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

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#31 of 177 Old 05-22-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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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
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#32 of 177 Old 05-22-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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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.

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#33 of 177 Old 05-22-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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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
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#34 of 177 Old 05-22-2006, 04:12 PM
 
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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.
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#35 of 177 Old 05-22-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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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!

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#36 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 02:18 AM
 
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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.

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#37 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 02:29 AM
 
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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?
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#38 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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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
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#39 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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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.
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#40 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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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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#41 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 07:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JaneS
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.
Yea, I'm liking my Kombucha for a 'non dairy' equivalent to my milk kefir, vitamin and nutrient wise (on days where I'm not in the mood for milk).

I had more info on it but was rushing off to my Midwife and was trying to type, tie the kids shoes and run out the door

I agree, it's all about fighting the bad bacteria and yeasts with the good ones...rather than killing off everything and letting who know what grow to fill the space...

Oh, tasted the 'orange slice' kefir water. It was very light. I think it needs either some pure juice poured in or the whole orange sliced up. It was good, but the fresh strawberry is my favorite over the orange, currently.

I ate the orange slice and it was good though....usually I toss the fruit, but yum...

Heather
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#42 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 07:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte
Oh, tasted the 'orange slice' kefir water. It was very light. I think it needs either some pure juice poured in or the whole orange sliced up. It was good, but the fresh strawberry is my favorite over the orange, currently.

I ate the orange slice and it was good though....usually I toss the fruit, but yum...

Heather
Good timing. I had just set my orange slice batch to brew. I had put in half an orange's slices. I went back and squeezed another orange for it's juice and added it. We'll see how it goes!

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#43 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 07:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte
Oh, tasted the 'orange slice' kefir water. It was very light. I think it needs either some pure juice poured in or the whole orange sliced up. It was good, but the fresh strawberry is my favorite over the orange, currently.

I ate the orange slice and it was good though....usually I toss the fruit, but yum...

Heather
Good timing. I had just set my orange slice batch to brew. I had put in half an orange's slices. I went back and squeezed another orange for it's juice and added it. We'll see how it goes!

Zia+Lane+Sonora=Mi Vida Loca! :
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#44 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 08:19 PM
 
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I've got an orange slice batch brewing but I put about four mondo slices in there. I think it has potential. But the first batch is definitely better -- water+sugar for a day, remove grains, add orange juice. This morning I tasted it. Damn. That's good stuff. Of course I let mine nearly reach the vinegar stage before consuming too much. If I weren't so darned fat, I'd drink the whole jar full. Frederick had a glassful and took a serving to preschool. I won't tell them I'm calling it "hooch."

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#45 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 10:05 PM
 
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So, I know how to tell when the milk kefir is ready, but how do you tell with water kefir? It's not like the water will seperate into curds and whey, right?
I made my first batch of water kefir last night, using well rinsed milk grains. I put them in a jar with water, sugar, ginger and lemon slices. How do I know when it is ready to drink?
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#46 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 10:28 PM
 
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With water kefir you will notice tiny bubbles moving from the bottom of the jar near the grains, and rising to the top, especially if you gently 'bump' or shake the jar.

In 12 hours you will have a fairly cultured (with probiotics) brew...and up to 24 hours is recommended. 48 hours is possible, but you are pushing the getting into 'hooch' realm...and a more vinagery drink...

Also note, if you are using a milk grain that you are converting to 'water kefir' brew...you might have to let it adjust a few brew cycles and toss the resulting water kefir, as it may have some off or unpleasant (but harmless) flavors.... Even once it's been used this way for a good week, there is still this 'under-current' of milk kefir flavor that I don't really care for.

If you hear us raving about water kefir brews...we are using the water grains, which will give it a much 'cleaner' pure taste. Just warning you...haha...you may think we are all soft in the head if you taste your first brew and go BLECH!!!

I think the converted dairy to water grains are best suited to stronger ferments, like pure juice (apple, orange, grape) as they will cover or mask that 'dairy' grain taste.

Heather
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#47 of 177 Old 05-23-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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Thanks I'll let my husband try it first...... he's not a big fan of milk kefir, so I thought a watery brew might be something he could drink. The water grains just seem too hard to get (took me about a year and a half to track down some milk ones....... finally got some from Dom the next suburb over from me ) so I thought I would try converting some milk ones first, since they are growing so quickly.
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#48 of 177 Old 05-24-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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Annabel, I'd be happy to try to ship to Australia once I have enough of a batch of water grains to send...

You never know, you might like the flavor much better! Then you can send some over to the Dom...haha

Heather
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#49 of 177 Old 05-24-2006, 01:20 AM
 
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I'll certainly keep that in mind, thanks.
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#50 of 177 Old 05-24-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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ok, what does it mean when your milk kefir is not kefiring the milk, but just getting a thick coating around them?
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#51 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 03:05 AM
 
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Are you shaking the jar at all? It helps to gently shake the jar especially in the first few hours so all the milk can get to the grains.

I have just tried my first water kefir brew..... it's not too bad. I'm wondering if maybe I didn't leave it long enough because it's still reasonably sweet. Is it supposed to be sweet? I left it almost 48 hours but it's not vinegary at all, and it had bubbles but not a LOT of bubbles. I have no idea what it is supposed to taste like, so even though it tastes nice I might have done it wrong
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#52 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 03:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte
Annabel, I'd be happy to try to ship to Australia once I have enough of a batch of water grains to send...
could you ship to California
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#53 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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ok, what does it mean when your milk kefir is not kefiring the milk, but just getting a thick coating around them?
Trying to visualize....

