kefir - looking for a good water recipe - lactose issues - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
My grains do not seem to ferment
I could be wrong, but the brew just tastes like sugar water whether I let it go 24 hrs or 48 hrs.
I know they may take some time to adjust and get fizzy, but is this normal as well or did my grains not survive the move?
Thanks!!
It's hard to know. Do you add fruit juice and if so, how does it taste after a few days of fermenting?

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#122 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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I don't add fruit juice in the first brew. I do remove the grains an add the juice of one lemon and let that sit another 24. The second brew is delicious, but not vinegary or fizzy, so I could be drinking plain ole lemonaide. . .
What do you think?
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#123 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 05:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
I don't add fruit juice in the first brew. I do remove the grains an add the juice of one lemon and let that sit another 24. The second brew is delicious, but not vinegary or fizzy, so I could be drinking plain ole lemonaide. . .
What do you think?
How long have you had them? And what do you cover the jar with?

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#124 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 05:55 PM
 
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One week exactly, and I cover the jar with a thin, clean non-prefold diaper cloth (never used on a tushie )
I am actually brewing the first round in a 4 cup pyrex, but following the measured directions I have. I criss-cross the top with masking tape (though is never touches the liquid or grains) as I do with my kombucha, just to ensure that the cloth won't fall in should the rubber band snap. Would any of this make any difference?
I use a plastic mesh tea strainer to strain out the grains.

And, I just noticed that a very few of the grains have a grey tint. Does this mean anything?
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#125 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 05:58 PM
 
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I thought it was a short time. Give them another week on the fizz. Mine was pretty flat when I first got the grains. I don't know about the gray, but I wouldn't worry too much about any of this unless they start to smell off or grow strange things.

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#126 of 177 Old 08-02-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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I've had mine on slow-down--storing in the fridge. The brew doesn't fizz, but it does get yeasty. I had a hard time finding a plastic strainer--and have been using a big nylon slotted spoon/lifter thing, which doesn't work all that well.

So...any reason not to use cheesecloth, if I can't track down a better plastic solution?

By the by, thanks, Gale Force, for introducing me to water kefir and sending the grains! Dh is still drinking more apple juice than kefir, but he did recently save some glass bottles for me.

Which reminds me--the bottles were from a farmers market grape juice, a cabernet-syrah blend from one of the SB county vineyards. Amazing flavor. But the juice had something added to prevent fermentation...can't say what because the labels got soaked off...so probably not a good idea to add it even to strained water kefir, as the second step?

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#127 of 177 Old 08-03-2006, 04:18 AM
 
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Thanks GF for directing me to this thread...

my brew is going one 48+ hrs...I prefer the refined sugar brews..will have to try that next time. I have also done lid on and lid off..we tend to have icky gnats or fruit flies..ugh...

hopefully they will come out of their funk..

Hey on kombucha..I have fruit flies in my storing pot..does that contaminate all my scoby's?
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#128 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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I just got my first water grains about a week ago. The first batch of kefir I made definitely fermented. For that batch I used tap water I had boiled for 30 minutes to dechlorinate and then cooled. The two batches after that, I used distilled water I bought at the store because it seemed so much easier. For the 3rd batch, even after 48 hrs, it still seemed sweet and just barely fermented if at all. The grains seemed to be getting less and less active and I was afraid they were dying. So last night, I put them into a clean jar with some different sugar - large crystals of "raw" sugar - and a bottle of Dannon water I had. The grains spent the night sitting on top of the sugar crystals in the Dannon water. This morning, they are making little bubbles and seem very happy, so I guess they are ok now. But I am really wondering why they weren't happy in the distilled water I bought. Isn't it supposed to be chlorine-free ? Or maybe they just don't like distilled water ?

Also I'm beginnning to feel like these grains are a new type of companion organism/pet in our house....kinda funny !

TIA,

Linda

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#129 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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i wonder if they don't need a little bit of minerals that are in the water? and not in the distilled? I dunno.. mine are still acting wonky..grrr
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#130 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobluegirl
i wonder if they don't need a little bit of minerals that are in the water? and not in the distilled? I dunno.. mine are still acting wonky..grrr
VERY interesting observation about Linda's predicament (and very interesting predicament, too). I never thought about the water. Since we have well water and it's not chlorinated, I figured we were good. But I use water that has been filtered with reverse osmosis. That doesn't remove as many minerals as distillation, but it removes the bulk of them.

