Originally Posted by mz_libbie22
I just got my kefir grains in the mail...actually they aren't at all grain like, more cauliflower like.
I know it's hard to be successful with the first batch. I used rice milk because that's all I have in the house right now. It didn't work at all. Not even close to being kefir. Should I have rinsed them more before using? That's what I was confused about. I just rinsed them a little bit in bottled water before putting them in the rice milk yesterday. Then today I drained them out of the rice milk and rinsed them in tap water, which I know you're not supposed to do but, I didn't really know what else to rinse them with. So now they're just sitting in my strainer and I don't know what I should do with them. I thought you could make kefir out of rice milk but, maybe not? Any advice would be appreciated.
Califlower shaped ones is a good thing, that means you got a big fat juicy one, that will usually produce many babies...
Really, you don't NEED to rinse the grains, unless you drop them on the floor or a dirty counter top... They can be gently stirred in the Kefir to help knock off some of the larger curds, but they are protected a bit by leaving some kefir or curdy bits clinging to them. The Dom goes into a whole page about 'to rinse or not to rinse' Kefir Grains. Definitely Don't use chlorinated tap water, though, that'll kill them.
'ferment' or 'innoculate' rice milk (or soy or other nut seed milks) with the 'Kefiran' bacteria and yeasts, however it will not set up like normal milk will
(curds and all that), since there are not really anything in those types of fake milks to turn into curds and whey. Milk is it's own unique substance that is predisposed to forming the 'curds' and such associate with yogurt and Kefir.
Rice/soy/etc is really more like making a Kefir d' Aqua, than making a 'Kefir milk'. Just so you know. So it definitely will not look or taste anything like milk that's been Kefir'd.
Go to the Dom's site, he has a whole section on making Kefir drinks from alternatives like rice or soy. I have only experimented with trying it once and I didn't really care for the taste as much. So that's the extent of my experimenting with rice milk as a substitute.
Also, leave them sitting in pure filtered water or the rice milk, if you have to have them in something, as just sitting around in a strainer will dry them out and the outer layers of bacteria and yeast will start dying off and it will take longer to 'reactivate' once they in milk.
Hope that helps!