water kefir soda, homemade healthy low-sugar fruit flavoured soda
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Basic Water Kefir Recipe

Home-brewed flavoured probiotic soda using two stage fermentation process with water kefir.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: World
Keyword: fermentation, fermented foods, homemade soda, probiotic beverage, water kefir
Servings: 500 ml
Author: Teenuja Dahari - veganlovlie.com

Ingredients

Fermentation Stage 1  (*see recipe notes)

    One 24-oz [710 ml] mason jar

    • 2 tablespoons water kefir grains
    • 2 tablespoons organic blond sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon (or slightly less) rapadura or sucanat sugar, coconut sugar or jaggery
    • 2 cups lukewarm water [24-26°C / 75-80°F], or at room temperature

    Fermentation Stage 2 & Flavouring

      Flavour 1: Fresh & Dried Fruits

      • 1/4 cup fresh fruits fresh or frozen, e.g. cherries, berries, watermelon...

      Flavour 2: Fruit Juices

      • 60 ml fruit juice of choice [1/4 cup], freshly squeezed orange juice or store-bought organic juice like apple, pomegranate. grape juice...

      Flavour 3: Herbal Tea & Ginger

      • 1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flowers
      • 1 inch cube fresh ginger root finely sliced
      • 1 tablespoon (or a little less) maple syrup (or blond sugar)

      Other flavour ideas: just plain ginger root, fragrant herbal teas (lemongrass, chamomile, lavender...), other fresh fruit juices (apple, grape, pomegranate...), unsulfured dried fruits (figs, raisins, pineapple...), vanilla...

        Instructions

        Procedure - Fermentation Stage 1

        • In a jar, mix the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
        • Add the water kefir grains.
        • Cover the jar with a cloth secured with a rubber band and let sit in a warm place 24-26°C (75-80°F) for 48 hours.During summer, I leave the jars in a closed cupboard. Light does not affect the grains, so if you decide to leave the jar on the counter, it's okay too.
          In winter, you may place the jar on top of your fridge. It is usually a nice warm spot to ferment your grains.
          If fermentation conditions are too cold your grains will grow slowly or not at all.
        • After 48 hours pour the mixture through a strainer and set the grains aside for your next batch.
        • Taste the mixture using a clean spoon or straw. If using a straw, dip it in about ½ way and place your thumb over the end and then pull it out. The mixture will taste less sweet than the initial sugar water solution. If you like your water kefir a little on the sweet side, you can proceed to Stage 2. If you want less sugar, cover and let it sit an additional 18 - 24 hours before proceeding to Stage 2.

        Fermentation Stage 2 & Flavouring

        • Here are 3 flavour ideas to get you started. Experiment on your own and try different flavours. I also enjoy water kefir without any additional juice or other flavours and I even add it to smoothies or protein shakes, so this is where you can have fun experimenting.

        Fresh & Dried Fruits

        • You may use any fresh fruits that are in season. Dried fruits like pineapple, raisins and dates are great too.
        • Just pit (if required) and chop the fruits into small pieces (halves or quarters in the case of cherries/strawberries). Drop them into the bottles and fill with 2 cups of water kefir. Don't overfill (leave a little space at the top). 
          I'm using cherries in the video as I filmed it when cherries were in season.

        Fruit Juices

        • Add 60 ml (4 tablespoons) of juice to 2 cups of water kefir in a bottle. You may adjust to your taste but try to use a little juice as possible to just get the flavour without diluting the water kefir content too much.
        • Don't fill the bottles right to the top, leave a little space for the carbonation.

        Herbal Tea: Hibiscus, Ginger & Maple Syrup

        • Place the dried hibiscus flowers and ginger slices in the bottle.
        •  Stir a little less than one tablespoon of maple syrup** into 2 cups of water kefir then fill the bottle. Again, don't overfill.
          **We're adding a little sweetener here to help with the carbonation. Without the sweetener, no carbonation will happen. In the case of fruits, they already contain their natural sugars so there is no need to add any more unless you like the soda to be a little sweeter.
        • Seal the bottles with tight fitting lids and let sit in a warm place for 24 - 48 hours.
        • Test after 48 hours by slowly opening the lid on the bottle. Be very careful. There is probably a lot of carbonation inside and the liquid may fizz up and make quite a mess if you open the bottle too quickly.
        • If your water kefir is ready it will fizz up. You can now place the bottles in refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.
        • If the kefir has little or no fizz, add ½ teaspoon of sugar or if you have room add more juice and then wait another 24 hours.
        • Note: If you don’t want the fizz (carbonation), refrigerate your kefir as soon as you bottle it.
        • I hope you'll have fun making your first batch of water kefir. After your first batch, just start the process all over again using the basic recipe above (Stage 1 & 2).

        Video

        Notes

        *For Fermentation Stage 1
        You can use any multiple of this formula depending on the quantity of Kefir Grains. If you are buying 1 tablespoon of water kefir grains to start with, then halve the recipe.
        In the video, I am using 4 tablespoons of kefir grains, 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of organic cane sugar + 1 tablespoon of rapadura or sucanat sugar

        Where to Buy Water Kefir Grains?

        US - Amazon US
        Canada - Amazon Canada and GoGoKefir
        Also on Ebay and in health stores.

        Troubleshooting Water Kefir Fermentation

        If your grains seem to be a bit sluggish and not growing it is usually one of these:
        • Water - Try using non-ozonized spring water.
        • Temperature – Make sure the temperature is kept at 24 - 26 C. It might help to stick an adhesive thermometer strip on your fermentation jar to monitor the temperature.
        • Mineral content – Try adding a couple drops of mineral supplement, add a pinch of grey sea salt or an extra teaspoon of rapadura/Sucanat sugar.
        If your grains are getting mushy or disintegrating:
        • Mineral content - There may be too much minerals in the water. Try rinsing the grains with filtered water then do the first stage fermentation with just the blond sugar for one to two cycles (don't add the rapadura or sucanat). See if this helps, then go back to fermenting normally with a little rapadura or sucanat.
        • Grains are tired - Put the grains to rest for a little while.
          Mix 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon blond sugar. Place the grain in this sugar water in a jar. Cover with a cloth and elastic band and place in the refrigerator for 1 week. The cold will put the grains to sleep and allow them to rest/rejuvenate. After one week, restart the fermentation process as usual.
        What to do with the extra grains?
        As you progress you’ll eventually have extra grains. You can give them away to family and friends so they can start making their own water kefir. If you have no one to give them away to, store them in a 500 ml jar with sugar water (1 cup of water with ½ tablespoon of sugar). Cover with a piece of cloth and seal with a rubber band. You may store the extra grains beside your next batch of water kefir but I like to keep them in the refrigerator (which preserves them for longer without having to change the sugar/water too quickly). Rotate the extra grains in and out of fermentation to keep them healthy. If you are not rotating the grains and you are keeping them at room temperature, change the sugar/water mixture every 48 hours.
        You can also dry and freeze extra grains, use them in smoothies & recipes. If you are adding them to smoothies or recipes, start with a little at a time as the concentration of the microorganisms in the grains is much higher than in the fermented water. If your gut is not able to handle such a high concentration of probiotic all at once, you may get the runs!
        Link to original post - Water Kefir Home-brewed Soda Procedure - https://veganlovlie.com/water-kefir-soda