Here's my brewing experience (with these new grains, that have never seen honey). They were taking a very long time, like a week, to taste like anything other than sugar water. At first I figured that was because of the shipping, and it would take them awhile. But then it was getting longer, instead of shorter, and I was starting to think that maybe I just couldn't do kefir, for some strange reason. I was using organic refined sugar (Florida Crystals type from the bulk bins). It seemed like when I had some sugar that was a bit coarser and darker, the grains preferred that to the lighter, less coarse sugar. Now I'm wondering if it isn't due to the mineral content.

Then I saw tamagotchi's post about using agave nectar (thank you!). I tried her ratio (only I only made 1 quart water, so I used 3 Tbs. agave nectar), and it's brewing more quickly now. It takes about 48 hrs., sometimes a little longer, but not much. Then I strain it and I just do 24 hrs. with dried fruit, and we have a yummy, tart and sweet, slightly fizzy drink. It's fabulous! I wonder if agave nectar has minerals in it, or if the grains just prefer fructose (the brew always improved greatly when I added the dried fruit, and still does).

I have a feeling there's more to these kefir grains than meets the eye.

Christie

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#131 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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Very interesting indeed. My grains grow better in turbinado than in raw sugar and turbinado has more minerals.

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#132 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 11:41 PM
 
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hmm....guess I better find some different sugar....
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#133 of 177 Old 08-07-2006, 11:50 PM
 
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My brew was fizzy very quickly after adding two pieces of cantelope, but it was still sweet, not tart.
This morning I did a new batch and added two non-sulfered pineapple rings and after 8 hours I see bubbles and the grains seem "perkier", if that makes any sense.
Next I'll add some agave nectar, maple syrup or turbinado sugar and see if the added minerals help.
Thanks!
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#134 of 177 Old 08-08-2006, 12:49 AM
 
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Hi everyone. I am looking for water kefir grains??? Anyone ready to share?

Stacy
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#135 of 177 Old 08-09-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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OK, I really think my grains are dead now. They just seem to sit there and do nothing. Now they are in Dannon water with white sugar.

I'm going to try throwing some canteloupe into the jar and see if they react at all. Is there anything else I can do to see if they are still alive ? How much time should I give them to do something to sugar water ? And how do I know it's them working, and not just opportunistic yeast from the air ?

Is there such a thing as bad kefir-karma ?

Linda:

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#136 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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I don't know llp34. Mine reacted to fruit for certain, but the pineapple brew, while quite fizzy and not all all sweet, has a slightly off taste as well.
Could this off taste be normal and just an aquired taste? I don't like milk kefir, as it always tastes off to me, but nor do I like cow milk straight up, so I always thought that was why. The water kefir off taste reminds me of that way too ripe bite of fruit that you spit out. This brew went 48 hours. Too long? Or are my grains off?

I am now trying maple syrup with pineapple, we'll see what happens.
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#137 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Well, they are not dead, they were just very *hungry* ! I think you are right about the fructose....they loved the canteloupe and were a bit bubbly this morning....so I smushed up some sliced strawberry and fed them that too. I'm hoping that a diet of fruit for a few days can get them really happy, and then I will try making another batch to drink. I appreciate the shared experiences here - I had forgotten that I stopped giving them fruit after the first batch because I thought the fruit got kind of yucky - duh ! So now I think that perhaps kefir grains do not do well on a diet of table sugar and water ! Also I'm not sure my distilled water was really a problem after all, because I made two batches of fermented veggies in it and they are absolutely carbonated, they fermented so well.

I think we need a happy-kefir smiley with bubbles coming out of it

Linda

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#138 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 11:24 AM
 
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If you don't like the taste of the water kefir straight, maybe you could mix it back with something else just before you drink it, like a juice you enjoy ? The other thing I did that I liked was I made some iced tea with dechlorinated water, and I used the kefir with the tea, and that was really good. And maybe you would like 24-hr kefir better than 48-hr ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
I don't know llp34. Mine reacted to fruit for certain, but the pineapple brew, while quite fizzy and not all all sweet, has a slightly off taste as well.
Could this off taste be normal and just an aquired taste? I don't like milk kefir, as it always tastes off to me, but nor do I like cow milk straight up, so I always thought that was why. The water kefir off taste reminds me of that way too ripe bite of fruit that you spit out. This brew went 48 hours. Too long? Or are my grains off?

I am now trying maple syrup with pineapple, we'll see what happens.

