This is a guest post by my partner who is known in our small circles as the ‘kefir guru’. He is currently studying toward a Bachelor of Health Science degree at AUT while working full time and being the best partner/daddy/provider. xo
I discovered water kefir while looking for a probiotic drink that wasn’t dairy based, the grains can be easily purchased via Trade Me, or obtained from someone already brewing as they proliferate readily. I wont go into the science or background of water kefir here, but if you are interested this link should answer almost every question you may have http://www.yemoos.com/faqwamain.html
The following is my recipe for water kefir, there are many variations to be found on the web, differences in ratios of grains to water/sugar, flavourings etc, however at the rate we drink it in our household I have found the following to be almost foolproof, take minimal effort and have a pleasant taste reminiscent of ginger beer.
I use a 3 litre flip top jar for my brews as shown in the picture above, plastic and metal are not suitable.
Ingredients (simply multiply or reduce depending on the size of your brewing container)
1 Litre of room temperature filtered water or cooled well boiled water
Half a cup of water kefir grains
Quarter of a cup of raw sugar (I use the organic sugar from Trade Aid)
Quarter of a teaspoon of Molasses (Organic no brand molasses is cheap from Huckleberry Farms)
Dissolve the sugar and molasses in a small amount of boiling water and mix with the litre of water before adding to the grains in your container, that’s it!
Fermentation normally takes 24 to 48 hours, not left long enough it will remain flat and sweet, too long it and will start to sour as it begins to turn to vinegar, the ideal result should be light amber in colour and slightly effervescent.
At this point I normally strain the liquid into bottles and start the next brew. Under the right conditions the grains will multiply and I usually wait until they have tripled in volume before removing any, the excess grains can be stored in the fridge as a backup in the same sugar solution as when making the drink, they will still ferment but only very slowly. Change the solution about once per week or whenever the solution is fermented, it is fine to drink.
At some stage you will have plenty of grains to make your brew and backups in the fridge so this in when you can start to share the grains with others, again simply give them to someone in the same solution as above. Another good use for the excess grains is as an ingredient in smoothies.