Making Water Kefir
Making Water Kefir
- Always keep your utensils and containers very clean. Soak in a bicarb solution or rinse with cleaning vinegar if in doubt. Rinse well. This applies to all the fermentation processes.
- Water kefir is, in my experience, the fastest growing, and easiest to care for culture, so is a good one to start with.
- Climatic conditions, temperature and quality of ingredients make a big difference to how the process works. Be very observant about what works for you, rather than what someone else says. For instance, a batch of water kefir will be ready within 6 hours in hot climates, and might take 24 in cool climates.
- Get your water kefir culture (‘scoby’ or ‘grains’) from someone for whom the process is working well - this means the culture is healthy.
- Place the grains in a clean glass jar, add water to not more than ¾ full, add 1 tablespoon white sugar, a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice and a whole dried fig. (I also do it without the lemon and fig, but think it gets the process going well to start off with). Cover with muslin and secure with an elastic band so the ants don’t get in! Set aside on the bench at room temperature.
- Very soon you will see bubbles rising, and the fig will eventually bob up to the surface. Taste to see if the sugar has been used up by the fermenting process. When it is no longer sweet, it is ready to drink. You can bottle and drink as is, or add some flavouring and start a secondary fermentation if you like.
- To create a secondary fermentation process, add about 1 teaspoon sugar to the bottle, and some ginger concentrate or elderflower concentrate. Secure the lid, and leave at room temperature for another day of so. You will see bubbles rising. This will make the drink very effervescent, so you will need to be careful when you open the bottle, otherwise it will fizz all over the place. Store in fridge for a few days for optimum drinking pleasure, and to settle the bubbles.
- To make ginger concentrate: grate some root ginger, (a 4-6 cm piece will make enough concentrate for 2 or 3 bottles) then boil up in a saucepan with about ½ cup water. Put lid on, turn heat off and let cool. Strain through muslin or fine sieve, and add to the bottles of water kefir or kombucha. Experience will tell you how much ginger is best for your taste. If you use ginger concentrate, it will create a sediment at the bottom of the bottle. If you don’t like this sediment, when you serve the drink you can filter through paper coffee filters or muslin. I prefer to drink the sediment.
Water kefir is typically composed of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly other minor yeasts.
L. casei subsp. casei
L. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
L. casei subsp. rhamnosus
L. casei subsp. tolerans
L. coryneformis subsp. torquens
*does not contain C. albicans - the yeast associated with human yeast infections and 'candida' in
*does not contain T. glabrata, also associated with yeast infections and 'candida'
The above research is largely from the work of Dolores Sanchez-Penalver, Aidoo, Dominic
Anfiteatro, and Ronald S. Brown, with additional resources from Abosluteastronomy Encyclopedia.