my “to do” list — but this looks like something I could do! :)
    I like Lily’s idea of having all the flour soaked – my question is do I half all of the other ingredients or leave them at their current quantity?

    — elaine · Sep 12, 10:32 AM · #

  9. Do you soak sprouted flour? Or are you just soaking? And where are you getting your flour from? I would love to start making more bread but in in the same delima about flour.

    Amy · Sep 12, 02:54 PM · #

  10. Love this recipe! I was expecting the loaf I made with wholewheat to be a bit heavy but it turned out perfect. My family love it and it’s a great way to use up my extra kefir. Thank you!

    — Eileen · Oct 12, 09:34 AM · #

  11. I’m with Elaine regarding Lily’s idea, however we need Lily’s complete recipe please help us Lily !!!!!!!!!!

    — sylvia · Nov 30, 07:14 PM · #

  12. Just some updates.
    -no you cannot use water kefir
    -you don’t have to soak sprouted grains
    -if you soak all the ingredients it does work.
    Thanks for all the support!!!!

    — debbie · Dec 29, 11:24 AM · #

  13. Finally, got what I was looking for!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. Glad I stumbled into this blog post! smile I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you article. dd1

    flash chat · Jan 30, 05:12 AM · #

  14. this is really frustrating!! I got past the first 24 hours, kneaded in the last 3 cups of flour, salt, sugar, butter and soda. Dough felt right, so I buttered the bread pans put the dough inside and it never raised. It actually turned dark. I baked it anyway, hoping that it would work in the oven by raising. Well, it didn’t. What happened? Does it need to have a very very warm place to raise. Our home is always at the least 65 degrees. What am I doing wrong??? Also it had NO flavor. More salt? what can I do?

    — mimi · Apr 3, 11:44 PM · #

  15. That is frustrating. I have a few questions for you though and suggestions.
    -we have only soaked overnight instead of the 24 hours with success. I will add that to the recipe now.
    -what is your kefir source? Is it storebought?
    -we have had dark spots in the bread from the baking soda but never the whole thing. It didn’t impart a weird flavor at all.
    -I don’t add salt and salt actually stop yeast from rising which is why it is used in yeast recipes as a control.
    -when it is under 72 in our house I try and let it rise in the oven with the light on.

    Please keep the feedback coming so this helps others with potential problems.

    debbie · Apr 4, 01:26 PM · #

  16. Does the high temp kill the good bacteria in the kefir!!

    — Julie Martin · Jul 27, 09:22 PM · #

  17. Thanks for the recipe. I soaked overnight and baked the bread in the late morning I was worried because I added more flour at the end and the dough still seemed loose (I didn’t measure the kefir though I relied on the canning jar it was in). I scraped it in the bread pans and it came out perfect. My kids ate an entire loaf fresh out the oven. We ended up only having a 1/2 loaf left for supper.

    — Michelle · Aug 25, 10:40 PM · #

  18. That is so nice to hear. I get really excited when children are more than willing to eat healthy foods.

    debbie · Aug 26, 06:03 PM · #

  19. The actual internal temp of the bread is only about 150F so while we might kill some we won’t kill all. The positive is that we aren’t feeding our families yeast that has GMO’s and other unwanted things in it.

    debbie · Aug 26, 06:06 PM · #

  20. How many cups of Starter would you say you use with this recipe? In other sourdough recipes, you typically reserve a portion of your starter for the next round. I would suspect about 1.5 C Starter to 3 C Flour, but that is just a suspicion.

    I’m looking forward to making this, I just had a bowl of counter-top starter go bad and this is my do-over with a T of neglected refrigerator starter and the overflow of milk kefir I have.


    — Clair · Sep 12, 04:44 PM · #

  21. We don’t reserve starter with this recipe. If you experiment let us know how it goes. We do make true sourdough and that post would be

    debbie · Sep 12, 06:01 PM · #

  22. Huge success!! Wow! I’m so impressed! I’ve been searching for “sandwich” bread that was not yeasted, and soaked, sprouted, soured, cultured or otherwise Nourishing Traditions-style. So far, everything I’ve made has been dense, very sour, and not at all like Mrs.Baird’s. That presents a real problem in school lunches because it drys out. THIS bread finally did it right!!

    I made this exactly as written with All-Purpose organic, unbromated, unbleached white flour. Next time, I’ll try it with a portion whole wheat (probably the soaked portion). And, I’d like to play around with soaking the whole thing, just adding the baking soda, sugar, and butter after the first rise.

