Water kefir is an effervescent, dairy-free drink that is delicious and easy to make.
This probiotic, ‘gut friendly’ drink is a great alternative to sugary soft drinks, and you can make it with water, coconut water or juice.
In this article, you’ll learn to make water kefir using water.
EQUIPMENT THAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Glass jar.
- A piece of unbleached cheesecloth/muslin.
- Rubber band.
- Non-metallic plastic mesh strainer.
- Non-metallic stirring utensil (wooden or plastic spoon).
- 15g packet of active water kefir grains.
- 500ml of water.
- 15 grams of organic cane or Rapadura sugar.
- Pinch of bicarbonate of soda (Optional, if you do not require 100% organic ingredients).
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of organic molasses.
- Optional: 1 slice of lemon and piece of ginger root.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING WATER KEFIR:
1. Add water, sugar and molasses to your glass jar. Stir until the sugar is almost dissolved. Optional: Add bicarbonate of soda, which increases the pH level, and helps the grains grow. If necessary, use a small amount of boiling water to dissolve the sugar and molasses. Top up with cold water.
Molasses adds minerals and vitamins to your kefir, which assist with their growth and survival. If you do not have molasses, you can use the basic recipe of kefir grains, water and sugar.
2. Once the mixture has dissolved and is lukewarm, add your water kefir grains.
3. Optional: Add a slice of lemon and a small piece of ginger root.
4. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin on top of your jar. Secure with a rubber band. This will allow air circulation while protecting your grains from insects and dust.
5. Place your glass jar on your kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight. The ideal temperature is between 20 – 24 degrees Celsius. Leave for 24-48 hours. Remove ginger and lemon.
6. Strain the liquid from your kefir grains. Fill high-quality glass bottles (preferably Grolsch style brewing bottles) with your water kefir. Store in the fridge.
7. Repeat this fermentation process using your grains. Rinse grains first with water and always use fresh ingredients. By continually feeding your grains with water and sugar (and optional extra ingredients) you can keep your grains ‘alive’ indefinitely. Be kind to your grains! Don’t starve them of sugar and they’ll grow and multiply.
8. Adjust quantities according to how much your grains have multiplied.
- Mix one part juice with nine parts fermented water kefir in a glass jar. Mix well.
- Pour your mixture into a high quality brewing glass bottle and seal tightly.
- Leave to ferment, at room temperature, for 1-2 days.
- Store your bottles in the fridge. Serve and enjoy.
- Taste your water kefir every 24 hours. Your kefir will ferment more quickly in warm weather than it will in cold weather.
- The longer you ferment your grains the sourer it will taste.
- Do not leave your kefir for longer than four days without feeding it sugar and water. Your kefir needs to be maintained, or it will starve.
- Water kefir should have a yeasty smell and a slightly tart taste. Dispose of your kefir grains, if mould develops – or the smell or taste is overpowering.
- Use high quality brewing bottles to ensure that the build-up of pressure, from the carbonation, does not make your bottle explode.
- Store your water kefir grains, when not in use, in the fridge. Place your grains in a water/sugar mixture and store up to two weeks.