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How To Make Water Kefir

Affiliate Disclosure | in Recipes | by | with 95 Comments

How To Make Water Kefir

Do You Miss Cherry Limeades?

Or are you looking for a healthy alternative to soft drinks for your kids? Homemade soda pop to the rescue! Not only is it delicious, water kefir pop is rich in beneficial bacteria that boost immunity and help with digestive function.

The best part? It’s sooooo easy to make. Here’s how . . .

Homemade Kefir Soda

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rapadura/sucanat or organic white sugar (avoid honey because it does not have the right composition of sugars to feed the kefir grains)
  • 1 quart purified water – no fluoride or chlorine – these will kill the grains. I’ve used water from my Berkey, spring water and reverse osmosis water with minerals added back in
  • 2 tablespoons kefir grains (Hydrated, not dried. Follow the instructions for hydrating that come with your grains)
  • 1 squirt Concentrace minerals or molasses – optional (Water kefir tends to do better in mineral rich water. Both of these are good sources of minerals, but I’m not a fan of the flavor of molasses in my kefir)

Optional flavoring ideas:

  • A few slices of ginger – I’ve found this makes my kefir extra fizzy for some reason
  • 1/2 lime and fresh mint – so refreshing!
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract for a creamy soda experience
  • You can find recipes for cherry limeade, mango colada, blackberry lavender and more here

Supplies Needed

  • 1 quart jar
  • mesh strainer (plastic because metal will harm the grains)
  • cloth with rubber band to cover jar
  • measuring cup or bowl with pouring spout
  • swing top bottles – like these or these

How To Make Water Kefir

Step 1: Dissolve Sugar In A Small Amount Of Hot Water

If you’re making a quart, ladel out a small portion of your measured water and heat it to almost boiling. Add it to your jar along with the sugar and stir with a wooden/plastic spoon. Once the sugar is dissolved add the rest of your water. Make sure the water is cooled to room temp before continuing to the next step. .

How To Make Water Kefir

Step 2: Strain Kefir Grains

Whether your gathering your grains from a previous batch (as shown in the photo above) or using new grains recently hydrated in sugar water, you’re going to need to strain them. My favorite method is to place my mesh strainer over a measuring cup and pour. As the cup fills I pour it into swing top bottles for the second fermentation, which I’ll cover later in this tutorial. Make sure to use a plastic mesh strainer as metal can harm the kefir grains.

How To Make Water Kefir

Here’s what they look like up close.

How To Make Water Kefir

Step 3: Add Grains To Your Sugar Water Mixture

Boy do these things love converting sugar into probiotic goodness! Pictured on the left is a brand new batch of kefir that hasn’t fermented yet. On the right is a finished batch – the color tends to lighten when they’ve done their magic.

IMG_1159

Step 4: Add Flavorings (Optional)

 Now is the time to make your soda a cherry limeade, mango colada, or strawberry twist. 

Step 5: Pour In Swing Top Bottles For Extra Fizziness (Optional)

Technically you can stop with step 3, but in order for your water kefir to become carbonated you need to ferment a second time in tightly sealed bottles. As the beneficial bacteria and yeasts continue to consume the sugar they release gases which carbonate the drink. As a side benefit, this kind of carbonation benefits digestion!

I let mine sit for 1-3 days, depending on the temperature of my kitchen. Personally, I like to allow most of the sugar to be converted before serving, but you can pour a glass whenever the flavor develops to your preference!

Special Notes

Make sure to check on them often while you’re getting a feel for how quickly the fermentation process goes in your environment, because if the pressure builds up you may end up spraying fizz all over yourself and your kitchen. Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything. Ahem.

Also, it is possible to ferment with freshly pressed juices, but they yield a higher alcohol content than regular kefir, which contains a tiny amount. Please use caution when serving them to children, perhaps by fermenting them for a shorter amount of time. Also, second ferments are not recommended with juice kefir – pressure may build up very quickly, causing the bottle to burst.

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95 Responses to How To Make Water Kefir

  1. Charmagne says:

    I have been making water kefir for several months now, using Demera or raw cane sugar (with a 1/4 tsp of molasses). The color is right and I feel a difference in my digestion. So I think it is becoming probiotic. But the fizz is often disappointing.