DS1 March 2003DS2 Sept 2005,
and 3 , in our happy secular
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#139 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 01:06 PM
 
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My dd loves it and I can get used to it, I just wanted to be sure the off taste wasn't something toxic.
Thanks!
:::Goes to check on her brew :::
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#140 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Well, me, I wouldn't take advice from, because I've never done this before ! I don't know what it's supposed to taste like....

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dalai_mama
My dd loves it and I can get used to it, I just wanted to be sure the off taste wasn't something toxic.
Thanks!
:::Goes to check on her brew :::

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#141 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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I usually throw a lime into mine and it tastes something like 7-up or sprite...
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#142 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llp34
Well, me, I wouldn't take advice from, because I've never done this before ! I don't know what it's supposed to taste like....
the blind leading the blind here.
Where are our experts? :
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#143 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Well, I'm no expert, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

I've found that if I let it go too long it gets a bit alcoholic (to my taste, anyway), and maybe that's what you're calling an "off" taste? I let it kefir until it's a bit sour, then I take the grains out and add fruit, and let kefir for about 24 hrs., until it tastes sour-sweet, and then I remove the fruit and refrigerate. Don't know if this helps.

Linda, I'm so glad your kefir grains aren't dead! About the fructose thing, agave nectar is mostly fructose, so maybe if you try that next time it'll work better? It does for me. And I just learned that the light agave nectar doesn't work any better than sugar, so use the amber (looks like honey). Of course, that takes us back to minerals, too. There are minerals, etc. as well as fructose in fruit. It seems to be a combination of factors at work here.

I'm so glad to have this group, so we can share our experiences and learn together!

Christie

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#144 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 05:23 PM
 
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This has been really useful! Just from recent experience, I'll second adding the dried fruit as a second step. Last night, I added dried mangos to some that still had the grains in it, and dried pineapple to some that I'd already strained. The mango kefir had a little of the rotted fruit thing going today; the pineapple is fine. Both fizzed (which hadn't been happening). Just as a control, I'll brew the next batch with pineapple, turbinado and the grains.

One question...is agave nectar something that would be available at a health food store?

Mom of two girls.
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#145 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 05:27 PM
 
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Yeah, I've got the rotted fruit thing. That's my off taste. Is it okay to drink?
I'll switch to turbinado and fruit as a second step and see if that helps.
This batch, going on 18 hours with maple syrup and pineapple with grains, also has the rotted fruit aroma. I took out the fruit and will let it go another 6 hours.
Hmmm. . .
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#146 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
One question...is agave nectar something that would be available at a health food store?
Yes, it's at Wild Oats, and our co-op (but a lot cheaper at Wild Oats). Haven't looked at other health food stores, like Whole Foods, but I would guess that they have it, too. It seems to be pretty widely available (around here anyway). It's even at the store where we buy our meat, which has a smallish health food section. It's near the honey everywhere I've seen it.

It's good stuff. The amber tastes a lot like honey, but it's more liquid, doesn't seem to crystalize, dissolves in water easily (even cold water), and barely affect blood sugar (doesn't seem to in me, but ds has diabetes, and it does sometimes affect him a little -- depends on what he eats it with).

Christie

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#147 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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I think the rotten fruit taste just bothers some people more than others. I was adding orange juice to mine for a while after straining out the grains and got a lot of compliments. But one woman said "it tastes like rotten oranges."

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#148 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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As long as it's nothing to worry about dd and I aren't bothered by it
I think ds will turn his nose up, but at least he'll drink kombucha
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#149 of 177 Old 08-10-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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I made lemon kefir. After straining the grains out, I add some peel and the juice of one lemon. I think I used the peel from about 1/2 the lemon, and I took a knife and peeled off only the yellow part. I also added 1/2 Tbs. more agave nectar (since the lemon is so tart, compared to dried fruit). It's the best lemonade I've made all season! Ds loves it! I'll try it with a lime next. I'm sure it will be wonderful, too.

I'm anxious for my grains to multiply enough that I can have 2 quarts brewing at a time. Then maybe dh and I will get more than just a taste! Ds loves the kefir made with dried cherries, too. We call it cherry juice (he is philosophically opposed to drinking kefir, so we call it "juice" and "lemonade" ).

Christie

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#150 of 177 Old 08-11-2006, 12:04 AM
 
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I've made the lemon too and it was yummy.
I am definately going to try dried cherries!

I have turbinado and ginger root slices going now.

How fast do the grains multiply? Mine don't seem to be ttc.
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