How to make Water Kefir

the fermentation process

WHAT IS WATER KEFIR:  A fabulous drink that is also a tonic food!   A probiotic water-based drink that is fermented using Water Kefir Culture Grains. Naturally effervescent, lightly sweet, tart, sour and very refreshing,   A naturally fermented homegrown probiotic Kefir helps to feed your beneficial gut bacteria which in turn helps strengthen your digestion, gut & and brain health, immune system and general wellbeing. 

 

They are called kefir grains because they look a little bit like small rice grains BUT THEY ARE NOT CEREAL grains they are a collection of bacteria & yeast that look a little like gel crystals.   

  • Prep
  • Cook Time
  • Difficulty Low
  • Serving
  • Digestion

    Digestion is an important part of our nutrient absorption & natural detoxification. Recipes have ingredients that support the digestive system.

  • Grain Free

    Recipes are grain free. No grain diet can help reduce inflammation in people with chronic auto-immune diseases. AIP, Paleo, whole 30 some Low FODMAP diets.

  • Immune Support

    Recipes have ingredients that support our immune system and help our bodies to fight bacterial and viral infections.  Foods high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals support our immune functions.  Food and herbs with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties help our bodies fight infection and support our immune response.

  • Probiotic

    A Probiotic is a beneficial bacteria that is found in certain food sources, eating these foods help support our gut, immune system and brain functions.  There are many different probiotic bacteria the common groups of organisms we know as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

     

  • Vegan

    Vegan Plant-based recipes have no animal products; no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no honey. Plant-based recipes ingredients are made from plants.

Ingredients

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  • 4 tbsp water kefir grains - activated*
  • ½ cup sugar - raw, coconut, sucanat
  • 6 cups filtered water | non chlorinated
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Method

How to make Water Kefir the fermentation process

 

WATER KEFIR 1ST FERMENT

GLASS JAR large enough to fit 8 cups | ½ gallon | 2 litres size jar works well.

 

MAKE SUGAR WATER IN JAR = 2cups hot filtered water + ½ cup sugar – stir to dissolve.  ADD 4cups filtered water = 6cups in total lukewarm sugar water.

 

ADD WATER KEFIR CULTURE GRAINS stir briefly and cover with a fermentation silicon cap, coffee filter & rubber band or ball jar ring to secure or lightly rest/sit on top of the jar (not screwed on).  The Kefir in the jar needs to be able to breathe especially to exhale during fermentation,

 

REST & FERMENT 24-48 hrs out of direct sunlight in a warm place above 68F | 20C – kitchen bench on top of the fridge works well.  Somewhere out of the way but not so far away that you forget about it as you need to check it every day or so. 

 

TASTE after 24hrs to see if the sugar water has changed flavoured and is fermented to your liking, 

 

ASTE again after 36 – 48 – 72hrs until you can taste the bright light sour fermented flavour and the sweetness is mostly gone – the kefir eats the sugar, so when it is ready it doesn’t taste like sugar water, but the Kefir does have a slight fermented sweetness.

 

STRAIN OFF KEFIR through a sieve to catch the grains – into another clean glass jar.   

 

STORE OR FLAVOUR  If you do not want this to carbonate and you are not adding any flavours then put the Kefir in the fridge.

 

STRAINED GRAINS  – DO NOT RINSE GRAINS they wear a coat of beneficial bacteria which we want to keep to help them grow and ferment so don’t wash it off.  

REPEAT immediately 1st fermentation, process MAKING MORE SUGAR WATER using a clean glass jar.   ADD STRAINED GRAINS 

 

FLAVOUR | HERBAL addition 2nd FERMENTATION

USE THE KEFIR you just strained into a clean jar.  You do not need grains during the 2nd ferment as the sugars in the fruits, herbs etc. you are adding will continue the flavour fermentation and also create carbonation if you want to do that.

 

*ADD FLAVOUR = Fruits, Herbs, Fruit Juice, fresh ginger – whatever you like – this makes for fun experimentation.  Fermentation time will vary greatly depending on what you use

 

REST & FERMENT 24-48hrs hrs with cover with a fermentation silicon cap, coffee filter & rubber band or ball jar ring to secure or lightly rest/sit on top of the jar (not screwed on).  The Kefir in the jar needs to be able to breathe especially to exhale during fermentation,
OR
CARBONATE means creating a soda bubble style Kefir.  Do this with the flavours BY tightly securing on a lid or using a Grolsch style flip-top bottle.  Leave a 1″ | 2.5cm space at the top of the bottle or jar.  The gases will build, and the beverage will become carbonated – it can explode so be aware.  You need to open the jar/bottle every day and “burb it” to avoid an explosion

 

STRAIN discarding the fruits, herbs etc

 

SERVE as is, as a base for a fruit-herb-ade, over ice, with fresh fruits and herbs, made into a punch, mocktail or cocktail.

 

Tips + Suggestions

SUGAR –  I have much success using unbleached minimally processed Raw Sugar – Cane & Coconut.  Any sugar will work; it depends on your preference and budget as to what makes sense for you.  Honey, Molasses, Sugar-alternatives are not a great choice for your grains.

 

USE FILTERED WATER or water that is not chlorinated to make plant milk for fermentation. Chlorine, chemicals and antibiotics kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria.  We want to grow our beneficial bacteria during the fermentation process. Hence, the water needs to be chemical-free; I use a benchtop Berkey water filter system with a fluoride filter.  Drinking and eating food made with chemical-free water is an essential part of my self-care.

 

*FLAVOURS – there is alot you can do – here is a guide to give you some ideas: ratios
        Fresh Berries 1-2cups berries: 6cups kefir – this will ferment REALLY FAST check it every 12hours
        Fruit Puree 1-2cups: 6cups kefir – this will ferment REALLY FAST check it every 12hours
        Herbs & Flowers – fresh & dried ¼ – 1cup: 6cups kefir – depends on the herbs and the flavour – start slowly until you have some experience and see what you like and what works for you.
        Citrus Juice ½ – ¾ cup fresh citrus juice: 6 cups kefir 
        Spices & Dried Fruits – ½ cup: 6cups Kefir to start with – again it will depend on the spices & fruits and the flavour combinations.

REPEAT FERMENTING –  The grains need a food source to live outside the fridge, so you need to be feeding them with sugar water every 4 days or so. 

 

REST the grains in the fridge in sugar water for long periods of time; You will need to feed them fresh sugar water every 3 weeks or so, but they will stay alive in the fridge this way for extended periods.

 

THEY GROW, and multiple the happy, active grains will grow in size and quantity during the fermentation process MUCH MORE than milk kefir grains ever will.   You want between ¼ – 1cup grains per 6-8cups water.   Any more than that is not great for the whole fermenting and maintaining process.

You can give them away and share the Kefir love. You can eat the water kefir grains they are after all living probiotics – blend them in smoothies or juices or sorbets.  You can feed them to your animals; I believe chickens love them!

 

ACTIVATED WATER KEFIR GRAIN = Follow the packet instructions if using for the first time. Then once they are plump and gel-like, and the initial sugar water has fermented for 3-4days, they are active and ready to make your kefir.  Discard the initial activation water.

 

 

TEMPERATURE of water – hot filtered water helps to dissolve the sugar then add room temp water so the water is lukewarm then add the kefir grains,  Adding hot water to Kefir culture grains will kill them. 

 

 

TEMPERATURE in the room – usually the kitchen, the warmer the room, the quicker the water kefir will ferment.  Somewhere between 68F-90F | 20-32C