    I usually use a ratio of 4 to 1 (the 1 being of some sort of 100% juice) in my second ferment. Do you think I need to add minerals to the second ferment as well? How long should I second ferment in order to consistently get carbonation?

  2. Sue says:

    Do I have to use flip top bottles? Can I use mason jars with tight lids for the 2nd ferment?

  3. colin aherne says:

    hi there after the water kefir is made what bottles should u use or containers to keep it in the fridge untill u wanna drink it or store till you wanna drink it?? and one thing comfusing me is people water tight the jars and leave no air in i was told use kitchen towl over it with elastic bands which is best thanks :-)

    • Heather says:

      Hi Colin, I store mine in swing top bottles, but I make sure not to leave them in too long because although refrigeration slows the fermentation process it does not completely stop it. If left in too long the bottles could break due to too much pressure.

  4. How to Make Lacto-Fermented Raspberry SodaMommypotamus | says:

    […] Note: You don’t have to use whey. Other options for starter cultures include a ginger bug, champagne yeast or water kefir. […]

  5. Tamara says:

    Hello,

    I recently received some grains with a recipe. The recipe calls for doing the “starter” step first. So, the first ferment. But the it calls for doing a second ferment in about 8 cups of water, same amount of suger. Then after 24 hours bottle it with some fruit juice, etc… But I have never seen this in any other recipe. Can you provide some insight on why I would do this? I enjoy the flavour and it yields more but why do I need to do both steps? Thanks…

    • Petra says:

      I have seen this in a lot of different places. I don’t think it makes that much of a difference, it is a personal preference. I make my starter with a1/2 organic lemon and then I use the brew afterwards to make “Orange Peach Mango Kefir” for my kids, which basically just adds 1/8 part OPM juice to the brew. I drink it plain, they drink the juice. It all tastes great! hope this helps. You don’t NEED both steps.

  6. Petra says:

    Hi Heather,
    HELP, my Kefir is turning into syrup! I was wondering if you had some insight into this.
    I have been making Kefir water for 1.5 years now and my initial batch lasted me a year. Since this summer I have had to buy 2 new starter batches, because I am running into a problem I don’t seem to be able to fix:
    Syrupy Kefir!
    I have not changed anything, use filtered water from my fridge filter, (we also have a house filter, our ph is 6.4 with 0 alkalinity when it comes out of the fridge double filtered), I have not changed the sugar, but after the syrup thickness started, I went from organic brown to white–thinking it may have too high of a mineral concentration) and I always use 1/2 organic lemon in my first brew.

    I have rested my grains for 2 weeks twice already, cleaned them thoroughly and when I restart a brew, the first one is “ok”… but the next ones get to be thicker and thicker…

    The Kefir grains themselves look great, some nice thick clusters, the color has changed from brown to white now, due to the white sugar and I think the lemon “cleans” them.

    My guess is that my water is too alkaline, has too many minerals, though we filter it and always have. (maybe the water company changed suppliers since we are in a drought?) I am willing to change to buying water at the store, if that will solve my problem, but don’t really know which kind to buy. When I just tested the Arrowhead spring water I just bought, it showed it has the highest alkalinity and pH, so I doubt that is a good alternative!
    HELP!
    Thanks much
    Petra

  7. Todd says:

    To clean the bottles I find filling them with warm water and denture tablets works well just rinse with plenty of water after

  8. Diane says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering what you used to add minerals to your reverse osmosis water for kefir making.

  9. Adelaide says:

    Hello there! I was wondering if you could use mason jars instead of swing top bottles for the second fermentation (perhaps with a small hole poked in the lid?)? This is my first time to ferment anything, and I want to make sure that I get it all right!
    As a side note, I really appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to provide such valuable information as this for all of us newbies out here!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Adelaide, you really need swing top bottles to get the drink fizzy, but if you don’t mind a fizzless version mason jars will work fine. :)

      • Adelaide says:

        Thank you so much for you quick response! I really appreciate it. I’ll be sure to buy some swing top bottles to ferment it in because I think that it would be yummier fizzy.

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