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kefir - looking for a good water recipe - lactose issues - Page 2

post #21 of 177
Thanks for the answers!

Hmmm, now I've done a test batch or two with honey on my grains. The still seem to be fermenting fine, but I worry that i have now ruined their flora or something. Have you started a list for your water grains yet? It would be interesting to get some new ones and do a test or two?

I also do not like the cream soda recipe. I've done one with apricots and blood orange slices that was pretty good. Kept the rinds on though, will have to try it without now.

JaneS--try the berry kefir recipe (the one to specifically use with the packets. It is really good. I did strawberries when I was making jam and stuff last summer. It was really fizzy!

I think I ferment way too long and have way too many grains in my batches!!! Now I am scared to ship them if I've ruined them though.
post #22 of 177
If you are worried about your water grains, do a 'tune up' fast.

Just measure how many grains you have. Use 1 quart/liter water per Tablespoon of grain and then add in some regular sugar (6 TBS) per quart. Use organic evaporated cane juice sugar if you can't use regular white. Then let them sit for a few days. Just keep pouring off the water and adding in more every 48 hours. That will kinda be like doing a 'water fast' for milk grains, to clean them up, but they will still be eating the sugar.

You can measure the grains again after a week or so, and see if they seem to be growing. That should 'tune them up' for shipping.

If you want to drink the stuff, just add the brewed 'kefir water' to some juice. Otherwise it'll probably be too blaaaah to drink.

(This is also a good and cheap way to put them grains on hold when you run out of fresh/dried fruits for making you brew...)

I've started a water and milk 'kefir' ship list. Just PM me and I'll put you on it if you need more grains. The link I posted for the lady in Germany will get you a fresh batch in about a week, but it cost me about 56 euro to get a starter batch of water and a new milk grain set!! But I will say this...the water grains seem to be brewing wonderfully and reproducing much faster than my old set....


Regarding the vanilla soda Kefir. I was wondering if the extract (with either alcohol or oil) would give the brew a funny taste. I would think dropping some split in half vanilla beans might work better....Just a thought. If anyone tries it before me...let us know!

Heather
post #23 of 177
Hey, JaneS! How have you been? xenabyte: You are a Queen of Kefier! I'm studying to make coconut kefier at home. Wish me luck!
post #24 of 177
Heather,

These water grains are AWESOME! Thank you so much

I made a peach one first and it's yummy (added dehydrated peaches). Brewing a strawberry cocoction now.

What do you think about using other natural sugars, like maple syrup or coconut/palm sugar? I have a surfeit of those right now.
post #25 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneS
Heather,
These water grains are AWESOME! Thank you so much
They are awesome. I got mine, too. Just made some with dried pineapple and wowzers! yummy!
post #26 of 177
Yea, these water grains were worth the almost $46 dollars it cost me to get them from Germany! I've not tasted better 'water kefir' brews!

I kept my first batches 'to the letter of the instruction' and used plain white sugar, though organic. Then I used a more 'hearty' organic sugar...but have avoided the very molassy Rapadura types.

I tried 'Raw Agave Syrup' that was lovely in it.

And I think you could use maple syrup and such, but maybe switch back and forth to a plain sugar, a few times a week, incase it's more easily digested and or assimilated. I've not seen any specific info on maple syrup as compared to reg. sugar. If you notice the grains shrinking in overall size and or not seeming to grow as rapidly as usual, then you could just do regular sugar again for a bit. This is a personal call.

The coconut and palm sugars are more 'natural' and should be ok too, if you like the flavors. Maple syrup is boiled and sometimes they use solvent extracts to get the last bits of syrup, and it's hard to find the few companies that /say/ they don't use such tactics....maple syrup isn't my favorite sweetener to use, since I found this out...

The only worries are honey (it's a strong anti bacterial...bad for the brewing)
and any sugars that have a strong flavor (flavor contamination) and/or are contaiminated with potential chemicals (like most commercial maple syrup is).

There isn't alot of info out there just about the water grains, and it's all a matter of some experimentation. However I'm SOOOOOO happy with the taste/growth rate of these grains...I'm not going to be too experimental until I can split off a batch to play with (you know, stick in grape juice and let them turn pink...use honey maybe...etc). I've had too many orders for 'babies' to play just yet. I'm personally sticking to the tried and true for the sake of any moms wanting some 'unaltered' and played with grains. But hey, keep posting results!

