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How to Make Grape Soda Water Kefir (Easy Tutorial)

Grape soda water kefir has all the pep and bubbles of your favorite grape soda but without the added sugar. Not only is this water kefir delicious to sip on, but it’s also packed with gut-healthy probiotics that can improve gastric issues like leaky gut, malabsorption, and IBS! In this simple tutorial, I’ll break down the easiest way to brew your own water kefir right in your kitchen. Anyone can do this and it’s much easier than you might think.

water kefir grape soda

**Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.**

As I have shared in many of my other recipes, I am a huge fan of all fermented foods! Not only do I think the taste is phenomenal, but I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and a huge part of that is taking care of the gut through good food choices.

I make a lot of ferments at our house with sourdough being my favorite. I also make milk kefir for my kids every week. This water kefir recipe is a dairy-free version of kefir that everyone can enjoy. Plus if you don’t prefer the very sour/yogurt taste of milk kefir, you will probably enjoy water kefir even more.

A lot of people think brewing water kefir at home sounds intimidating but it is surprisingly simple and hands-off! In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I make water kefir and also share my favorite way to flavor the kefir to make it taste like grape soda!

What is Water Kefir?

Usually when someone hears one of my kids ask for kefir they immediately ask, “What in the world is kefir?” … And I don’t blame them. I grew up in a “crunchy” home so I’ve been familiar with milk kefir for a long time, but I had no idea water kefir even existed until recently.

baby girl drinking water kefir

Here is everything you need to know about water kefir: 

Water kefir is a fermented beverage that is created through the fermentation of sugar water by kefir grains. These “grains” are not actual grains, but rather clusters of beneficial bacteria and yeast called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). As the grains consume the sugar, they remove the overwhelming sweetness of the sugar water and the result is a fizzy and slightly tangy drink with a mild sweetness.

water kefir grains for grape soda water kefir

An additional period of fermentation can be done after the grains are removed and fruit juice is added. This second fermentation yields the flavorful “probiotic soda” that I offer my kids and it is delicious!

How is Water Kefir Made?

Water kefir is made in a process that includes 2 ferments. The entire simple process takes 2-3 days to complete.

The first ferment is the foundational step in creating water kefir. It involves dissolving sugar in non-chlorinated water, creating a sweet environment for the water kefir grains to thrive. After adding the kefir grains to the water, the jar is loosely covered and left to ferment at room temperature for 24-48 hours.

During the first ferment, the water kefir grains work their magic, converting the sugar into lactic acid and producing carbon dioxide. During this process, the water kefir grains metabolize and consume the sugar which reduces the sugar content of the drink! The end result has around 3 grams of sugar.

Once the first ferment is complete, flavor and carbonation can be enhanced through an optional second fermentation. The liquid is transferred to glass bottles, and fruit juices, fresh ginger root, herbs and citrus juices can be added for a zesty twist. The bottles are tightly capped to trap carbon dioxide and left to sit at room temperature for another 24 to 48 hours. This is where the water kefir is taken to the next level of fizziness and flavor!

Why Make Water Kefir?

glass of water kefir

Why go to all the trouble to make kefir when you can buy kefir from the store?

Well, here at The Sourdough Artisan, we are passionate about all things health and wellness. As a mom of 3 and a registered nurse for over 5 years, I am always looking for ways to avoid processed foods. We make our food from scratch, at home, with ingredients I know and can feel good about.

Kefir that is bought from the store often goes through processes where it is heated or modulated in such a way that much of the bacteria may be killed off. The ferment times for store-bought kefir are also very short which yields far fewer healthy bacteria. In addition, they often add sugar and artificial flavorings which are important to avoid.

For these reasons, I decided to start a water kefir-making journey (In addition to the health benefits of home-brewed water kefir, it is also much more affordable to make it yourself). 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

There is SO much research coming out currently on intestinal permeability or what is colloquially known as “leaky gut syndrome”. While the term is thrown around frequently, it’s important to understand what is actually happening in the body when the intestines become weak and inflamed.

woman with leaky gut syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the gut is weakened and inflamed from conditions like chronic stress, lack of physical mobility, and overconsumption of highly processed, high-sugar foods. The intestines begin to “leak” or allow the passage of molecules into the bloodstream that should not be there. This leakage can then cause further issues such as hormonal, immune, nervous, respiratory or reproductive system diseases. (Source).

Leaky gut syndrome can be healed and prevented by lifestyle changes, specifically dietary changes. Eliminating ultra-processed foods is a great first step in the healing and prevention process. Studies have also found an overwhelming amount of evidence that probiotic-rich foods help to heal the gut and prevent gastric inflammation.

Probiotics:

Probiotics are another buzzword in the wellness community but another concept that isn’t well understood. Here are a few important concepts to understand when discussing the use of probiotics to treat and prevent leaky gut syndrome:

Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria intended to help maintain and grow the “good” bacteria in the body. Prebiotics are foods that can be eaten to feed the good bacteria such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The short answer is yes, but research to make sure you are taking a good quality, resilient probiotic. Many of the probiotics marketed at the supermarket are a waste of money as the bacteria has been so processed that it will no longer have the resiliency to reach the gut. A spore probiotic is the best option for an oral probiotic supplement as they are incredibly resilient to last through the stomach acid and into the bowels.

