of water, probiotics, and kefir soda

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Strawberry Kefir Soda

When our third little one had tummy issues and I had to go off dairy, people started recommending probiotics.  But I didn’t know where to start.  So I didn’t.

Until a friend asked if I was interested in some water kefir grains.

I’d only ever heard of milk kefir—and sour milk didn’t sound appetizing to me, let alone anyone in my family.  (I mean, despite my friend’s easy-peasy sounding recipe for homemade yogurt, I haven’t tried that yet, either.  Did I mention we’re yogurt snobs around here?  Let me know if you find a homemade yogurt recipe that is anywhere equal to our favorite brands, Brown Cow and Zoi Greek!)

But water kefir?  The recipes I found online actually sounded like it could be good!  And just a glance at the purported health benefits convinced me it was worth a try.  I wouldn’t even be wasting expensive milk!

After just a few weeks of drinking kefir, I felt like the probiotics were really aiding my digestion. Even though my son hasn’t been able to go back on dairy yet, I think I’ll just keep right on drinking these incredibly frugal probiotics!

My favorite easy flavoring is a slice of lemon.  But the best kefir soda I’ve had so far was when I mixed it with leftover mashed, frozen strawberries.

I’m not a natural food blogger, but I wanted to compile my kefir information in one spot to send to all the people I’m sharing my water kefir grains with.  Hope it’s helpful!  (If you don’t have a kefir-growing friend nearby, you can order grains from Cultures of Health or an Amazon seller with good ratings.)

Have you tried kefir?  I’d love to hear your kefir experiences and favorite links in the comments!

How to Make Probiotic Water Kefir (or Kefir Soda)

Probiotic Kefir Soda
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
 
Ingredients
Main Components
  • ⅓ cup kefir grains
  • 1 quart lukewarm water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
Optional Flavorings
  • lemon slice
  • orange zest
  • cranberries
  • raisins
  • strawberries
  • mangoes
  • figs or prunes
  • blueberry-pomegranate juice
  • raspberry juice
  • grape juice
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla extract per quart
  • a tablespoon of whole caraway, anise, or fennel seed
  • fresh mint leaves
Instructions
  1. First Brew: Using a large glass bowl or jar that’s easy to pour from, stir sugar into water until dissolved. Add kefir grains. Cover lightly with a cheesecloth and string, paper towel and rubber band, or plastic wrap. Set in a warm place away from direct sunlight to brew, for 24-48 hours, until bubbly and fizzy.
  2. Strain: Using a plastic strainer, pour kefir water into a pitcher, reserving the grains for re-use (see step 6).
  3. Flavor: Add 3 T. desired fruit to the kefir water: a slice of lemon (my favorite!) or other fruit (fresh or dried!) for flavoring.
  4. Second Brew: Continue to brew for up to 7 days until desired fizziness. (Change out fresh fruit every 24 hours—dried fruit can be kept in the brew for up to a week.)
  5. Chill: Discard fruit. Chill if desired. Enjoy!
  6. Rinse & Repeat: Rinse kefir grains and repeat process.
Notes
Storing Extra Grains:
Kefir grains naturally reproduce, leaving you lots of grains to share with friends!
Store extra grains in the refrigerator in a loosely-covered jar, with ⅓ cup sugar to 1 quart water. Rinse and feed every few weeks.

For Best Results:
Use un-refined sugar.
Use un-chlorinated, un-fluoridated, un-distilled water.
Use glass containers.
Don't use metal containers or utensils.

Water Kefir Brewing in a Pyrex Bowl

IMG_6650

Other Uses for Kefir (it’s more than just a beverage!)

  • in smoothies
  • replace buttermilk or vinegar
  • soaking grains
  • facial masque
  • Comment with your favorite kefir uses?

Resources for Kefir Information

 

 

Follow Gretchen Louise’s board kefir on Pinterest.

Linking up with…

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Comments

  1. Lesha says

    Help!!!!
    I just got both milk kefir and water kefir grains for the first time. I did get them off amazon. The water kefir are multiplying like crazy but I can’t handle the taste. It totally smells like fermented nasty barf… Any ideas? I really really want this to work so bad. My stomach is totally out of balance.
    My directions say to use 1/4c brown sugar tsp molasis with 4c water. I let it sit for 48hours the first go around before dumping it into more sugar water. I have let is sit for another 24hrs in new water. Like I said the grains are multiplying like crazy and the water is getting fizzy. The smell of it just makes me want to vomit. Am I doing something wrong or is it normal for the water to have a strong rotting smell.

    My milk kefir is taking it’s time to multiply I’ve been putting it in coconut milk. I think I just need more grains in order for it to really turn the milk into kefir. I’ve found my milk to be a much slower multiplying process but I kinda expected that.

    I’m just trying to learn I’d really appreciate as much help as possible.

    • says

      Hello Lesha! It sounds like your grains are doing well but perhaps the ferment isn’t working correctly. I’d cut down your first ferment to 36 hours, and then do the second ferment for just 24 hours with fruit rather than sugar. The grains need sugar to feed on, but the kefir soda itself needs a source of fructose (fruit sugar) for the carbonation and fermentation. And it’s that fructose source that provides fabulous flavor in the second ferment! However, you can also get all the probiotic benefits by drinking it after the first ferment.

      As to the milk kefir, it multiples so very slowly in comparison to the water kefir grains. I’ve also heard that when using coconut milk, you need to feed it occasionally with dairy milk. I’ve been leaving my milk kefir for about 3 days and that seems to work–I was too impatient at first, wanting to use it right away.

      I’ve found all the tutorials at Cultures for Health to be super helpful. You might check their suggestions as well. Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes.

