Wholemeal & Kefir Loaf

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Today, we're making wholemeal and kefir bread. It's light, fluffy and wholesome. The kefir imparts a pleasant taste - not sour and strong at all, just a subtle flavouring that can only be described as pleasant. 

What is Kefir? 

It's a fermented milk product, similar to thin yoghurt that's made from kefir grains. The grains are a mesophilic symbiotic culture.

Kefir as a drink originated in the North Caucasus and has become a top-selling product in Russia and Poland. 

Kefir is full of 'good bacteria' as well as minerals and vitamins. The best kefir is homegrown. I bought kefir grains from a whole food shop. Once acquired, they are mixed with full-cream milk and left in a warm place to ferment. After the milk has become lumpy and clearly fermented, it's strained and the milk used. The grains are then kept in the refrigerator until they are needed, when they are mixed with milk again and the cycle continues. 

Why use it in bread? 

The addition of Kefir along with a yeast leavening agent produces a wonderfully light and fluffy bread. 

It adds both texture and taste. What more does any home baker want? 

There are two ways to make Kefir Bread. The first is to use Kefir alongside a commercial yeast. The recipe I present today does exactly that. Why? Because it speeds up the process and you have fresh oven-baked bread within a reasonable timescale. 

How to make Kefir Milk

Purchase some kefir milk grains. 

Add a good tablespoon of grains to 350 gms of whole milk (cows milk, ewe milk or goat's milk). You can use pasteurised but not UHT (long-life) milk. 

Stir the grains and the milk together and then cover with a muslin cloth. 

Leave on the worktop or in a warm place for 24 - 48 hours. The grains will grow and will resemble miniature cauliflower florets. 

Once the milk has taken on the texture of buttermilk (but not as solid as yoghurt), sieve the grains out of the milk and transfer the milk to a clean container.

Then, return the grains to the original container, add more milk and start the process again. 

If you don't want to start the process immediately, you can store the grains in a little milk in the refrigerator for a few days in between use. 

Right...so we now have 350 gms of Kefir Milk. Let's bake....

Flour, salt, honey, butter, yeast and, of course...Lady Kefryn of Gogledd Cymru (North Wales) 


250 gms strong white bread flour

250 gms wholemeal bread flour

350 gms tepid kefir milk

25 gms unsalted butter (warmed)

25 gms honey

6 gms crushed sea salt

6 gms instant yeast


Chia seeds (add at the start of the mixing stage)

Poppy seeds (sprinkled on the top after brushing with a water glaze)


1. Mix the flour and salt together. 

2. Add the honey, yeast, butter and kefir milk

3. Mix thoroughly and then knead until you have a soft, silky dough. 

4. Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and leave until it has doubled in volume. This may take between 1 and 2 hours depending on the temperature of your room. 

Watch the dough, not the clock. 

5. Tip out onto a lightly-floured board, give it a very short knead and then shape to suit. 

The dough will fill 2 x 2lbs loaf tins. Alternatively, you can shape as a boule or a batard, a bloomer or as a cob. 

6. Place in the prepared baking container, cover with a cloth or parchment paper and allow to proof. 

Watch the dough, not the clock

Ready for the oven - glazed with a water glaze and sprinkled with poppy seeds

7. Preheat the oven to 190⁰C (375⁰F)

8. If you wish, you can brush a water glaze on the top of the loaf/loaves and sprinkle with poppy seeds. 

9. Bake for 30 minutes

10. Cool on a rack. 

Happy baking.....


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