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kefir - looking for a good water recipe - lactose issues

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 
I finally got some kefir grains a couple of weeks ago (thank you cjr! ) only to find that we are having lactose problems. I thought the lactose was digested by the kefir, so it wouldn't be a problem for the lactose intolerant.
Also, I had it when I was a teen and was ok.....
anyway...... I am thinking of converting some of my grains over to water grains. Anyone have a yummy recipe?? I keep hearing people mention ginger ale but haven't found a recipe yet. How forgiving is the kefir to the mixture? I mean, can you experiment with different amounts of sugar etc. without killing it?? I don't want to harm my precious grains but also really want to find a way we can use them.

thanks.
gisele
post #2 of 177
There is a big huge kefir thread around here somwhere.

I have heard of doing kefir grape juice. That would be good. Let me see if I can find the linky. It is LOOOONG but a great read.

G
post #3 of 177
post #4 of 177
Thread Starter 
thanks for the link!! I kept seeing references to it, but had not stumbled on it yet. How do you like your grape kefir?
g.
post #5 of 177
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=203282

This is the Kefir (specific) thread. It's been archived. There are many off shoots around in the main forums still too.

If you are trying to get the lactose level to zero, you might need to 'brew' your Kefir a bit longer and or let it sit in the fridge for an extra day or two. It takes time for the bacteria/yeasts to use convert it all.

Another thing, your body might be adjusting to the sudden appearance of lots of good bacteria, and you could be experiencing a 'die off' of the bad, anerobic bacteria, rather than a full blown lactose side effect.

You can convert the regular milk grains to 'fruit juice' ones. The first few batches might taste a bit off (if you've tasted real water kefir brews) but the grains will adapt and make a decent drink. They might stop reproducing (as a matter of fact, it's almost guaranteed they will stop, they need the stuff in dairy to reproduce), but they will continue to ferment your juice drinks so no worries. Just be careful if you add all your Kefir grains to the juice. Once you start doing that, there is not too much going back, if you want them to reproduce so you can give some away to friends....

Hope that helps.

Xenabyte
post #6 of 177
Thread Starter 
thanks for the link xenabyte!!

Well, I decided to give the kefir another try - had some left over in the fridge- and man are we sick! It's like eating a whole bowl of ice cream! Anyone who's lactose intollerant will know what I mean.

I wonder if we would aclymatize to it if we had small amounts for a while - Anyone had any experience with this??

I'd rather use milk as it's probly better for the grains, so not sure what I'll end up doing.

g.
post #7 of 177
Coconut water kefir!
http://bodyecology.com/coconutkefir.php
Takes some work but is good. Also read her info about getting your body off and then slowly back on dairy (raw). Might be of interest to you. I haven't read through it all since it's not an issue for me, but thought I should mention it!
post #8 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenabyte
Hope that helps.
Xenabyte
Holy cow, Heather. How in the heck are you? I just noticed you posted in February but I have missed your posts since sometime last summer. Just yesterday I was thinking about emailing you to make sure you were alive. It's good to see you.

And not to be entirely OT, I kefir-ize any extra juice we have around here. I just finished a batch of orange juice and literally all I did was add the grains and let it sit for a couple of days. Sometimes I dilute the juice or do combinations. Some pomegranate kefir in December made my grains look like blackberries. They are still alive but may never be the same again. I'm glad I didnt use the whole passle of grains.
post #9 of 177
Hey Gale Force. I'm doing good! I was busy busy with some projects around here and then I had some major computer issues. But they seem to be ok now and I'm able to log on and read/post again.

Regarding 'water kefir' recipes:

Basically if you have real 'water kefir' grains, it's much easier. I finally orderd a very expensive, but reproducing and working great, batch from a lady in Germany. I will post the link to her site, otherwise, if folks can wait, I hope to be shipping /real/ water kefir grains again soon! The grains were expensive, but they seem to be working wonderfully well.

For a 'water kefir' recipe using real water grains, you only need to mix:

1 liter (quart) of filtered water or spring water (No chlorine please)
6 TBS plain white sugar (yes, there is a reason for this)


THAT alone will give you a fermented water beverage. However, you do need to add in a few things for better flavor, such as:

3 whole, dried figs (I like black mission) or a small box organic raisens
1-2 thin slices of fresh organic lemons (peel off the rind)
2-3 chunks of dehydrated ginger root or unsulfured pineapple


The above, fermented for 24 hours to 48 hours will give you a very nice tasting 'fermented gingerale' flavor. If you like you can play with other fruits, such as;

Strawberries, pineapple, oranges (peel removed), mango, etc.

You can also just add in fresh squeezed fruit juice after the 1-2 day fermenting process.