    Thank you so much for this! It was making me crazy…

    — Clair · Sep 13, 05:54 PM · #

  23. Hi, I am so glad I found your website. My first bread batch is in the oven and the aroma is heavenly, even with my mistakes.I added the 2nd flour before the other ingredients, so they were a lot harder to incorporate. That’s probably why my dough rose just a little but never made it to the top – so I finally baked it anyway.

    If it tastes anywhere as great as it smells, then I am hooked – doing it correctly next time, of course.

    Okay, the bread is cooling now. I couldn’t wait with cutting into one and noticed that the crust was rather hard and crunchy. Is there a way to make it less so? Thanks

    — helga · Sep 30, 08:46 AM · #

  24. I made this yesterday with my kefir that I made from grains from Ohio. The bread is delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    — Jen Greenlaw · Oct 9, 12:54 PM · #


    — CLAUDIA · May 15, 01:27 PM · #

  26. I have a question for Lily, did you add the same amount of everything else as the recipe stated but not the last 3 cups of flour? I want to make this today.
    Thanks for the use for kefir I hope this works out.

    — Vivian Joanne Heyob · Jul 22, 08:21 AM · #

  27. Hi, I was just wondering if you could use this for different flours like Spelt, Einkhorn or possibly with some gluten free flours? thanks.

    — Margaret · Jul 30, 11:34 PM · #

  28. I’m such a novice but eager to try this recipe with Kefir that my husband bought by accident. When the recipe says “Beat this together well …” does that mean beat it with a mixer? Or do I need some kind of appliance with a bread hook (which i don’t have).

    Thanks. Eager to try this and maybe I’ll start buying kefir on purpose. The reviews are great.

    — Mary · Aug 7, 02:41 PM · #

  29. Hi,

    Is there a chance I could do this with Gluten free…using gluten freeflours and adding a gluten frre recipe but soaking the flours and using the kefir for the liquid and adding remainder ingredients as in you recipe. On the up side, I plan to make the recipe as written for my family.


    — Bernie · Aug 19, 07:53 AM · #

  30. There is no need to use baking soda if kefir is used. I have made sour dough bread from kefir and a just water based sour dough starter and NEVER used baking soda.

    Christel from New Zealand

    — Christel · Sep 1, 12:12 PM · #

  31. If you added salt to the recipe, would it kill the yeast action?

    No, it won't. I just don't appreciate the bread with salt added since the baking soda is a sodium product. Our family doesn't think it is necessary for flavor. Debbie

    — Judi · Oct 25, 04:47 AM · #

  32. I am gluten sensitive and an allergy to yeast I bought freeze dried kefir with hopes to rise my gluten free flour please help

    Teresa · Nov 29, 07:56 AM · #

  33. I have used this recipe with buckwheat flours with great results. If you need live grains to make your own kefir please let me know. We ship them out to people.

    — debbie · Nov 29, 10:23 AM · #

  34. When you say “beat the dough”, do you knead it by hand? How long does it take to reach the top of the loaf pan? Is that about doubling in size? Thanks!


    — Frank · Feb 14, 03:20 AM · #

  35. Hi,
    We beat it with a spoon but whatever you are comfortable would work. The time it takes to rise would be dependant on how warm your room is. Usually at about 70F we have it out for about six hours but it can go a lot faster so you have to watch. Yes, this would be about double. Have a great day!

    — Debbie · Feb 14, 05:46 AM · #

  36. Yes, your 3 cups of kefir and 3 cups of flour for kefir bread, is that water or milk kefir? Thanks!

    — frank · Feb 14, 07:26 AM · #

  37. We have only ever used milk kefir

    — Debbie · Feb 14, 10:48 AM · #

  38. When you say 3 cups of kefir…do you mean the whey that has been separated from the milk or the kefir itself?

    — Esther Cazorla · Mar 6, 05:10 AM · #

  39. I would be interested to know the same thing. Have you tried making the bread using the Kefir granules? or just the milk Kefir?

    We have so many of the milk kefir granules I’m looking for something to do with them.

    — Michael · May 6, 06:50 AM · #

  40. I haven’t used the grains to cook with at all.

    debbie · May 6, 09:24 AM · #

  41. Hi, Just fyi I used water kefir to make this (ds has milk allergy) and it works just fine :) and makes better bread than i ever managed with store bought yeast :)

    Deb- That is excellent. I have actually wondered about this since learning lately that water kefir does actually contain beneficial yeasts.

