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Old 07-27-2014, 11:27 PM   #1
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My story about Water Kefir

A few years ago, I was looking for a good probiotic. After reading a thread on DC, I purchased some kefir grains to make dairy kefir. I loved the flavor, how creamy the drink turned out, etc. The only problem I had with it was that I could not keep up with the out-put, and I did not drink *that* much dairy kefir. (Yes, I ended up with worker-bee kefir grains. Fortunately for me, it is easy to take breaks with kefir.)

While looking into kefir in general, I met a local woman who gave me water kefir grains and minimal instructions. Also fortunately for me, water kefir grains are also pretty forgiving and put up with a lot of mistakes. Like the dairy grains, the water kefir grains are productive worker-bees. So I made water kefir, but I did not know what to do with it.

For those new to kefir, the grains (also called tons of other things including crystals) are a colony of yeast and bacteria giving the kefir its probiotic nature. Because kefir grains use sugar in a fermentation process, there are trace (less than 1%) alcohol amounts formed.

So skip ahead a few years. I fed my little crystals and searched for tons of alternatives to commercial carbonated beverages. The soda stream seemed promising - and it has turned out some nice drinks - but I found soda stream syrups lacking.

I purchased a book called True Brews to look into making homemade soda. In the book, it mentioned that water kefir could a suitable soda. So...back to water kefir! I am really happy with the blackberry soda that I produced!

Basically, I tossed sugar and water into a ball jar with my grains. After two days, strained the kefir water into liter-sized, flip-cap bottles. Then I simply added 1/4 cup of blackberry syrup. After two days at room temperature, I have a sparkly, blackberry-flavored "soda." It's a pretty color too!

I've used vanilla paste and sugar for a cream soda flavor, but it needs work. I might try the vanilla paste with some cherry syrup. So far, I'm using commercial syrups but might try making my own soon.

Just wanted to share.

~Kathleen
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:14 AM   #2
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Very interesting. I had only heard of dairy kafir before. How does the flavour of the soda compare with "regular" soda?
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:06 PM   #3
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where did you buy grains? I would be interested to look into it myself. But have not been able to find what I need.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
A few years ago, I was looking for a good probiotic. After reading a thread on DC, I purchased some kefir grains to make dairy kefir. I loved the flavor, how creamy the drink turned out, etc. The only problem I had with it was that I could not keep up with the out-put, and I did not drink *that* much dairy kefir. (Yes, I ended up with worker-bee kefir grains. Fortunately for me, it is easy to take breaks with kefir.)

While looking into kefir in general, I met a local woman who gave me water kefir grains and minimal instructions. Also fortunately for me, water kefir grains are also pretty forgiving and put up with a lot of mistakes. Like the dairy grains, the water kefir grains are productive worker-bees. So I made water kefir, but I did not know what to do with it.

For those new to kefir, the grains (also called tons of other things including crystals) are a colony of yeast and bacteria giving the kefir its probiotic nature. Because kefir grains use sugar in a fermentation process, there are trace (less than 1%) alcohol amounts formed.

So skip ahead a few years. I fed my little crystals and searched for tons of alternatives to commercial carbonated beverages. The soda stream seemed promising - and it has turned out some nice drinks - but I found soda stream syrups lacking.

I purchased a book called True Brews to look into making homemade soda. In the book, it mentioned that water kefir could a suitable soda. So...back to water kefir! I am really happy with the blackberry soda that I produced!

Basically, I tossed sugar and water into a ball jar with my grains. After two days, strained the kefir water into liter-sized, flip-cap bottles. Then I simply added 1/4 cup of blackberry syrup. After two days at room temperature, I have a sparkly, blackberry-flavored "soda." It's a pretty color too!

I've used vanilla paste and sugar for a cream soda flavor, but it needs work. I might try the vanilla paste with some cherry syrup. So far, I'm using commercial syrups but might try making my own soon.

Just wanted to share.

