WATER KEFIR BREWING FAQ

WATER KEFIR BASICS

A. Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made with water kefir grains. Water kefir grains here here can be used to culture sugar water, juice, or coconut water.

A. The taste of finished water kefir varies greatly, depending on the sugar used and the culturing time. Water kefir can be fairly sweet and may have a flat taste unless bottled. Most people prefer to add flavouring to water kefir before consuming.

A. No, Water Kefir is naturally without these elements. And our water kefir grains are from a gluten, dairy and animal free facility.

A. Water kefir can be made using dehydrated grains here or you can receive instructions from one of our 2L DIY WATER KEFIR CULTURE KITS here .

A. Making water kefir doesn't require anything too fancy. You may consider using a DIY Kefir Culture Kit for brewing which includes everything you need to get started. Glass is the best choice for brewing water kefir and most utensils you will find in your kitchen.

REHYDRATING AND STORING WATER KEFIR GRAINS

A. If cared for properly, water kefir grains have an unlimited life span and can be used repeatedly to make water kefir.

A. Yes, water kefir grains are reusable. Once a batch of water kefir is finished culturing, simply remove the water kefir grains and place them in fresh sugar water - the sugar is what they eat to stay alive.

A. We strongly recommend moving the water kefir grains to fresh sugar water after four days, maximum. The grains can starve if left longer without fresh food.

A. We don't recommend drinking the rehydration liquid. Since the water kefir grains spent their time rehydrating rather than consuming the sugar, the resulting solution will likely contain a large amount of sugar. Also, the sugar water may taste unpleasant, as part of the rehydration process involves the rebalancing of the yeast and bacteria in the water kefir grains.

A. Yes. There may or may not be any bubbling with newly rehydrated grains. Follow the instructions for making the first batch of water kefir, even if there are no visible signs of culturing after 3-4 days of rehydration.

 A. Avoid leaving the water kefir grains to rehydrate longer than 4 days. Longer periods without fresh food can starve the water kefir grains. After 3-4 days of rehydration, even if there are no visible signs of culturing, transfer the kefir grains to new sugar water to start the first batch of water kefir.

MAKING HOMEMADE WATER KEFIR

A. Yes, some fruit juices can be used to make water kefir. However, using water kefir grains in juice and then moving them to sugar water may result in unpleasant-tasting water kefir.

We recommend maintaining two sets of water kefir grains instead, one for juices and one for sugar water. Alternately, add juice as flavouring after the grains have been removed. While your grains can be used over and over, it is not advisable to use your only set of grains in juice or coconut water, as this can be very hard on them - they are living remember and need the right nutrition to ferment. It is best to separate your grains into different sets for different environments.

If you are using juice, there should be enough sugar in the juice to feed the water kefir grains.

A. We do not recommend using honey to make water kefir. As honey has its own bacterial properties, unless you have a sophisticated home brew set up, with sophisticated testing equipment, fermenting with honey is not recommended.

A. When deciding on what water to use the main consideration is hygiene. We advise using Reverse Osmosis or filtered water for your fermentation. If you have a reputable source of spring water, that can work well too.

A. Water kefir generally takes 24-48 hours to culture. The exact time will vary depending on environmental factors and health of your grains, the most important of which is temperature. Allowing the water kefir grains to culture for longer than 48 hours puts you at risk of starving the grains and potentially damaging them.

A. The water kefir grains are likely very hungry after more than 48 hours without fresh food. Change the sugar water out every 24 hours for the next few cycles until the water kefir grains start behaving normally again. If it has been longer than 6 days, the odds of saving the water kefir grains are significantly reduced.

A. If your grains are working, the liquid may lighten in color and turn cloudy. The flavour may become less sweet and it may have a slightly tangy or sour aroma and flavour. If your water kefir ever looks, smells, or tastes unpleasant, we always recommend that you refrain from consuming it.