    — Kathryn · May 6, 07:11 PM · #

  42. Can I use just the whey when making bread

    Yes you can. We have even just rinsed jars and had success lately. Deb

    — Margie smith · Jun 12, 12:32 AM · #

  43. If you make a kefir bread with regular white flour can a person with gluten intolerance actually eat this bread. I read somewhere that sourdough bread (fermented for long enough) made it so it can be eaten by gluten intolerent people. anyone know ?

    Reply I don't recommend anyone eat regular unorganic flours. They contain Bromide and L-cysteine and other nasties but if that is all you have then you could try it. I have better success with using buckwheat for gluten sensitive people though. Deb

    — sylvia · Jun 17, 05:50 AM · #

  44. I have baked for many years. I love baking with a ‘natural’ yeast. I have made several loaves in a month using the whey from the kefir. I set aside the whey daily using a coffee liner, I prefer eating kefir without the whey, it is a milder flavor. I am baking a loaf of rye bread now. It took about 2 and a half days for the dough to rise, it is fabulous. The secret is patience. I use no baking soda or powder whatsoever, the yeast is all it needs. I live in a high altitude, it is difficult to make a good bread way up here, so this naturally occurring yeast is a real boon! I always bake bread with a lid over the it, it seems to rise better due to the steam emanating from the dough. Thank you for the inspiration, Deb!!

    This is an excellent idea!

    — MaryJane · Aug 29, 12:30 PM · #

  45. Hello!
    I spotted my first kefir milk recipe two days ago and out it together to ferment for this morning, to then raise again and bake. It did nothing overnite, no growth. :-/

    It called for the kefir, flour, T honey, and a little salt… to mix all together and let ferment 12-24hrs. It was still near flat. Don’t believe it was my white while wheat flour, ask see so done here was going to use rye.
    I did notice yours called for mixing kefir and flour, then fermenting, and then adding in the rest. Makes sense like. Sourdough is handled. Think??
    Thank you !

    Reply: We have actually been mixing all the flours with the kefir lately and it is working very well. Are you using baking soda? That would act as your leavening agent and helps to cut the acid. The salt will kill the yeast. If you are having a problem with rising I would omit salt. Rye has little gluten in it so although it works very well for feeding our sourdough starter it will not work on its own to make a nice loaf.

    — Nada Twitchell · Oct 30, 01:37 AM · #

  46. Oh, and the kefir need not be room temp? I can use from the fridge and mix with the flour? Thank you!

    Reply: Sure thing. It doesn't have to be warm.

    — Nada Twitchell · Oct 31, 10:44 AM · #

  47. I tried the spelt version. I added the same amt of flour again after the rise (the spelt recipe doesn’t mention any extra flour as the regular wheat one does?).
    It turned out really flat, dense and wet, not edible :( I didn’t use anything other than the recipe (except for extra flour). Anything I could’ve missed? It didn’t rise much after the first rise.

    Reply: I do not add any flour the next day. I am not sure how it would have turned out wet though. I'm sorry it didn't turn out, that would be so discouraging. Doing it this way, all the flour is soaked for a nice long time, which is important for our family.

    — Sue · Nov 30, 02:06 PM · #

  48. Oh, so it wasn’t a typo – just 5 cups spelt to 3 cups kefir?

    Reply: Yes.

    — Sue · Dec 12, 09:45 PM · #

  49. Help!! I did fbd spelt one. I’m a rookie when it comes to bread. Was I meant to separate my kefir into curds and whey? Or just 3 cups of kefir. My mix was really sticky, it rose but more oozy styles. Came out ok, but should the dough be firmer? Would love to do a free style spelt one.. Any advice would be awesome!! Xx

    Reply: No we use full kefir but if you want to you can strain it into curds and whey and just use the whey. If it seems too wet you can surely cut back. Spelt does use wetness different than wheat but if it turned out then maybe you will want to leave the recipe as is???

    — Racheal · Mar 31, 10:10 PM · #

  50. Can I sub with buckwheat flour? And if so just use the same amounts of everything as per this recipe?

    Reply Yes. We have done this and it works very well.

    — Sassafrass · Apr 7, 12:48 PM · #

  51. This was the best bread I’ve EVER made (I used the wheat version). The kefir worked perfectly, and it’s so much less finicky than a sourdough starter! The recipe produced moist, flavorful, and spongy bread. SO good! Not one complaint. It’s perfect. Thank you for sharing the gift of good sourdough with my family!

    — anonymous · Jun 30, 02:13 AM · #

  52. Cook time way off! I at 1 hour at 350 not close

    Reply: I would use an oven thermometer. We have never had that kind of issue.