~Kathleen
Just got a copy of True Blues from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I've been eyeballing the kefir recipes and the kombucha recipes. Right now, I've been somewhat focused on various vinegars...
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:11 PM   #5
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where did you buy grains? I would be interested to look into it myself. But have not been able to find what I need.
I got the starter grains at an organic/health food store--they are kept in the dairy section.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Very interesting. I had only heard of dairy kafir before. How does the flavour of the soda compare with "regular" soda?
The flavor on its own is pretty subtle so it lends itself well to flavorings. Others have detected a very light malty taste, but I do not notice it. Slightly tangy would be my description. As for comparing it to regular soda, I would say it depends on how much sugar/syrup/flavoring to be added. Lots of sugar = lots of fizzy. I don't put in much sugar, so a bit fizzy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
where did you buy grains? I would be interested to look into it myself. But have not been able to find what I need.
I was gifted my grains from a local lady with whom I've kept in touch. She recommended this vendor via Amazon though. The grains last for years and years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Just got a copy of True Blues from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I've been eyeballing the kefir recipes and the kombucha recipes. Right now, I've been somewhat focused on various vinegars...
Vinegars sound great. Around here, the dairy kefir is easy to find, but the water kefir is more difficult to find. Definitely different products. I love dairy kefir, but it makes way more than I can drink and I struggle to keep it happy since I take so long to go through it. But...I'm really a beginner with it. Do you like True Brews? I think it is a good book for beginners.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas and the book suggestion (I am a librarian...will order this and it will go out like crazy as do all my fermentation books).

DH is the milk kefir grower at our house. He makes lots of fruit smoothies and when we have extra I strain it in muslin...makes a darn good cheesecake or herb dip.

I was gifted some dried water kefir grains and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. I've been doing a second ferment with my kombucha using fruit..it makes sense that water kefir would be good done the same way...thinking huckleberry soda...yum.

I haven't tried dehydrating the water kefir grains yet, but if anyone's having a hard time finding them I'd be willing to try it. Mine took a long time to get going, but once it did, it's healthy!
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
The flavor on its own is pretty subtle so it lends itself well to flavorings. Others have detected a very light malty taste, but I do not notice it. Slightly tangy would be my description. As for comparing it to regular soda, I would say it depends on how much sugar/syrup/flavoring to be added. Lots of sugar = lots of fizzy. I don't put in much sugar, so a bit fizzy.



I was gifted my grains from a local lady with whom I've kept in touch. She recommended this vendor via Amazon though. The grains last for years and years!



Vinegars sound great. Around here, the dairy kefir is easy to find, but the water kefir is more difficult to find. Definitely different products. I love dairy kefir, but it makes way more than I can drink and I struggle to keep it happy since I take so long to go through it. But...I'm really a beginner with it. Do you like True Brews? I think it is a good book for beginners.
I agree re: the book being good for a beginner. I'd never heard of kombucha until I opened the book.

I'm having way too much fun with the vinegars. The raspberry is to die for. The cherry is a bit strong, but I'll let it mellow some more...can't wait to try the strawberry...
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookbrat View Post
Thanks for the ideas and the book suggestion (I am a librarian...will order this and it will go out like crazy as do all my fermentation books).

DH is the milk kefir grower at our house. He makes lots of fruit smoothies and when we have extra I strain it in muslin...makes a darn good cheesecake or herb dip.

I was gifted some dried water kefir grains and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. I've been doing a second ferment with my kombucha using fruit..it makes sense that water kefir would be good done the same way...thinking huckleberry soda...yum.

I haven't tried dehydrating the water kefir grains yet, but if anyone's having a hard time finding them I'd be willing to try it. Mine took a long time to get going, but once it did, it's healthy!
I'll bet the dairy kefir would make a great cheesecake....or herb dip. Hmm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
I agree re: the book being good for a beginner. I'd never heard of kombucha until I opened the book.

I'm having way too much fun with the vinegars. The raspberry is to die for. The cherry is a bit strong, but I'll let it mellow some more...can't wait to try the strawberry...
Kombucha has become trendy in my neck of the woods. So far, the kinds I have tried have a pungent flavor that I find a bit overpowering.

I *love* raspberry vinegar on sweet potato fries.
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