I just about friggin love pinapple (one slice did it) in the kefir. OMG yummy.

I'm so happy you are enjoying the water kefir...I'm glad it's just not me thinking it is AWESOME tasting!

Heather
post #27 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenabyte
If you are worried about your water grains, do a 'tune up' fast.

Just measure how many grains you have. Use 1 quart/liter water per Tablespoon of grain and then add in some regular sugar (6 TBS) per quart. Use organic evaporated cane juice sugar if you can't use regular white. Then let them sit for a few days. Just keep pouring off the water and adding in more every 48 hours. That will kinda be like doing a 'water fast' for milk grains, to clean them up, but they will still be eating the sugar.
...

(This is also a good and cheap way to put them grains on hold when you run out of fresh/dried fruits for making you brew...)
I'm not sure I understand... just add more water and sugar every 48 hours?

Is this the way to keep them alive but not brewing?

Not sure if I want to take them on vacation, can I just stick in fridge with same mixture? For how long?
post #28 of 177
JaneS,

Yes, you can just do a sugar/water mix and store the grains in it for up to 48 hours on your counter top, with no fruit of any kind.

You can also refrigerate them in this mix. I am not sure how long you can 'safely' leave them in this state. They eventually will run out of sugar and go dormant and at the worse die??? I've never left my water grains that long stored away..they were toooooooo precious to 'experiment' with in that way....so.../shrug

I would say up to a week in the refrigerator, in a double batch of water and sugar would be 'safe' and they should have enough to eat. Plus the cold should slow them down. You might want to leave the lid on a bit loose, to allow gas to escape, or you might get a mini facial when you open the jar upon returning. haha

I know you can rinse them in water, drain them on paper toweling, and they let them air dry for a day or two and then store them that way. They shrivel up a bit and look kinda yellowish. This is how the very first batch of grains was shipped to me...and I don't think they ever fully recovered, they were really slow reproducers and the flavor of those Kefir brews was nothing compared to this new set, that was shipped in sugar water and have never been dehydrated....Something to be considered.

Heather
post #29 of 177
I got my grains. I've got a brew on now. It's very exciting.
Thanks Heather.
post #30 of 177
Heather -- so you got a first batch that was bad and you were still brave enough to spend nearly $50 on a second batch? Wow. You should add a few dollars to the bill when you are shipping these things.

Straining
I drained off my first batch with the water grains. The grains are so itty bitty I considered straining them through cheesecloth and a plastic collander, but just poured the liquid off the top instead. How do you ladies manage them?

And do the grains get bigger or just make more babies?

I added some orange juice to my kefirized water and I'll see what I have in a couple of days. I've been kefirixing fruit juice until there is no sugar left and drinking the vinegar hooch that remains. The first taste is pretty harsh but then my stomach says "more, more" and so I comply. It's not very alcoholic but it seems to make me a bit tipsy. I should probably stay away from the boards at that time. I seem to remember posting here in December after drinking my pomegranate concoction. Not pretty.
post #31 of 177
Amanda,

Haha, you are too funny You can come post even if you are hooched up

I use a 'Tea Republic' nylon strainer 'cup' that perfectly fits in the mouth of a wide mouth mason jar. You definitely need a finer 'strainer hole' to make sure to get every last baby for the water grains. This particular strainer captures every last little baby bit!

Yes, they will grow a bit bigger *about pea sized* from what I've noticed, and then reproduce more and more. Give it about two weeks to notice a 'growth'. Even a little bit seems to really work well! This batch went from 1 TBS (or a bit less) to over 5 TBS in two weeks. I was surprised, because it didn't look like it had grown that much, but used a plastic measuring spoon to measure one day and was like WOW!

I just made 'strawberry' water kefir last night and yummy! I only sliced in about 4 strawberries, with the normal water and sugar and it is nice!

Well, it was worth getting the new batch, so the $$ isn't a big issue. Down the road, it if becomes a 'business' or something, maybe I'll add a few dollars on for profit, to fund further experiments.

Heather
post #32 of 177
Anyone tried anything with oranges? Do I need to peel them? Would a fat slice do or should I try more?