Absolutely! Our bodies are made up of millions of bacteria. In the days of our ancestors, a vast variety of foods were consumed as hunter-gatherer groups moved across the plains seasonally. A large variety of fiber-rich prebiotic foods were consumed as well as many different kinds of meats. This exposure to a broad variety of foods and bacteria creates a diverse microbiome which is beneficial for gut health. While taking a probiotic is great, it’s important to diversify the bacteria in your gut. Water kefir has up to 60 different bacteria (source)! That is amazing diversity.

I recommend Just Thrive probiotics. They contain healthy spore-based probiotics that are safe for kids 4 years and up. they now offer a gummy version which I love!

Health Benefits of Water Kefir

grape soda water kefir

Kefir bacteria has been found to have a plethora of health benefits including but not limited to antitumoral, antihypertensive, liver protection, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and of course the one that many of us are familiar with: gut health.

Kefir is loaded with strands of gut-healthy bacteria that are more resilient and diverse than even the strains found in yogurt. There is also significant data showing that kefir bacteria has a better track record for making it through the stomach into the intestines (source). When consumed and paired with other probiotic-rich foods + healthy lifestyle, kefir can prevent and heal leaky gut syndrome. Kefir contains over 60 different, diverse, gut-healthy bacteria.

Water kefir improves immune response in the body by decreasing inflammation in the gut. When leaky gut syndrome occurs, the intestinal lining becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to inflammatory bowel disease and IBS. Healing your gut with probiotic-rich foods will decrease inflammation and improve your immune response (i.e. help your body stop attacking your bowels).

Due to the high water content, this beverage is a great way to increase your daily hydration. Most adults and children are dehydrated which leads to electrolyte imbalances and trouble regulating our metabolism. Drinking a bubbly, fruity beverage that has high water content is a great way to increase overall hydration!

I mentioned this when talking about immune health but it bears mentioning here that water kefir is an excellent option for those who have dairy allergies (or who eat a vegan diet). Dairy can be extremely inflammatory for some individuals (although fermented forms of dairy may cause considerably lower immune responses.) Water kefir is an option that can be consumed by basically anyone!

Why You’ll Love Grape Soda Water Kefir:

glass of water kefir
  • Bubbly and refreshing: I am not the biggest water drinker and for some reason, am always craving something with bubbles. This fruity, bubbly goodness is so refreshing and the best soda alternative!
  • Probiotic benefits: While soda, (even soda sweetened with stevia) has no nutritional value, grape soda water kefir is loaded with beneficial bacteria that is fantastic for your gut!
  • Kid Friendly: My kids call it soda and they think it’s real soda and I won’t ever tell them differently. The fruit flavoring appeals to them so get creative with blueberry, strawberry, and citrus fruit additions!
  • Flavor options galore: This recipe shows you how to make my all-time favorite grape soda water kefir. But there are so many more flavor options and combos to try. We frequently make ginger ale, blueberry, and even pineapple water kefir! They are all delicious.

Supplies

Ingredients

  • Water Kefir Grains– I recommend buying water kefir grains from this company. They are hydrated and ready to use immediately. You can also buy dehydrated grains but that is a slightly different process to rehydrate. Just know, as soon as these arrive you need to start making your first batch right away!
  • Water- Mineral or spring water is highly recommended by kefir experts. I use filtered water which is very mineral deficient so I add baking soda every 2-3 brews to remineralize.
  • Organic brown sugar- Other substitutes are molasses,  coconut sugar, sucanat, and turbinado. If you use a large granule sugar like a turbinado, you may need to boil the water to get the sugar to dissolve. Try to avoid white, refined sugar. It is less beneficial for the grains.
  • Organic Grape Juice- Make sure it is 100% juice and not a sugar and dye-loaded fruit cocktail!

Let’s Get Started Making Water Kefir!

It’s important to note that I brew water kefir 1 time a week. This recipe makes six 16 oz flip-top bottles for our family of 5 to enjoy throughout the week. Some weeks we run out quickly and others we have plenty.

Disclaimer: There isn’t any one way to do this so I’ll be showing you exactly how I make water kefir in my home. It has always tasted great and turned out super bubbly so I am happy with this method.

Step 1: Prepare Kefir Grains

If you order kefir grains from this company, they will arrive ready for use. You do want to start using them immediately to get them acclimated to their new home. No need to rehydrate!

bowl of water kefir grains and brown sugar

How to Rehydrate Water Kefir Grains:

If you bought dehydrated kefir grains you will need to re-hydrate them before brewing water kefir.

  • Begin by bringing 3-4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Dissolve 1/4 cup of brown sugar or an organic cane sugar in the water. Let the water cool to room temperature.
  • Pour sugar water and water kefir grains into a glass jar. Cover with a tea towel and secure with rubber band.
  • Place in a warm spot like your kitchen countertop for 3-4 days. You will know the grains are rehydrated because they should have swelled to about 4x the original size.
  • Strain kefir grains out of water and discard the water. Start making water kefir with your rehydrated grains!

