Kefir Bread {recipe}

bread made with kefir

This has got to be the easiest fermented bread I have ever made! And a soaked recipe that has actually turned out at that! And the best part about it? It has only 3 ingredients.

While just slightly more dense than a traditional yeasted and unsoaked bread, this still makes a great sandwich bread and toast!

Kefir Bread {recipe}
Recipe type: Breads and Grains
  • 5 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 – 3 cups of dairy kefir (the amount will vary based in the moisture in your flour)
  • Optional ingredients:
  • I have also added a few teaspoons of sugar to this bread while mixing and it made for a less sour flavor. I’ve added 2 Tbsp of oil to this as well and it improved the flavor yet again.
  1. Combine salt and flour in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in enough kefir so that the dough is sticky, but doesn’t stick to your finger when you pull it back.
  3. Using either a mixer or hand, knead for about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and let sit for 24 hours in a warm place.
  5. After 24 hours, shape into a loaf and place in a bread pan.
  6. Cover and let rise for about 3-4 hours in a warm place.
  7. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, or until hollow sounding when tapped.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling on a wire rack.
A small note about the kefir – the longer it has cultured the more sour your bread will be. I found that we like it best when it’s only been cultured for 24 hours. It may rise more when it bakes. My first loaf did not rise At. All. But then almost doubled in the oven!

kefir bread

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle believes women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, she has a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. Susan B says

    If you have an instant read thermometer, use it to help with the bread. If you think it is done, take it out of the bread pan and stick the instant read therm into the bottom of the loaf-so it is in the middle. It should read about 200 to be done.

    Several times I have done the ‘thump’ test and gotten uncooked middles. Since I have started checking w/ the therm, I haven’t had problems at all!

    Also, I liberally ‘butter’ the pans with hardened coconut oil and my bread has not stuck anymore!

  2. Sarah Bauer says

    mmmm, this sounds great! now I just need wheat and kefir to get it done :-) We haven’t made it to our supplier to get more grain yet and may not until the end of the month. Thanks for the easy recipe Donielle!

    • donielle says

      @Melinda, Maybe if it was a cultured buttermilk. (?) The reason this works with kefir is that kefir has natural yeasts in it that helps it rise.

    • donielle says

      @Sonia, Not in the probiotic sense. But the cultured dairy does help make the wheat easier to digest – kind of predigesting it for us.

  3. says

    I finally baked this today…and I am totally new to fermented grains so this was interesting for sure! I added raw sugar and olive oil, but it still is rather sour for me. I used 24 hour kefir too. Will this freeze ok? I doubt my family will eat it and I don’t want to waste it, but it’s going to take me a bit to get used to it. I thought I’d toast a slice for breakfast and put butter and honey on it and see how it tastes.

    Thanks for posting this recipe, it was fun to try!

    • donielle says

      @dawn, I would think it would freeze fine. You could also use it to make french toast. Slightly sour bread tastes great when made into french toast and topped with lots of butter and maple syrup. :-)

  4. says

    Donielle, thanks for posting this! I’ve been thinking about this bread since you mentioned it. I didn’t realize just how easy it was…

    • donielle says

      @Alex, Easiest bread ever. :-) Works great with water kefir too! Albeit a bit more dense since mine didn’t rise as high – but the taste was great and not sour at all.

  5. carrie says

    will this also work with other types of flours? my husband is allergic to wheat, so when i’ve been brave enough to try, i’ve made bread from a comb of GF flours (like brown rice, millet, tapioca)… but i’ve also thought about trying buckwheat recipes. could this work? i am still pretty new to all of this so i feel like i’m missing something here. thanks in advance! :)

    • donielle says

      @carrie, Sorry I missed this till now. :-/ Iv’e never tried it with GF flours, so I can’t say for sure, but it’s worth a shot! Just make sure to use some xanthan gum or something so it doesn’t fall apart on you. And if you’ve tried it – let me know!

      • Ozzy_Ben says

        My wife has a sensitivity to wheat and I’ve been making her bread with khorasan (aka Kamut) flour and/or Spelt (wholemeal & white) flour using instant yeasts. She has very little to no reaction to the bread but doesn’t eat huge volumes either.

        Since she has been drinking kefir she seems to have less of a reaction to wheat (slips) but its all a bit subjective IMO.

        I have been wanting to find a simple fermented bread recipe using kefir and this looks perfect. I hope that the long rise will breakdown most of the proteins that trigger my wife’s wheat reaction. Can’t wait to experiment on her and try the bread – thanks Donielle!

  6. Hélène says

    Can I use yogurt or are the yeasts only in the kefir? Gosh, this bread looks ridiculously easy!!

  7. Hélène says

    Oh, and if I fresh grind the wheat/grain, should I let it sit overnite so itll measure rite? ORRR can I just grind a certain amount of grain and go from there with the recipe? Like fresh grind 4 c. spelt or wheat and then continue on….

    • donielle says

      @Hélène, You could probably just grind enough for 4 cups of flour – measure after grinding. If you’ve noticed it usually settles a lot, maybe do a touch more to compensate.

  8. marya says

    Well mine is just out of the oven and looks and smells great!! Already cut of a slice and buttered it and it is good. Great recipe thank you

  9. Andrea says

    Doniellle …. I’ve mixed mine up and would really love to have it for lunch tomorrow when we get home from church. Have you ever waited less than the 24 hours? Or is that time frame pretty necessary? thanks :)

    • says

      @Andrea, Andrea, I think it pretty much depends on the kefir. Some naturally have more yeasts and bacteria due to environment. I’d say if it looks like it has risen enough – go for it!