You can also just put the grains in juice (like grape) and it will give you 'sparkling grape' in a couple of days. But the grains will be 'dyed' a permanent pinkish purple color! Will not hurt them, but folks might wonder about them if you ship them to them that color..hehe


For MILK Grains, that you convert to 'Water' Kefir brews, I'll be honest. The flavor isn't quite the same. It has a 'milk kefir' smell to it that I don't like. You need to use strong fruit flavors to 'mask' it. The 'milk grains' that you use, need to become dedicated to using in fruit juice and the above 'sugar/fruit water' mixtures. They WILL stop reproducing, but will continue to ferment the brews ok. Most folks that convert milk grains, use them just in grape juice to make 'sparkling grape ferments'. This seems to mask the 'off flavor' enough to make it still tasty.

Hope this helps!

Here is the link to the website selling both water and milk kefir grains:
http://www.vitaldrinks.de/

Most of you already know about the 'Dom's' site, and he sells milk kefir grains, but not water (last time I checked, that is). Other than that, try googling a yahoo kefir group.
post #10 of 177
Hi Heather. Wondering why you take off the rinds of your citrus fruits? If I recall Dom doesn't say to on his site. Is it just a taste issure for you or is their a reason.

Also why just white sugar? I know Sally Fallon uses rapadura in her recipes (personally I don't like the taste for water kefir). And have you ever tried honey? I have and it didn't seem to affect the brew. Although honestly I haven't been able to find a brew/flavor that I really love. Some I can drink, some I dump.

How much grains do you use per quart? I think that is my problem for bad brews, my grains seem to grow so fast I always have so many in there.

How long do you ferment? I usually end up fermenting mine 48 hrs because I am no sugar right now and want all the lactose eaten up. That could also be why none of mine taste good.
post #11 of 177
Thread Starter 
So, just to update, i tried again, and no digestive issues with the milk kefir!!
I think I was reacting to something else because i am drinking it every morning now and doing great!! Haven't gotten up the courage to feed it to dd yet, but that'll be the next thing to try.
I have been soaking a raw oatmeal recipe I have in kefir instead of soy milk in the mornings and it is fantastic. (Basically oats, nuts, fruit, soaked 1/2 hour before eating)
I also tried brewing the kefir for longer, as suggested, and that may be helping. thanks for the tip.

gisele
post #12 of 177
that's great Gisele!

Eat Fat Lose Fat has some yummy Kefir Soda recipes. I've just been using the powder packets b/c I think I killed my grains (trying to revive them now).

You add different ingredients to 1 packet of kefir powder or 3/4 cup grains with 1/2 c. rapadura, sucanat or maple sugar to a 2 qt. jar and fill w/ water. Ferment 2 days. Strain. Transfer to fridge. With powder, can use 1/2 c. of previous batch as starter for next about 5-6 times.

Kefir Lemonade
(just made this, it is yummy, kind of like iced tea with a kick)
1 c. fresh lemon juice

Kefir Cream Soda
(brewing now)
1 T. vanilla extract
optional slices of lemon, orange or lime

Kefir Ginger Ale
4 T. coarsely chopped ginger
Juice of 4 limes

Kefir Limeade
1 cup fresh lime juice
several sprigs mint

Also more involved recipes for Fruit Soda and Berry Soda.

to you Heather, I'm happy to see you too!

Artisticat,
I think to eliminate lactose it is 24 hrs with grains, and then strain, culture at room temp. another 24 without. Is that what you are doing? 48 hrs with grains is pretty strong and separates.
post #13 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticat
Hi Heather. Wondering why you take off the rinds of your citrus fruits? If I recall Dom doesn't say to on his site. Is it just a taste issure for you or is their a reason.
Yes, I've been peeling about a 1/2 inch section of rind off the lemon, then slicing it into the water kefir. Then I bag the lemon to use in next batch. It makes a HUGE difference. No bitter taste! It's the best tasting kefir I've ever made. The peel can give you a VERY bitter taste...and if the lemon/orange isn't organic..you are brewing up pesticides from the rind into your water kefir....

Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticat
Also why just white sugar? I know Sally Fallon uses rapadura in her recipes (personally I don't like the taste for water kefir). And have you ever tried honey? I have and it didn't seem to affect the brew. Although honestly I haven't been able to find a brew/flavor that I really love. Some I can drink, some I dump.
Rapadura is great if you like the flavor and is an ideal sugar...but it's usually too strong a flavor and will give the brew a strong molasses flavor. But if you like it....Succanant is the next best, as it's closer in flavor to white sugar, with some nutritional value intact. This works well too and shouldn't be a problem for the grains.