I am SO loving these and can't wait to have some to share with my WAP chapter. I want them to grow a bit and take a batch to be my colorful batch that I can put it cranberry juice or something else staining. Then I can start sharing what grows from my "pure" batch.
post #33 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by yitlan
Anyone tried anything with oranges? Do I need to peel them? Would a fat slice do or should I try more?

I am SO loving these and can't wait to have some to share with my WAP chapter. I want them to grow a bit and take a batch to be my colorful batch that I can put it cranberry juice or something else staining. Then I can start sharing what grows from my "pure" batch.
I'd peel the outer rim of the orange and do a big fat slice. If it's an organic orange, then you could leave the peel on, but there will be this bitter undernote to your concoction...

If you wanted 'fizzy' orange juice, you could kefir the pure juice. Otherwise, with the slices in it, you will have more like light, orange flavored drink.

I'd imagine a slice of orange and lemon would be nice together, I make orange lemonade alot and LOVE that combo....

So happy to see the experimenting going on! I did strawberry last night, and have 4 big fat organic oranges chilling out..so I'll try an orange concoction tonight.

Heather
post #34 of 177
WOW Heather. These are really awesome. I think I did ruin the others I have. A definite improvement. I think I will just throw away my old ones and do these. I have been loving the brews from the new ones, whereas I really couldn't stomach any kind of brew with my old ones. And my old ones multiply, but never got big like some of these new ones.

So I definetely won't use honey ever again and I will be sure to change these more frequently than my old ones. They are over 2 years old, so maybe just time to dump them. But I can't help feeling sorry for such a loss. I have like a cup of them.

Hopefully whoever I've sent grains too will be keeping track of this thread and be tempted to try water kefir again.

Thanks again.
post #35 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by artisticat
WOW Heather. These are really awesome. I think I did ruin the others I have. A definite improvement. I think I will just throw away my old ones and do these. I have been loving the brews from the new ones, whereas I really couldn't stomach any kind of brew with my old ones. And my old ones multiply, but never got big like some of these new ones.

So I definetely won't use honey ever again and I will be sure to change these more frequently than my old ones. They are over 2 years old, so maybe just time to dump them. But I can't help feeling sorry for such a loss. I have like a cup of them.

Hopefully whoever I've sent grains too will be keeping track of this thread and be tempted to try water kefir again.

Thanks again.
/mourns the loss of a cup of grains...That makes me sad too! However, my old jar of the 'not so good ones' got broke and I just tossed them rather than worrying about glass slivers...ergo, the impedius to buy a new, good quality set...haha...so maybe give them to the chickens/birds outside?

Off topic, I have a new 'milk grain' set too. They seem to be making super smooth and yummy kefir, not nearly as tart or yeasty like the old set could sometimes get, if left out too long (It was good for bread baking kefir, though). Theses new ones are growing, but SLOW, compared to my older batches. I'm waiting for them to get big enough as I have a list for them waiting! I think they will make a nice 'dairy grain' mother colony, if they start growing faster! So I'm not sure if because they do grow slower, it's making the kefir more mellow...or because it's a smaller amount in the milk keeping it from producing too much of the lactic acid (and ergo, sourness). But anyone out there waiting on some of the dairy ones, that is the hold up!

Heather
post #36 of 177
I just sampled the hooch-to-be. Wow. I can't believe how fizzy it is. I've tried this with regular grains and get very little fizz. I haven't used sugar before (except with pomegranate and the pomegranate was the over-powering flavor). The dehydrated cane juice adds a nice flavor to the concoction.

I've got two batches going now: one half gallon which is one quart kefired water+sugar and one quart orange juice. Fizz city. My second batch has the grains, sugar, and some orange slices. It's been on since yesterday but still has a lot of sugar. It was pretty cold here today.

I'm going to start a batch without grains and see how it compares, just for amusement value.

