How to brew water kefir.
I think I’ve decided that water kefir could be my favourite ferment of them all.
It’s exciting to me to have such a healthy fizzy herbal soda, where I can control the quality of the ingredients. It’s also done in such a relatively short period of time from start to finish.
I’ll try and lay out the bare bones basics of how easy it is for those of you who ask me!
- Dissolve approximately 3 tablespoons of sugar in a mug of hot water. Stir to dissolve. Top up with another 3 mugs of cold water. Add the grains. I usually use a glass vessel of 1-2 litre size for this- and once the grains have been added to the sugar water I cover the top with a cloth or tea towel and rubber band. If I have a spare lemon in the house, I might also squeeze in a half lemon at this point, but this isn’t necessary.
- Let this sit out at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Taste from time to time and when it’s at an agreeable level of less-sweetness and not too tart, I strain the grains from the liquid.
Repeat the 1st step with the grains- as they need this sugar water to ‘survive’.
3. Take the strained water kefir liquid and here’s the fun experimental part: either drink as is/ add lemon or flavouring, add to a smoothie or fruit juice if you don’t want carbonation- it’s ready to drink anytime!
or if like me, the fizz is what you’re looking for- bottle the water kefir liquid into a Grolsch beer bottle style clamp down lid bottle (or a plastic bottle for those who err on the side of caution- take note that this can create a dangerous amount of carbonation- be warned!) and sweeten with a cordial, syrup, fruit juice, fresh/dried/frozen fruit of choice, ginger, lemon juice, or a sweetened herbal tea. It’s best if you make it slightly sweeter than your preference at this stage as the extra sweetness will be what creates your carbonation. Clamp down the lid firmly, label your bottle with your flavourings and the date- and leave out another 12-24-48 hours at room temperature, then move to the refrigerator. Chill and enjoy!
The benefit of the plastic bottle, especially as you are learning, is that you can ascertain when the bottle has fully carbonated, as the fizz will expand the plastic bottle and it will become rock-hard. As soon as this happens, you can move to the fridge and enjoy when cool.
Be warned: If you don’t use a glass bottle with the rubber grommets/ gasket, there is a very real risk of the glass exploding.
Best if made and drank within days as the carbonation will keep building up as fermentation progresses.
My favourite flavour combinations:
ginger and lemon
elderflower cordial makes a nearly exact cheat version of elderflower champagne
elderberry or blackberry and ginger
fresh apple juice added 1/4 to 3/4 water kefir makes a lovely light effervescent apple fizz.
This website has another nice explanation about how and why to brew water kefir:
How to Brew Water Kefir (a quick tutorial)
Or as always, I highly recommend you visit Cultures for Health website and find a rich resource of information including their free ebooks which you can download.