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What is Water Kefir?
Water Kefir is a fermented, lightly sweet beverage, made with sugar, water and kefir grains. Water kefir is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals, a treat for the GUT. It has a wonderful midly zesty flavor.
What are Water Kefir Grains?
Water kefir grain (also know as Tibicos) looks like salt crystals, it may be large or small. Water kefir grains are a composite of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship.
What are the difference between milk kefir and water kefir?
As the name suggest, milk kefir is made from milk and water kefir from water + sugar. The process of making milk kefir and water kefir is very similar, however each contains it's own set of unique bacteria and yeast. Water kefir contains fewer strains of bacteria and yeast compared to milk kefir, but it is a good alternative if one is allergic to dairy or vegan. It also is a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink.
MAKING WATER KEFIR AT HOME
Where can I find the guide for making water kefir?
See: How to make water kefir guide.
See: How to second ferment water kefir.
What supplies do i need for making water kefir?
You will need sugar, water, a glass container as culturing vessel and water kefir grains.
What type/kind of sugar can i use to make water kefir?
- Brown Sugar
- Raw cane sugar
- Sucanat / Rapadura / Jaggery Powder
- Cane Sugar
- Refined white sugar
- Organic or not, it's your choice.
You can experiment with different types of sugar, as no sugar contains all the vitamin and mineral, so it's good to switch it up. A good sugar mix would be 70% raw sugar / white sugar + 30% mineral rich brown colored sugar. Sugar too heavy in mineral content can be detrimental to the grains in the long term.
i. Agave, stevia do not have the food that your water kefir needs, so we DO NOT recommend these for making water kefir.
ii. A pinch of pink Himalaysan sea salt can be added into your sugar water solution from time to time as supplement for the grains.
Does it matter the water you use?
Water kefir generally prefers mineralized water. If you are using tap water, to remove the chlorine in the water, let your boiled water sit out for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate.
How long does it take to make water kefir?
Water Kefir generally takes 24 - 48 hours to culture.
What are the signs that my kefir grains are making water kefir?
You will start to notice air bubbles forming, and it becomes mildly sweet-sour. If you are expecting a sour and bubbly drink, this is not the case for water kefir until the second ferment. If you bottle finished water kefir in a tightly sealed bottle for a day or two, it will greatly increase in carbonation and becomes even less sweet.
Can i use plastic container as brewing vessel?
We find that glass is one of the best options for fermenting because it doesn't scratch easily and is relatively inexpensive. Plastic can scratch and might harbor foreign bacteria, which can potentially harm your water kefir grains.
Do i need to clean/wash the kefir grains?
No. You do not need to rinse the water kefir grains.
How long can i store finished water kefir in the fridge?
up to 2 weeks.
There are a bunch of floating things in my water kefir, is that normal?
Water kefir tends to get sediments, yeast build up and floaties in it over time. This is perfectly normal. Some people like to give it a rinse once in a while. Simply run them under flowing water or swish them around in a bowl of clean water.
WATER KEFIR TROUBLESHOOTING
Why is my water kefir not fizzy / bubbly?
Carbonation usually occurs on second fermentation. Once culturing is complete (first ferment), bottle finished water kefir with your choice fruits / flavor / little bit of sugar for a day or two in a tightly sealed bottle, to allow carbonation to build.
My kefir grains are floating / Why aren't my kefir grains floating?
When the sugar are processed by the grains, it creates gas and sometimes the grains will float. If your grains are not floating, it's perfectly fine too. Some grains are more dense and remains on the ground. If you using a more refined sugar (i.e white sugar), supplement your sugar solution with some mineral rich brown colored sugar (e.g., brown sugar, jaggery powder, rapadura / sucanat sugar).
How long does water kefir grains last?
Water kefir grains can last indefinitely and used repeatedly if well taken are of.
I want to take a break from making water kefir. What should i do?
It's easy. All you have to do is prepare the usual sugar water and put your water kefir grains in. Cover and store in fridge until ready to resume. If possible, replace the sugar water every week. When ready to restart, remove kefir grains and place in a fresh batch of sugar water. They typically revive quite well coming out of the fridge.
Cold temperature slows the kefir grains down and put them into a state of hibernation. We do not recommend refrigerating the grains regularly as it might make the kefir grains sluggish, and will take a couple of batches to go back to their old selves.
How do i know if my water kefir grains are healthy?
Kefir grains are surprisingly resilient, and will keep at maintaining their health and vitality. As long as they are converting sugar water to water kefir that is pleasant in taste and smell, they are just fine. Depending on the types of sugar used, they range from clear to opaque brown color.
I left my water kefir culturing for more than 3 days. What should i do? Are they dead?
Strain out the kefir grains and put in a fresh batch of sugar water. They may be extra hungry at this point and eat through the sugar water quickly, do keep an eye on them and taste test. It may take several batches before the grains behave normal again, if it's has been neglected longer than a week.
Should i cover my water kefir with a lid or use a cloth cover?
Some people prefer to ferment with the lid on, some use a cloth to prevent carbonation build up and exploding jar. We have not seen much difference in either method. It's really your choice.