  10. Christal says

    Going to bake this today, but as I was transferring to the loaf pan, a great idea came to mind….after you mix, transfer to the loaf pan & let that sit for 24 hours, this way no transferring & no loss of air bubbles & no re-rising, just put into the hot oven when ready.

    • says

      @Christal, I don’t know about this recipe in particular, but most bread recipes require a first rise and then a stretching to shape to work the gluten so that the final rise will work appropriately and hold. I’m curious if you’ve tried and how it turned out if you did. :)

  11. Richard Hobbs says

    Try experimenting with flaxseed and millet when seeking something to paste Gluten Free breads together. I’ve notived it gels up when I use it in stovetop soups, stews & multigrain porage like stuff. wonder how experimenting might show us all something new.
    Also it’s time to give up the olive oils & use Grape Seed Oil. 18 times more healthy. And if the Cocunut oil is hardened by being hydrogenated then use regular palm oil.and add a little Cocunut Oil to get it’s Essential Fatty Acid. Never use any hydrogenated oils or fats.

  12. Liz says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I’ve made it twice already and have my third loaf rising right now. It’s very easy to make and has a great flavor and texture. I use my bread machine for the initial mixing so I cut the quantity a bit so it would fit in there, but I kept the same proportions.

  13. Sarah says

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I’ve made it twice. I love the chewy texture. And I always have problems making bread in the winter time, as my kitchen is very cold (123yo farm house) And this is perfect. Slow cold rise, forget me bread. Prefect!!!

  14. Kasia says

    Hello Donielle,

    I’ve made this bread twice; however, every time bread was very wet and gummy inside, even though, I kept it in the oven for over 60 minutes. The kefir was cultured for 24 hours and the bread raised pretty high. I do not know what I am doing wrong because I am new to that. I put 3 cups of kefir and used glass loaf pan. Thank you.

    • Sarah says

      Mine was pretty doughy inside too, and I’m thinking I added too much kefir to the flour. I’m in the process of making it again, but I’m rather certain I again added too much, as the consistency of the dough is not firm enough. Did that happen with yours?

      • donielle says

        @Sarah, I don’t remember that happening to mine – but it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been able to make it. :-) (we’ve been gluten free for the past 2 years)

    • donielle says

      @Annmarie, I tend to keep it in an airlocked bag (1 gallon ziploc) and as long as we eat it within a few days I don’t bother keeping it cold.

    • donielle says

      @Melissa, It may… all depends on the yeast and bacteria content of the store-bought kefir. I’d personally let it sit out for half a day or so before using the kefir to make sure it “wakes up” again.

  15. Laura says

    I am trying this recipe with coconut milk kefir. It rose splendidly overnight, and is rising again since formed into a loaf. Smells very yeasty. I avoid metal in all aspects of preparation of kefir, not because it might not turn out well, but because I don’t want any metal or toxins leeching into my food.

    • donielle says

      @Deniz, You could easily put it in the bread machine just to mix the ingredients for 5 minutes, but then it really just needs to sit out before it goes into the oven. There’s really no good way to make the entire thing in a bread machine as it would knead it to much and not allow it to rise long enough. (it rises because it sits for a long time)

        • Anita says

          I’ve adapted this bread for the bread machine. I chuck the ingredients in the machine bowl, dial in the ‘pizza dough’ program and run it for 5-10 min. Not the whole 45 min that the program does. Turn it off, leave it sitting for 24 hrs. Then I do the same again. Let sit for 3 hrs, after which I find the ‘bake only’ mode. On my machine I can use the timer here so I set it for 70 min. When the time is up it goes ding dong and that’s all there is to it. Piss easy and I only dirty one (1) bowl.
          I realize not all machines work the same way though, so go to the manual and see if you can interrupt programs and use timer functions in a creative way.
          Donielle Thank You for the recipe, it was just what I needed. I have NO bench space for kneading.

  16. Heike says

    Hi Donielle, I just started to make Water Kefir and had this thought that I could use it instead of yeast and maybe of baking powder as well. I found your recipe and tried it and it worked very well. I made your bread which was a bit on the sour side but not too sour and I tried it with chocolate muffins as well (I let the whole dough sit overnight) and they turned out fine and not at all sour.
    Next on my list was a pizza dough, but that was really too sour and I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I could reduce the amount of Kefir or make a special kefir sourdough starter (I read about on another webpage)? It would be so nice to be self sufficient that way without having to buy yeast and baking powder. Any tips would be appreciated and thanks again for your easy to follow recipe!!!

    • donielle says

      @Heike, Fermented foods will be a tad sour, the longer they are left to ferment, the more sour they will be. (depending on what a culture is fermenting) If you want to make fermented bread products regularly I would recommend just starting your own sourdough starter with the flour as I think the wild yeasts of the starter probably break down the flour better than a sugar or dairy culture. You can find out how to start a wheat flour starter here:
      and a gluten free starter here:

      • Heike says

        Hi again, actually I found out that the sour/metallic taste had something to do with the pizza trays I was using and not so much with the Kefir. Just wanted to tell you, so nobody thinks it was the fault of the Kefir. Might try again knowing that now.

  17. says

    Just found your site while researching bread recipes using kefir. This one looks easy and delicious–will be trying it today. Thank you.