    — jay · Jul 23, 11:28 AM · #

  53. I am very confused, #44 says this recipe turned out great using rye flour and #45 your answer states that rye will not work. I would really like to try rye, but have a limited amount of kefir. I appreciate any advice and experience.

    Reply: I have used limited rye and had decent results. Lately I even used buckwheat and it worked well but not as good as gluten flours.

    — Pam · Aug 31, 06:02 AM · #

  54. Do you use just the strained kefir whey, or tdo you use the whole kefir milk?

    — Chris · Oct 24, 03:10 AM · #

  55. Climate has a great deal to do with the success of baking kefir leavened bread. It is summer right now (where I live), so rising times might be shorter than if you live in a cooler climate. Unfortunately if you are a strict “recipe follower” making bread this way might require an adjustment to your thinking. I make bread using ONLY natural kefir (NOT STORE BOUGHT) as the leavening agent, no baking soda or sugar required. I use a combo of flours (approx 2-3 cups initially) to taste (or whatever you have in the pantry) today I used whole wheat, spelt and organic white flour. In a large bowl mix in enough kefir (1 1/2 cups) to make a thick chunky looking batter, don’t over mix or fuss too much, if too dry just add regular milk to moisten. Cover and let stand on the bench overnight. In the morning it will have risen by half. Knock it down, add about a 1 tsp of salt, some more flour (1 or more cups) it can still be a little sticky, now turn out onto a floured bench and knead adding more flour until it’s no longer sticky. Line a bread tin with grease proof paper. Massage the outside of your firmish feeling bread dough loaf with some oil (I used rice bran). Plop the loaf in the tin and let stand/rise for another 6-8 hours, until the loaf doubles in size again. Preheat oven to 220c to bake for the first 5-10 mins then reduce temp to 180c for the remaining time (approx 30 mins) until the loaf looks golden brown. LET STAND ON RACK TO COOL FOR 15 – 20 MINS this is important. Do not be tempted to cut into your loaf before this time or it may still be doughy.

    Joey · Dec 5, 07:41 PM · #

  56. I am excited to try this bread!! I have 3 questions:

    Can I use white whole wheat flour in place of the whole grain spelt flour?

    Approximately how long is the second rise in the loaf pans? I know this is dependent on temp but I am wanting a general idea so I can make sure I’m home to get it in the oven!

    What is the desired internal temp of the completed bread?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply: -yes you can use whole wheat flour with no problem. I have even used low gluten flours without an issue. -the second rise takes at least a few hours for me. -I am very sorry but I have never taken the internal temp of the bread. I think someone told me cakes were 150F if that helps at all. If you do, could you post back???

    — Elaine · Mar 17, 02:05 PM · #

  57. how does this recipe work with SPROUTED SPELT FLOUR. Would i need to use other flours with it. i only have sprouted spelt flour and organic einkorn/kamut flour at home. do i mix the two or can i just use the sprouted spelt flour on its own. how much kefir would i need to add to the sprouted spelt flour to make it work.

    I have not tried this but would imagine what your describing would work wonderfully. Please share your results to!

    — Medinah Kazeem · Apr 30, 04:20 AM · #

  58. Absolutely wonderful!!! I only tried this bread recipe because I had such a back up of kefir. I expected it to be sour, and dense. Using half white, and half whole wheat flour, I absent-mindedly threw in 1.5 tsp of himalayan sea salt before I remembered it should have been baking soda. Added the baking soda as well, and continued. Being July, my kitchen was about 80 degrees, and the bread rose beautifully. I only had one bread pan, so one loaf was made as a flatter bread as it spread out to almost covered a pizza pan. Instead of buttering the pans, I lined the loaf pan with silicone paper, cutting the corners to fit, and cut a circular piece for the pizza pan. It was too hot to use the big oven, so the loaf went into my toaster oven on the lowest rack. The top browned immediately, but never burned. The flat loaf baked on the middle rack. Both breads were baked about 45 minutes to make sure they would be dry inside.The flatter bread looked like it came from a fine Italian bakery, and the loaf had a fine, even texture, and size suitable for sandwiches. My husband and I think this might be the only bread recipe I should ever use in the future. Thank you so much!

    — Joanne · Jul 31, 02:17 AM · #

  59. can you use a bread making machine successfully for making kefir bread thanks, Glenn

    — glenn ford · Sep 24, 11:13 AM · #

  60. I think this might be the only bread recipe I should ever use in the future. Thank you so much!


    — andyson · May 11, 06:24 PM · #

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