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Water kefir - are baking soda and eggshell really necessary?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I just got some water kefir grains (thanks Aris!!!) and I'm reading on Dom's site how to make it and he says to add baking soda and eggshells??? Is this really necessary?

I thought it was basically 1/2 gal water, 1/2 cup sugar, a peeled lemon and a couple tablespoons of raisins.

But, then I read the directions on his site and he calls for baking soda and eggshell. Are they necessary for some reason?
post #2 of 8
Water kefir grains like calcium to promote growth which is why Dom recommends the baking soda or egg shells. I've never tried the egg shells but I do occasionally feed them a pinch of baking soda. Maybe every ... 3 or 4 batches? When I'm using the awesome well water I get from friends I don't use it at all as it's mineral rich (and tested).
post #3 of 8
I've found that using a whole sugar (such as rapadura) or adding a little molasses to the white sugar every few batches is enough. I have very healthy grains that bubble and multiply like crazy and I don't add either.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know what the purpose of the lemon is?
post #5 of 8
I thought lemon was also high in calcium. Maybe to add more calcium? I also use whole sugar -- usually sucanat, and my grains double every batch.
post #6 of 8
I thought lemon was just for flavour.

We had no sugar in the house so I started my first batch in years with honey: and THEN read that that's a no-no given its anti-bacterial properties. Please tell me I won't kill my grains!

If it's any consolation, I used tap water that I boiled first, added the honey (so it's essentially pasturized) then let it cool completely before adding the grains.
post #7 of 8
I have a ton of water kefir grains, never added baking soda or egg shells. I hadn't read that previously. I'll do some hunting about it.

I do add unsulfured molasses most batches and use raw, unbleached sugars, rapadura. I've heard honey won't allow them to grow. But, I've heard they *do* reproduce.


Pat
post #8 of 8

eggshells etc

When I first started making water kefir I tried adding sea salt, eggshells, and calcium tablet into it. But my water kefir turned out very thick and slimy, not nice. Now I just use water, some fruit, cane sugar and the grains, my water kefir is much better without any additional minerals. I guess it depends on what type of water you're using. If your local water has enough minerals in it, there's no point to add more. I was told to add minerals if distilled water is used.
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