A. We have made it simple to start your first brew by offering our Signature Sugar Blend, Signature Tea Blend available online here . When deciding on what water to use the main consideration is hygiene. We advise using Reverse Osmosis or filtered water for your fermentation. If you have a reputable source of spring water, that can work well too. Sugars will come down to experimentation and what you want to train your culture to digest, as a rule of thumb simple sugars such as cane or white sugar are going to give consistent and speedy ferments. Avoid heavy and complex sugars such as honey or molasses, as they will be difficult for the culture to ferment.

A. To culture 1-2 litres of water kefir, use 3-4 tablespoons of hydrated water kefir grains.

A. No. There is no need to rinse the water kefir grains between batches, and regular rinsing may be detrimental to the health of the water kefir grains.

A. We suggest keeping a distance of at least 1 metre between items. When your cultured items are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids, there is no need to keep distance between them.

A. Click here to purchase a DIY Water Kefir Culture Kit with instructions. And here you will find a video showing you how to use your kit.

A.Finished water kefir can be stored refrigerated and ready to drink for 2-3 weeks.

A. We recommend using a clean container for each batch of water kefir. Watch this guide on how cleaning prep before brewing here.

A. Theoretically food-grade plastic shouldn't cause any damage to the culture but we always recommend glass when working with starter cultures, due to the potential of plastic to leach undesirable chemicals.

CARING FOR YOUR WATER KEFIR GRAINS

Water kefir grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, water kefir grains can be used repeatedly to brew water kefir.

A. Water kefir grains can be stored short-term in the refrigerator or long-term by drying them. Follow the procedure for Taking a Break from Making Water Kefir here.

A. We recommend using 3-4 tablespoons of water kefir grains to culture 1-2 litres of sugar water. More grains cause the culturing process to progress very quickly, so it is best to remove any amount above 4 tablespoons, to avoid over-culturing and to impart the best flavour.

Extra water kefir grains can be used to culture another jar of water kefir, shared with friends, eaten, blended into smoothies, or dried and stored in a sealed container in the fridge as backup.

A. Water kefir grains make a wonderful gift to friends. Alternately, they can be eaten, blended into smoothies, or shared with chickens or pets.

A. While a plastic mesh strainer is preferred, stainless steel is acceptable. Avoid all other types of metal when working with water kefir grains.

A. Water kefir grains require 3-4 days to rehydrate. It is common for the taste of the water kefir and the activity level of the kefir grains to change over the first few weeks after the water kefir grains are rehydrated. If you have questions or concerns about your water kefir, please contact Customer Support .

A. Always test aroma and flavour to make sure the water kefir grains are working properly. The finished water kefir should smell pleasant and maybe a bit sour, and it will be less sweet than the sugar water or juice you started with. The liquid will generally lighten in colour and turn cloudy during the fermentation period.

A. Maybe. It is normal that the kefir smell a bit yeasty at first. In the beginning, the yeasty smell is a sign that the yeast and bacteria in the kefir grains are still getting into balance. Normally the yeasty aroma will lessen significantly within a few batches. If the yeasty aroma continues, the water kefir may be over-culturing, which can cause an imbalance. Make sure to reduce the culturing time in warmer temperatures, to keep the grains well-fed and in balance.

A. Yes, it is normal that the newly rehydrated water kefir grains will mature for the first several weeks, and the flavour of the finished water kefir may change.

A. It is normal that water kefir not be very bubbly when using a refined sugar. Try a darker sugar or add mineral supplementation, we offer Signture Sugar Blend Pouches here to make this process easier. To get a carbonated finished water kefir, bottling the finished kefir in a tightly-sealed bottle is usually necessary.

A. It's a common misconception that water kefir grains that aren't multiplying are not working. Water kefir grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, water kefir grains can be used indefinitely to brew water kefir.

FLAVOURING, BOTTLING, AND SECOND FERMENTATION

A. We do not recommend adding fruit or other flavouring to the water kefir with the grains. Some fruits and other flavouring may be damaging to the water kefir grains.

