If you’re trying to avoid commercial yeast or are simply looking for a healthier way to prepare bread, try this! Here’s a recipe for kefir fermented bread dough with no added commercial yeast and whole grains. Use this dough to easily make crackers, cinnamon rolls, bagels, bread and more!
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Making Grains Healthier
Some time ago I wrote about my struggle with grain consumption. I’ve spent time learning about how to properly prepare grains in order to digest them more readily and without bodily upheaval.
Here are a few links that might help, if you’re struggling with resources for preparing healthier grain recipes:
My other favorite fermenting and (slightly) raising agent, however, is milk kefir. When I’m short on time or mis-time my sourdough culture, I use this kefir fermented dough to make bread products.
Kefir as a Fermenter
Once you’ve become an expert milk kefir fermenter and drinker, you’ll be ready to try this recipe. I promise it’s not rocket science, it’s just bread.
>>>>—If you’re new to milk kefir, please visit this post on the basics of milk kefir care and use. —<<<<
You can use buttermilk for this recipe, too, but I prefer milk kefir. The recipe was passed onto me by a friend who has a friend who is clearly some sort of savant, because this recipe is genius.
Said savant is Caralee Ayre and I have since become acquainted with her; if it weren’t for a crazy remodel and family commitments, she’d be writing this article for you. You’re stuck with me, but we’ll muddle through as we explore this wonderful kefir fermented bread recipe that uses no yeast and only has five ingredients.
I’m going to give you the recipe and then we’ll talk about it and the various things you can do with it.
Kefir Fermented Bread Dough Recipe
Don’t be afraid to experiment with this recipe. Kefir is a dairy product made of of live cultures; consequently, it has a mind of it’s own and your results may vary. Be sure to check out the six ways you can use this kefir fermented dough below.
If you'd like a fermented, yeast-free bread recipe, you'll love this milk kefir-fermented bread dough. Fermenting your bread dough will aid in digestion and make it more nourishing for you and your family.
- 10-11 cups of freshly ground Kamut spelt or preferred wheat
- 3 cups of whole milk kefir* stirred
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/3 cup melted grass fed butter or coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
Mix the wheat, kefir, water and fat together until completely mixed blended. You'll knead the dough for several minutes, so if you want to put this in your bread mixer, feel free to save your arms.
Need until the dough is elastic and has a bit of a shine to it; poke your finger into it and if it holds the indent, it's done.
Let is sit over night in a non-reactive bowl (like ceramic) to culture. You can culture your dough 12-24 hours.
When the dough is ready, pop in back in your mixer and add the salt and soda. Mix well.
From this basic dough you can make any bread product you want from loaves to cinnamon rolls to crackers to bagels! See the rest of the post for details. If you're making bread loaves, you'll bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour.
*You can also use real, cultured buttermilk (not the dead/pasteurized stuff from the store). Or you can use a high quality, plain yogurt instead of milk kefir.
I've made this bread with 100% rye flour and loved it; you can use a combination of flours, too.
You'll need about six cups of grain to grind up to make around 10 cups of flour.
6 Breadstuffs to Make with Your Kefir Fermented Dough
Following the recipe above will get you a basic dough and from there you can do many things.
Roll out dough, using a little arrowroot powder or cornstarch to prevent sticking and cook in pan on stovetop until slightly browned on both sides.
Shape dough into any sort of roll you desire and bake at 350F/177C for about 20 minutes. You can also freeze dough to pull out and bake later.
Whenever you’re baking crackers, you must watch them carefully to be sure they don’t burn. To make kefir fermented crackers:
- Roll out dough thinly and evenly to about 1/8 of an inch. Be sure your dough is as uniform a thickness as you can make it.
- Spread butter or coconut oil on top along with any seasonings you like.
- Dehydrate or bake at 200F/93C degrees until crisp.
To make kefir fermented cinnamon rolls:
- Add a little Sucanat to your dough when you are mixing in salt and baking soda (about 1/4 cup).
- Roll out into rectangle shape.
- Spread with butter, applesauce, cinnamon, Sucanat, or any other options that you like.
- Roll as you would ordinary cinnamon rolls.
- Cut with dental floss and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
They are delicious as is or topped with a little cream cheese or sour cream mixed with honey and vanilla to make them extra special. It makes great cinnamon swirl bread, too!
To make your favorite bagels from kefir dough:
- Add additions to dough after salt and soda such as cinnamon/raisin or onion/sesame seed etc.
- You can cut these out into rounds and boil for 30 seconds, removing and placing on pan to bake after they float.
- Or, you can bake them right away at 350F/177C for 20-30 minutes.
- An option is to glaze them before you bake with egg white/water wash and sprinkle with any toppings you like.
You can make loaf bread with this dough if you use small pans and make sure that the bread is cooked through before removing it from the oven. These work best formed as peasant loaves like challah. However, if you’re using pans, try stoneware for the best results.
Bake at 350F/177C until the top is nicely browned and it has a hollow sound when you knock on it, about 40-50 minutes. To be sure your loaves are cooked through, use a meat thermometer to double check. A finished loaf of bread should have an internal temperature of 180F-200F (82 C – 93C).
With your kefir fermented bread dough you can also make
- Bread sticks
- Pizza pockets
- Scones, etc.
Notes on Flour, Dairy and Equipment
- I use Kamut, a trademarked name for a Khorizan variety wheat, and ancient relative of Durum wheat. This is my absolute favorite wheat and we grind it ourselves. Being an ancient grain, it’s not nearly as gluten saturated and we buy organic so it’s not riddled with herbicides. Kamut is rich and light and delectable. If you’re an exclusive white flour user, this may seem heavy to you, so just fiddle around with it until you like it and until you can wean yourself off white flour. For more information on why I use Kamut, here’s an article I wrote for Mom Prepares.
- Use live, from the animal, raw whole milk for kefir if at all possible. However, pasteurized milk can be used in your kefir culture.
- Use filtered water so that no chlorine or fluoride from city water is adversely affecting your culturing dough.
- Make sure you’re fermenting in a non-metal, non-reactive bowl. Glass or ceramic will do well.
- I usually use Redmond sea salt, but any sea salt will work.
Does This Taste Like Baking Soda?
Although this bread is made with baking soda it’s not as soda-y as soda bread. The kefir culturing breaks down the grain and activates the gluten and there’s only a hint of that soda bread poof and crunch.
>>>>—Click here for a classic soda bread recipe (that comes in two natural colors!)—<<<<
If I’m not using sourdough for my bread making, I’m using this kefir fermented bread dough recipe. I’m happy to not need commercial yeast anymore for most things.
So, what will YOU be making with your kefir fermented bread dough?
For more baking inspiration and to learn about kefir, please check out the Homestead Kitchen section of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. With over 400 pages of homesteading how-to’s and DIY’s, you’re bound to find something here for you. For a free sample of that chapter, or any chapter in the book, simply email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com, and I’ll get you set up. To learn more about the book, click below:
Don’t forget to email me for that free sample from our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. We hope the book will be useful to you, but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what cookbook author and blogger Stacy Lynn Harris had to say about the book:
Cover graphic gratefully attributed to this Pexels user.