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What is water kefir?
One culture with many names. Tibicos, Japanese crystals or above water kefir. What is meant, however, is always a culture of translucent, crystal-like grains made from yeast and bacteria, which can very quickly and easily turn water and sugar into a tangy drink. The process is very simple and actually only requires water, sugar and dried fruit.
What is the difference between water kefir & milk kefir?
The difference is basically in your eating habits. While milk kefir thrives in lactose, water kefir multiplies rapidly when fed on fructose. Table sugar contains fructose and is therefore suitable. Water kefir also needs calcium and protein in the fermentation process. Therefore, hard water and the addition of dried fruit are necessary for its development.
How do I use water kefir crystals?
Take a clean jar with a screw cap. Add sugar, table sugar, fructose as well as cane sugar are possible. Use between 40-60g / liter of sugar.
Let the crystals slide into the glass, add a small handful of dried fruit and lemon juice. Put the lid on and off you go.
Try after 24 hours. The drink can be a little sweeter than you ultimately want it to be. If it's still too cute for you, leave it for another day.
The duration of fermentation depends heavily on the following factors:
- how warm is it in the room
- how active is your culture (i.e. crystals that have already successfully fermented on a regular basis)
Then fill the kefir in a tight-fitting bottle and let it stand for a few days at room temperature for the second fermentation. It is then stored in the refrigerator. Cool water kefir not only tastes better to "extend" the kefir To avoid it, it should definitely be refrigerated before consumption.
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Recipe for water kefir
3 liter screw jar
3 liters of water (not filtered, but not chlorinated)
30g dried fruit (dates, apricots, figs)
Organic pink grapefruit juice
1 small handful of water kefir crystals
1 dried hibiscus flowers (optional)
Mix water with sugar. Add dried fruit, crystals, juice. Add the squeezed grapefruit peel to the glass. The pods add extra flavor.
The hibiscus leaves give the kefir, which is otherwise more of a milky color, a beautiful pink color.
As soon as it meets your expectations in terms of taste, strain into a plastic sieve. Remove grapefruit peel, dried fruit and flowers from the crystals. Rinse briefly under cold running water and your water kefir is ready for the next use.
Tips & tricks for making water kefir.
How do I care for water kefir?
Your water kefir loves fructose. This is abundant in all types of sugar. Household sugar, cane sugar or even dextrose ensure a miraculous increase in the number of crystals. After a few runs, your kefir will be in top form. It produces a lot of crystals and is getting faster and faster.
This is when you should put a little crystal world in your fridge. Take a small jar with 2 tablespoons of sugar and fresh water and place the excess crystals there. Put the jar in the refrigerator. You now have a backup for your kefir production or a wonderful gift for friends. Once a month, give your kefir a new culture medium and repeat the process described above so that it gets new water and sugar.
How many tubers do I need for how much water?
The amount is basically subordinate. Too many tubers speed up the process and at the working speed of a healthy water kefir (24 hours a day) this is only desirable if you have a large family of water kefir drinkers.
As a guide, one tablespoon of crystals per liter of water. Once your kefir has settled in, it will multiply its crystals very quickly. Therefore, proceed as described above and remove crystals regularly.
Can my water kefir crystals come into contact with metal?
I only use plastic sieves and plastic spoons. The tradition is that the crystals must not come into contact with metal. However, that is a question of the metal. Since the fermentation is a lactic acid fermentation, metal that corrodes is not suitable. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is not a problem.
Personally, I find the plastic variants softer and the crystals don't rub against the metal.
Which dried fruit is suitable? Can I also use fresh fruit?
While with kombucha the addition of fruit serves the taste, with kefir it has a nutritional function. The crystals need proteins, which they find in dried fruit. In principle, any dried fruit is suitable, but it should be organic & unsulphurized, as sulfur inhibits fermentation.
TIP : If you don't have a crowd of nimble sorters like Cinderella, use large dried fruit (apricots, dates, figs). Picking up raisins and crystals is a test of patience.
My crystals aren't really multiplying?
You are using water that is too soft. Add 2 washed eggshells.
My crystals multiply like wildly?
Congratulations. Your kefir feels good! We cover the issue of overpopulation here .
My water kefir crystals are slimy. What can I do?
Alas! Not good. You have to dispose of the crystals. If you don't have a crystal world in your fridge, come and see us - we still have it.
Can I ferment with less sugar?
Yes. Your kefir may then become less tangy and taste boring after a while because the yeast has used up the sugar. In the end, however, the amount of sugar added is something that is approached experimentally. Try & Error.
Can I ferment without sugar or with sugar substitutes?
No. The process only works if your kefir is getting fructose.
My kefir is not tangy?
2 potential sources of error:
You have not used enough sugar or you have filled it into a container that is not airtight and the carbonic acid has escaped.
My kefir is running out and is very carbonated?
Unfortunately, a very common topic with water kefir and not really 100% avoidable - but the following things help:
- refrigerate the kefir as soon as it is carbonated
- use good glass, not thin, Swedish furniture store glass - preferably swing glasses or twist-off glasses
- Open the kefir in the sink and hold a cloth over it and the glass ready for immediate pouring
I'm getting gas from kefir!
Start slowly. Even if it tastes good, if you are not used to it, only drink 1-2 glasses a day. You can increase that over time. Your body has to get used to the supply of bacteria first.
Also, make sure that your kefir isn't too sparkling, if that's the case, let it roll out a little before enjoying it.
The same goes for friends & family. I once proudly presented my kefir treasures at a dinner, which guests who didn't want to drink alcohol were very happy to accept. One woman drank almost a liter, unfortunately ... she had a bad night.
My kefir tastes boring
Although it is a lactic fermentation, it produces relatively little acid. The addition of lemon or other citrus juices not only helps to regulate the pH value, but also gives the drink an interesting note. The range of taste enhancements is never ending - "everything goes".
Does kefir contain alcohol?
Well-ripened kefir can contain up to 1% alcohol.