Kefir Bread {recipe}

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 makes a great sandwich bread!

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.
Method of Preparation
  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 bread1


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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. 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!

  3. Do you think it could be done with buttermilk instead?

    donielle Reply:

    @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.

  4. Do you still get the benefits of the cultured milk after its been cooked?

    donielle Reply:

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

  5. That looks easy enough for me! I think I am going to give it a try this week. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Do you think this could be made with coconut flour? The recipe looks great! Thank you for sharing!

  7. This is AWESOME!! THanks so much for sharing this because this is pretty close to sourdough and so much easier!!

  8. I’m wondering if water kefir would work………..?

    donielle Reply:

    @lisa, I’m thinking yes. Which is why I started a new loaf just this morning!

  9. This looks great! I often to a combination of dairy kefir and water to soak my flour to make bread – but I bet this would be even tastier! :)

  10. 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 Reply:

    @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. :-)

  11. 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 Reply:

    @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.

  12. 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 Reply:

    @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 Reply:

    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!

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

    donielle Reply:

    @Hélène, Hmmm……I would almost think you’d have to have the kefir. I don’t know how much yeast is in yogurt.

  14. 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 Reply:

    @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.

  15. 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

    donielle Reply:

    @marya, Yay! Glad you like it!

  16. 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 :)

    Donielle Reply:

    @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!

  17. 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.

    tori Reply:

    @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. :)

  18. 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.

    Ron Reply:

    @Richard Hobbs, What’s wrong with olive oil?

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!!

  21. 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 Reply:

    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 Reply:

    @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)

  22. What is the best way to keep this bread?

    donielle Reply:

    @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.

  23. Does this recipe work with store bought plain kefir & all purpose flour?

    donielle Reply:

    @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.

  24. 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.

  25. Would this be adaptable for a bread machine?

    donielle Reply:

    @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)

    Deniz Reply:

    @donielle, Thought so, but I thought I’d just ask to be sure :) thanks

  26. 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 Reply:

    @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 Reply:

    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.

    donielle Reply:

    @Heike, Glad you figured it out!

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

    Bible Babe Reply:

    @Bible Babe, Oh–I also put your button on my blog–I think you have a lot of good things for folks to read.


  1. […] feel accomplished. About a week ago I was looking online for unique bread recipes, and I ran across this recipe  for kefir bread. I found this recipe very interesting because,  I had at least 3 cups of […]