  2. Trela S says

    I haven’t been able to find any water kefir grains. Would anyone like to share with me? I would greatfully appreciate it! TIA

  3. Vanessa Mullins says

    I read that if you use prunes or prune juice you would get the taste similar to Dr. Pepper. Anyone tried this? I would love to find something to make mine taste like Coke!! I am addicted but it’s wreaking havoc on my gut. We have tried pomegranate blueberry and white grape and it’s delicious.

  4. Valerie says

    Wow! All recipes and images provided here looks so mouth-watering! Really delicious especially because it also have probiotics in it. Probiotics is a must-have supplement nowadays simply because it helps make our digestive system healthy which in effect, helps us have a more improved immune system.

  5. says

    This looks like just the ticket for me! I am addicted to fizzy beverages… weaned myself off of diet soda years ago (with only an occasional indulgence) but I seriously crave seltzer. At 50 cents a liter, it’s much cheaper than soda, but still an indulgence for me. To have my fizzy drink and have it be healthy too? And frugal? Oh be still my heart♥

  6. Lisa says

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your post! I have been experimenting with water kefir several times now. I originally tried months ago with organic sucanat sugar – with successful results; however I wasn’t fond of the strong flavor. Upon reading Keeper of the Home’s website the other day I tried organic sugar (lighter in color and flavor I guess) and tolorated the flavor much much better!!! I then tried an orange kefir soda, and drank it last night! It was very nice! It had a little fizz to it. Next time I will let it sit an extra day, maybe two to try and attain a little extra fizziness. There’s a big batch of plain kefir water brewing now, and when it’s done I plan to try strawberry kefir soda and orange again.

    • says

      Lisa, have you had any issues with the citrus killing the kefir grains? I just edited my post because originally I was putting the lemon slice in at the same time as the grains, but after my grains stopped replicating, I learned that citrus can kill them. So now I put the lemon slice in the kefir soda after I’ve strained out the kefir grains.

  7. åslaug says

    I’m really excited about this! Both that you’ve been able to have some dairy (my boy doesn’t have issues with dairy in his mama-milk, but I’ve thought a lot about you and others I know who’ve had to lay off the dairy for a while, and all the large and small challenges that comes with that..) AND trying water kefir.
    I’ve read about water kefir before, but kind of decided it was out of my league. However, your pretty picture of strawberry kefir intrigued me (along with the health benefits, of course ;) )
    I’m ordering my first grains today, and I wanted to get buy them through your link (because I think you get some cents from that, and it’s a tiny thank you for all the joy I get from reading your blog)… *out of breath, long sentences has been my downfall since sixth grade*. Anyhow, your link in this post doesn’t work. Just thought you’d like to know ;)
    Now I will end my insanely long comment and try your Amazon search-thingie, hopefully it sends you a thank-you cent too ;)

    • says

      Oops, not sure how that link got broken. But I meant to change it, anyway, because my friend Jessica ordered some from Amazon and they came floating in water, not dehydrated at all! So if yours look iffy, you might want to return them and pay a bit more for them from Cultures for Health. Sorry I didn’t get that updated sooner.
      By the way? Your comments make me smile. ;) ;) Thank you for trying to send the thank you cents. ;)

  8. says

    I’ve loved dairy kefir in the past, but I seem to be developing an intolerance for most dairy products, so I haven’t had any in awhile.
    I’d never even heard of water kefir until I read your post here! I immediately ordered some grains and I have my first batch “brewing” right now!
    I can’t wait to try it out, thanks! :-)

  9. says

    Thanks so much for linking up, Gretchen! I’m featuring you this week. :)

    I am definitely going to try this recipe! My kids actually love milk kefir… goat’s milk kefir, no less. I know… you are probably choking about now (me too, lol!).

    Needless to say, STRAWBERRY kefir will likely be a huge hit!

    • says

      One of these days I’m going to find some goat’s milk or raw cow milk and try making kefir that way, I promise. In the meantime, I’m working up my courage to make some homemade yogurt with storebought cow’s milk. ;) But yes, strawberry kefir is the yummiest. Guaranteed! ;)

      Thanks so much for featuring my post!

  10. Samantha says

    I’ve made both kinds of kefir- the milk with the goats’ milk we used to have. I still have both kinds of grains so I really should get back into making it!

  11. Rebecca says

    I find this “water kefir” fascinating. We eat a lot of dairy kefir around here. I find it very important for feeling my best–the probiotics are great!

    I also make homemade yogurt, not quite like the blog link you posted, but it also comes out very thick and yummy tasting (and I’m a yogurt snob too :-) ). The trick is to use creamy raw milk; ours comes from a local farm who has Jersey cows, and does that ever make for creamy, rich milk!

    • says

      Yogurt snobs unite! ;) I need to try my hand at yogurt making. I really do. But first I need to find a good source for raw cow’s milk… I can imagine how wonderful Jersey yogurt would be!

  12. says

    I am so glad it has worked for your family miss Gretchen! I have a batch going right now that I made out of weak tea… it is yummo so far, but I am doing the second ferment for the fizzy effect.

    And regarding the yogurt, girl, it is easy. I have two batches in the wood cookstove warming oven today. If I can do it without “real” appliances (fridge and stove), you can do it!

    (psst… I should have some dairy kefir kids soon too–course I use mine in soy, rice or coconut milk, but I can share these little fellas too.)

    Blessings.

    • says

      I still need to try using tea to make my kefir! After having a sample of carbonated coffee earlier this year, I wondered if that would be possible: kefir coffee? The sample was delicious but of course quite fake in its ingredients!

      Thanks for all your encouragement on my kefir journey, friend! One of these days you should write a tutorial on doing milk kefir without dairy. :)

  13. says

    You’ve inspired me to start again! :) I just asked a friend for some new grains…I’m excited to get back at it. How often do you make a new batch?

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