Let's Make Water Kefir!
Making water kefir is simple and easy. As long as you can mix sugar and water, you can make this probiotic drink.
- sugar (white or brown will work)
- molasses (omit if using brown sugar)
- baking soda (optional)
First, you will need to obtain water kefir grains. Yes, you can convert milk kefir grains into water kefir grains. However, this takes time and is not easy. We promised easy, so obtain water kefir grains by contacting us 24 hours before planning to stop by the store. We will grab fresh grains and bring them to the shop. This keeps you from having to rehydrate grains or wait for it to arrive in the mail.
After you have the grains, you will need to have a clean and sanitized fermenter. Closed fermentation is possible, but this will allow the build up of butyric acid, which may make your kefir smell like vomit. This can be corrected with the addition of baking soda and/or molasses, but it doesn't always cover the smell. If you are using brown sugar, you may omit the molasses.
A note on water. We are often asked if tap water may be used for fermenting. The quick answer is YES! If your water is good enough to drink, it is good enough to use for fermenting. Some folks will purchase spring water when they don't feel comfortable using their own water. This is fine, too! However, do not use distilled water, as it tends to lack naturally occurring minerals (like calcium) that are beneficial to the fermenting process.
Back to the process! Mix equal parts of sugar and kefir grains. The ratio of grains to water should be one tablespoon of grains to one cup of water. If adding molasses, you will need 1/2 teaspoon per batch. If using baking soda, use 1/4 teaspoon per batch. If you use too much of the soda, the batch will taste like salt, and it can kill off some of your grains. Molasses can stain the grains over time, but don't worry, they will still work!
Add everything together and stir well. Do not use hot water, as this will kill your grains and ruin your batch. Use just enough warm water to dissolve the sugar, and top off with cold water. Cover the fermenter and wait one to three days. You can try the drink every day to see where the flavor is and how you prefer it. After the beverage has the level of tang that you like, strain the it into a jug and enjoy!
Many folks add fruit to their batches, I use a handful of raisins per batch. Fruit like figs and lemons can also be used. When I strain my liquid, I add fresh grated ginger to the pitcher to give it an extra boost for gut health. If you want to have the water kefir to be carbonated, pour the drink into a sealed container like a flip-top bottle, and let it sit on the counter for 1-3 days. After that, enjoy it immediately or place it in the fridge. If you leave it out too long the CO2 will build up and explode.
Kefir grains will multiply over time, and will do so quickly during the warmer months. Feel free to give these grains away, throw into a blender for a probiotic smoothie, or throw them into a compost pile.