Ok, the grains are getting little 'curds' or clumps of thickened stuff around them, but the rest of the milk seems still 'thin' like it's not turned yet?

I would say that you need to swirl the jar a few times during culturing to help distribute the probiotic goodies that will help convert it. You can swirl it now and let it sit a few more hours. If that doesn't help...

When you get the grains out of the milk, you gently press then with a rubber spatula or spoon and knock off some of the curd formation. Sometimes it gets too thick, and the probiotic goodness can't get out far enough to work on all the milk and it just makes curds right next to and surrounding the grains. It's ok...they just need a little help with 'distribution'.

If they continue to do this, I'd wonder about the grains. Usually a gentle 'cleansing in filtered (NO CHLORINATED WATER PLEASE) will help with any heavy protein build up. If that doesn't work, then it might be time for more grains....
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#54 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
could you ship to California
I've shipped to Canada and beyond...and anywhere in the states is fine.

Just warning you all...I've had so many requests (which I don't mind) but it is taking a bit of time to manage it all, so I might add on a few bucks to shipping costs to keep me in baggies, paper and ink for my printer for those info sheets and such. I'll let you know. I think I have you on my list already, too, Dalai Mama
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#55 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 12:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Annabel
Are you shaking the jar at all? It helps to gently shake the jar especially in the first few hours so all the milk can get to the grains.

I have just tried my first water kefir brew..... it's not too bad. I'm wondering if maybe I didn't leave it long enough because it's still reasonably sweet. Is it supposed to be sweet? I left it almost 48 hours but it's not vinegary at all, and it had bubbles but not a LOT of bubbles. I have no idea what it is supposed to taste like, so even though it tastes nice I might have done it wrong
It is a pleasantly sweet taste. You can go another day *try to stick to the 48 hours* if you don't like that much sweet. I like the sweet...

If you want something closer to hooch (you get more alcohol content with water grains, as the sugar goes away)...then you can go a bit longer...but keep an eye on it...haha... You don't want to starve the grains for too long, or they stop growing as well.

You can do as Amanda does, she removes the grains and starts a new batch in a new jar. Then she adds in fruit juice to the 48 hour brew, to help the fermenting even more, and continues to leave it at room temp to REALLY ferment the brew (I'm guessing for a day or two more). It will not be very sweet, closer to fermented wine or homemade 'hooch'.

Happy brewing.
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#56 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte
I've shipped to Canada and beyond...and anywhere in the states is fine.

Just warning you all...I've had so many requests (which I don't mind) but it is taking a bit of time to manage it all, so I might add on a few bucks to shipping costs to keep me in baggies, paper and ink for my printer for those info sheets and such. I'll let you know. I think I have you on my list already, too, Dalai Mama
Of course you should be reimbursed for all supplies! I, for one, am greatful to be on the lists!





I've got my milk kefir grains, and am ready to go, but would like to know what sort of container you all have found to work best, and can I heat the milk in a metal pan?
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#57 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 09:01 PM
 
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I just brewed my first batch of non-dairy kefir. I converted some milk grains using a quart of apple/lemon/thyme juice and let it ferment for 36 hrs. The resulting brew was barely sweet, more like ACV without the sharpness and very refreshing. Very popular here. The grains are now doing their work on some dark cherry juice.

I'm ambivalent about us consuming kefired juice because of the sugar. Do the grains break it down completely? I realize that dairy kefir will have milk sugars in it and I'm wondering about juice kefir. Does the lack of sweet taste mean all the sugar has been broken down?
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#58 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 11:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by carnelian
I'm ambivalent about us consuming kefired juice because of the sugar. Do the grains break it down completely? I realize that dairy kefir will have milk sugars in it and I'm wondering about juice kefir. Does the lack of sweet taste mean all the sugar has been broken down?
It's all about how long it brews. Just taste it -- if it's approaching vinegar, it's very low in sugar. Same with the milk kefir.

Amanda Rose, author, Rebuild From Depression: A Nutrient Guide. Don't miss this opportunity to build a business telling friends about probiotic foods and grass fed meats: Beyond Organic Review.

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#59 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 11:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
I've got my milk kefir grains, and am ready to go, but would like to know what sort of container you all have found to work best, and can I heat the milk in a metal pan?
I use glass jars -- from quart to gallon size depending on the project. Are you heating the kefir after it's made? Why? Or before? Why? Regardless, just don't heat the grains and don't put them into a hot jar (like one just removed from a hot dishwasher.

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#60 of 177 Old 05-25-2006, 11:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte
You can do as Amanda does, she removes the grains and starts a new batch in a new jar. Then she adds in fruit juice to the 48 hour brew, to help the fermenting even more, and continues to leave it at room temp to REALLY ferment the brew (I'm guessing for a day or two more). It will not be very sweet, closer to fermented wine or homemade 'hooch'.
I like the approach of removing the grains because then I don't get the grains mixed up with orange pulp and other such things. And after I remove the grains and add more juice, I can let it sit until it reaches whatever stage of doneness I desire.

I have yet to make any real serious hooch, but depending on my posting patterns this weekend, you may have some idea of my progress. My husband and son will be gone for two days and I'll have to keep myself occupied. :

My grains are now light brown from my unrefined cane sugar. Too bad -- they were like crystals before. But the flavor in the sugar is very nice.

Amanda Rose, author, Rebuild From Depression: A Nutrient Guide. Don't miss this opportunity to build a business telling friends about probiotic foods and grass fed meats: Beyond Organic Review.

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