A. When using fresh fruit to flavour water kefir, remove the fruit after 24 hours. Add fresh fruit every 24 hours if a longer culturing period is desired.

A. While it is possible for bottles to explode, it is more common for lids to fly off, particularly when being opened. We recommend keeping your whole hand over the lid of the container as you open it. Check bottles for cracks or imperfections before use.

FINISHED WATER KEFIR

A. The remaining sugar in finished water kefir will vary depending on ingredients used and culturing conditions. Generally speaking, water kefir cultured for 48-hours will result in less remaining sugar than water kefir cultured 24-hours under similar conditions.

A. Water kefir can be syrupy for a couple of reasons:

  • Over-mineralization: An unrefined sugar and water that is high in minerals may be too much for the grains. Too much mineral supplementation can also cause grains to break apart and turn mushy or yield syrupy water kefir. Reduce the mineral content of your sugar water solution as soon as possible, to allow the grains to recover.
  • Improper ingredients: Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, and other sweeteners are not the best food for water kefir grains.

A. Yes, as with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product. Although the amount will vary from batch to batch, for the typical brewing period, the amount should be quite low.

A. Straining finished water kefir isn't necessary. The reason for straining water kefir is to capture the grains easily.

A. There are a few ways to increase the amount of carbonation in water kefir:

  • When working with water kefir grains that were previously dehydrated for shipment, it can take a few batches for the finished kefir to be bubbly. This is normal.
  • Whole unrefined sugars will normally produce a more bubbly water kefir than water kefir made with white sugar.
  • Once the culturing process is complete and the grains have been removed, bottle the finished water kefir with or without added flavouring for 24-72 hours in a tightly-sealed bottle, to allow carbonation to build. Bottling water kefir is necessary for a very fizzy finished water kefir drink.

HELP!

A. When using fresh fruit to flavour water kefir, remove the fruit after 24 hours. Add fresh fruit every 24 hours if a longer culturing period is desired.

A. Grains can break apart, disintegrate, and become mushy for a few reasons:

  • Over-culturing: In warmer temperatures, shorten the culturing time and transfer the grains to new sugar water more frequently.
  • Over-mineralization: An unrefined sugar and water that is high in minerals may be too much for the grains. Too much mineral supplementation can also cause grains to break apart and turn mushy or yield syrupy water kefir. Reduce the mineral content of your sugar water solution as soon as possible, to allow the grains to recover.
  • Improper ingredients: Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, and other sweeteners are not the best food for water kefir grains.
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A. Yes, it is normal for the liquid to turn cloudy as it ferments.

A. While it is uncommon to find mold developing on a batch of water kefir, it may occasionally happen. White formations on the surface of the kefir may be mold or may be yeast. Please contact Customer Support before discarding anything by emailing info@kommunitybrew.com with a picture and your concerns. If mold does develop, you will need to discard the entire batch, including the water kefir grains. Do not try to salvage a moldy batch, even if you do not see mold on the water kefir grains themselves. Doing so may be dangerous to your health. Obtain a new set of water kefir grains, clean the jar thoroughly, and try again. Fermentation can take some time to learn. This is one of the reasons we suggest keeping grains seperate when trying different recipes.

A. Once mold has developed, it is very important to discard the whole batch, including the water kefir grains.

A.If mold has been a problem in the past, or if you know there is mold in your environment, dip, drizzle or spray the cover you are using for your water kefir jar (e.g. coffee filter, cloth napkin) with distilled white vinegar. Follow up by spraying the cover every other day to deter mold formation. Also ensure the cover is tightly secured on the jar.

A. Best practice is to toss it, no attempts to salvage should be made. To prevent pests, always cover the fermenting vessel with some kind of lid. A clean cotton cloth or coffee filter secured tightly with a rubber band is enough to keep flies out. Always keep one meter of distance from contaminant sources (garbage, compost, cat box, house plants, etc.). Remember that fermentations breathe the air around them, so a clean hygienic room is a must.