RAW Agave syrup is another ideal 'sugar' for the grains. There is a belief that the original water kefir grains were found living inside a cactus in the sugary sweet liquid that collects in them. This is where Agave Syrup is from, and the raw version should mimic their natural environment, and is a low glycemic index sweetener. All natural too! I'm switching to this after my grains show that they are reproducing well.

Honey is a natural anti bacterial product. There is a chance (a good one) it will eventually kill your bacterial colony in the grains. It is also anti fungal (yeast)...so you will end up killing your grains. However, it can be used with the powdered kefir packets to make the sodas, as listed in the next reply...since they will be strong enough to brew at least once!

Plain white sugar, in this instance, and for making Kombucha and Kefir is the prefered choice as most of the sugar is used up and converted into a better product and gives no additional 'off' flavors and will not disrupt the bacterial colonies...but will be a 'easy to digest' sugar for them. I buy an organic brand that is a bit better than using just regular store bought. It's the safest bet for the brew, but I really would prefer to use something closer to Rapadura or succanant, or the Agave.

Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticat
How much grains do you use per quart? I think that is my problem for bad brews, my grains seem to grow so fast I always have so many in there.
1 TBS Grains per 1 quart/liter is the recommended ratio. So if you have more grains, use more liquid. Or remove grains and ship ship ship!

Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticat
How long do you ferment? I usually end up fermenting mine 48 hrs because I am no sugar right now and want all the lactose eaten up. That could also be why none of mine taste good.
I usually do one day for the 'best' drinkable flavor...but have also gone to the next morning. I pour it into a mason jar and refrigerate. Then I get the next batch started. I like my drink cold. It will continue to 'ferment' some in the fridge and will taste better, IMO, from being cold and will get bubblier.

The prime ratio is 6 TBS white sugar to 1 Quart/Liter water. Plus whatever fruit flavors...this insures the colony sufficient 'fuel' to convert and reproduce.

Happy brewing.

Heather
post #14 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneS
that's great Gisele!

Eat Fat Lose Fat has some yummy Kefir Soda recipes. I've just been using the powder packets b/c I think I killed my grains (trying to revive them now).
Thank you SO much for posting those. I do not have the new book yet and was HIGHLY curious about the recipes using the powdered Kefir. It is possibly a better way for moms that are too busy to 'baby' living grains, and yet still get some great benefits! That's great...Thanks again!!

Heather and to you!
post #15 of 177
You are welcome!

Plus also I'd like to add (might be obvious to others, but not me) that you can split up the first batch into several other First Generation batches. Then each one can go 5-6 times from that. So you can can double (or triple if you are drinking a lot) your yield.

I used to do this with dairy kefir from the packets too. (Although that version can go up to 7x more).

Sometimes I prefer powder b/c grains were grossing me out. For a while I craved grain kefir and then couldn't put it pass my lips, it was weird. So then I switched to 24 hr. yogurt with great results. Maybe my body was telling me something.
post #16 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenabyte
Honey is a natural anti bacterial product. There is a chance (a good one) it will eventually kill your bacterial colony in the grains. It is also anti fungal (yeast)...so you will end up killing your grains. However, it can be used with the powdered kefir packets to make the sodas, as listed in the next reply...since they will be strong enough to brew at least once!
Does this apply to pasteurized honey? That is just what I used in a ginger soda batch. All the little pieces of ginger are floating after a day so I assume something is happening.
post #17 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneS
Does this apply to pasteurized honey? That is just what I used in a ginger soda batch. All the little pieces of ginger are floating after a day so I assume something is happening.
If you are using honey of any kind with the 'powdered' kefir, you should be totally fine. It's just the grains that are sensitive to the effect honey has, it literally 'pulls the liquid' from the bacterial cells and will kill them. It used to be used (and still is) used on wounds for this very effect (helped keep them dry and germ free).

The pasturization shouldn't matter, except that it will ensure any 'spores' in the honey are destroyed. However, raw, natural honey has built in deterance for just such things. It's probably a better idea to use the pasturized honey for 'brewing' since it will be sitting around in a thinned out liquid, and will ensure the powdered kefir bacteria get a good chance to grow and convert the brew.

I would not use pasturized or other honey in a brew with real grains, though...
Just to be sure.

Hope that helps and wasn't more confusing! haha..I'm dashing here to reply between chasing down kids.

Heather
post #18 of 177
It's nice to see the kefir master back.
post #19 of 177
Yes, thanks Heather!

I also want to report that the "Cream Soda" recipe w/ vanilla is not really good IMO. Tastes smokey to me. Maybe b/c I used a really potent extract, I don't know. I'll do what I do with every fermented product that turns out kinda wonky, stick it in the fridge and test again after a week.

The Lemonade is so rockin' though!
post #20 of 177
Yeah, I don't like the cream soda much at all. I prefer the lime mint, myself!
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