I just hooked up with a friend who is in a co-op and have 25 pounds of unrefined cane sugar coming, so there's lots of hooch potential around here.
post #37 of 177
I'm slowly mustering up the courage to try my own brew.
I am a kombucha adict and was planning to track down a kombucha mushroom and brew that, but this is the first I have heard of water kefir!!
If you can excuse a culturing newbie butting into this thread, I have a few questions:

1) Besides the obvious water vs. black tea, what are the differences between water kefir and kombucha?
2) I was planning to try a batch of kefir with raw milk, but my family is very used to the kefir we buy with fruit flavors and sugar added, has anyone blended their milk kefir with fresh fruit and agave nectar/maple syrup/honey?
post #38 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
I'm slowly mustering up the courage to try my own brew.
I am a kombucha adict and was planning to track down a kombucha mushroom and brew that, but this is the first I have heard of water kefir!!
If you can excuse a culturing newbie butting into this thread, I have a few questions:

1) Besides the obvious water vs. black tea, what are the differences between water kefir and kombucha?
2) I was planning to try a batch of kefir with raw milk, but my family is very used to the kefir we buy with fruit flavors and sugar added, has anyone blended their milk kefir with fresh fruit and agave nectar/maple syrup/honey?
Milk Kefir grains are for culturing milk and will enrich and alter it to be more like a wide spectrum yogurt, with the addition of healthy yeasts also.

Info on the content of milk kefir is more easily found and so I'll not type that. Just see the 'Got Kefir' archived thread for more info on milk kefir and it's uses.

Water Kefir grains are for the use in a water/sugar mixture and will give you a probiotic drink that is dairy free. Here are some of the healthy bacteria and yeasts found in water kefir:

Lactobacilli
Lb. alactosus
Lb. brevis
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. casei subsp. tolerans
Lb. coryneformis subsp. torquens
Lb. fructosus
Lb. hilgardii
Lb. homohiochi
Lb. plantarum
Lb. pseudoplantarum
Lb. yamanashiensis

Yeasts
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
S. florentinus
S. pretoriensis
Candida valida
C. lambica
Kloeckera apiculata
Hansenula yalbensis

Streptococci/lactococci
Streptococcus cremeris
Str. faecalis
Str. lactis
Leuconostoc mesenteroides
Pediococcus damnosus

Water kefir is usually very mildly alcholic, but this can be increased by longer fermentations or with the addition of more sugar or solid fruit juices.

Kombucha (SCOBYs) are used to ferment/culture black or green tea. A Kombucha SCOBY is not a mushroom or a fungus as many call it, but another symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts (the good kinds).

The key ingredient formed in Kombucha ferments is glucuronic acid, which binds up poisons and toxins in the body, both environmental and metabolic (naturally occuring) and flushes it out of the body via the kidneys. This is a natural process that your liver and kidneys would do every day by producing it's own glucuronic acid, however the Kombucha tea boosts this process.

Glucuronic acid is also a bulding block for a group of polysaccharides, including hyaluronic acid (a component of connective tissues), chondroitin sulfate (a component of cartilage), mucoitinsulfuric acid (a building block of the stomach lining and vitreous humor of the eye) and heparin.

A small amount of alcohol is produced (about .5%) and it is lightly carbonated.

The Kombucha brew also contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 (vegan source), as well as folic acid and L-lactic acid, which is a substance that is usually low or missing in cancer patients, and is believed that low levels of this needed substance helps prevent failure in cell respiration and the build up of undesirable DL-lactic acid in tissues.

Kombucha also has usnic acid which has a mild antibacterial effect.


I hope that makes it more clear why you might want to drink one or all three of these types of drinks. They all have a 'place' and are beneficial to your health, if properly taken care of and brewed according to instructions.

Here is the 'Got Kefir' link: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=203282

I personally am brewing all three cultures and will have more 'Kombucha SCOBY' available this week, and in a few weeks the other two, as I have a good sized list going. I ask for shipping and handling reimbursement only, PM me your info if you want on the list.

Heather
post #39 of 177
Thread Starter 
dalai-
I mix my milk kefir with maple syrop and it is yummy. About a tbsp per tall glass of kefir. that's how I first had it and still drink it. I have added it to smoothies, and then it tastes like smoothie, not kefir. I am sure you could experiment and find something yummy.

good luck.
g.
post #40 of 177
Heather

Kombucha also has the beneficial yeast strain, Saccharomyces boulardii, a popular treatment in Europe against candida infections ("yeast against yeast") and also c. difficile. It also increases the immunoglobulin IgA.
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