NOTE: As with milk kefir, the first 1-2 batches you make may not be the best batches. I noticed my kefir water got stronger and more flavorful after 2-3 batches with my grains.

Step 2: Make Sugar Water

To begin, add 1/2 cup of organic brown sugar to each 1/2 gallon jar and fill the jars almost to the top with filtered water. Leave about three inches at the top. Screw the lids on and shake until the sugar dissolves.

  • If you are using turbinado or a larger granule sugar like sugar in the raw you may need to dissolve the sugar in boiling water. Dissolve 1 cup of brown sugar in 2 cups of boiling water.
  • Set aside the saucepan and let it cool completely before adding the water kefir grains. Pour 1 cup of the sugar water into each jar and then fill with filtered water like usual.

The Equation:

The next part of the process involves adding your water kefir grains to the two 1/2 gallon jars. (If you don’t have half gallon jars you can do 4 quarts.)

This part got me stressed when I first started. How many water kefir grains do I need for a half-gallon jar of sugar water? What if I have too many? What if I don’t have enough?

If you’re like me and like straightforward equations for recipes, here is my general rule of thumb:

1/2 cup Water Kefir Grains + 1/2 cup Sugar + Water to fill 1/2 gallon jar

This whole process is rather forgiving. If you don’t add as many water kefir grains your water won’t ferment as quickly. Which is not a big deal. Simply taste a little of the water and if it still tastes super sweet, cover it back up and leave for another 12-24 hours. I’ve brewed water kefir that was great after 12 hours and I’ve also (accidentally) left it out for 48 hours- both tasted great!

Step 3: First Ferment

Add 1/2 cup of water kefir grains to each jar. Some of the grains will sink to the bottom and some may float around. This is all normal. Just be sure your water isn’t still hot because water kefir grains can die in high temperatures.

Cover the jars with tea towels or coffee filters and secure with a rubber band. Place the jars in a warm spot like your kitchen counter so they can begin their first ferment!! The first ferment should be 48 hours.

Keep in mind that as with all ferments, heat will speed up the fermentation process while the cold will slow it. During the summer you may only need to let the first ferment sit for 24 hours, but during the fall it may need the full 48!

Add a Lemon Slice (OPTIONAL)

Every third or fourth brewing it doesn’t hurt to add a slice of lemon if you have one. Ferments like water kefir can sometimes grow Kahm yeast which is a harmless but funky-tasting problem. This happened to me when I used to brew kombucha and let’s just say I ended up throwing my whole SCOBY away and starting over. I wish I had known adding a lemon slice can clear that issue right up!

Step 5: Assessing The Brew

After 48 hours of nervously watching your water kefir do… nothing but sit there, you are wondering how it tastes and if you somehow messed it up already… The good news is, it’s really hard to mess this up.

If you aren’t sure your water kefir has brewed long enough simply taste it. Does it still taste like super sweet sugar water? Cover it up and give it some more time. If it tastes tangy and mildly sweet, you are golden! You want the water kefir to be tangy and slightly sour but still have a hint of sweetness.

Step 6: Strain Out Water Kefir Grains

Grab a large bowl and a metal sieve like this one or some cheesecloth. Pour the water kefir through the sieve into the bowl. Make sure you’ve caught all the water kefir grains. Set the grains aside.

water kefir grains in a sieve

Step 7: Preparing Your Flavoring

Gather your flip-top bottles and a funnel.

Open the bottles and pour 1/4th cup to 1/2 cup of organic grape juice into the bottle. 1/2 cup will yield a sweeter soda but I usually stick to 1/4th cup to avoid excess sugar.

water kefir bottles on counter top

Insert the funnel into the mouth of each bottle and pour in the water kefir. I like to fill to the base of the neck, leaving a few inches above. Water kefir gets SUPER fizzy and I don’t want any explosions in my kitchen.

After all the flip top bottles are filled, you may have a little extra water kefir liquid. I like to save this to store my grains in when I’m not using them, so I set it aside.

NOTE: If you don’t have flip-top bottles you can also use a glass canning jar with a screw on lid to create the pressure.

Step 8: Second Fermentation

Let the water kefir sit out on the kitchen counter again for another 12-24 hours. It is important to “burp” your bottles about every 6-12 hours. If you don’t, the pressure from the carbon dioxide will make the soda squirt straight out when you try to open it at the end of your ferment.

How To Know Your Water Kefir is Ready:

I love a super fizzy water kefir so I usually let it sit for 24 hours. If you attempt to burp your bottles and barely hear a pop, your water kefir is likely not very carbonated yet. This is a good indication you need to reseal the bottles and let them sit for another 12-24 hours.

jar of water kefir against white background

Step 9: Store and Enjoy

At the end of the second fermentation, I like to burp all the bottles (over the sink if I’m honest) so that the pressure doesn’t continue to build in the bottles. If I’m satisfied with the carbonation of one, I know the others will be great.

I immediately place the bottles in the fridge to get nice and cold. Then I wait the next 4-6 hours for that first icy sip of grape soda water kefir perfection!

Step 10: Storing Your Water Kefir Grains

I don’t have a continuous batch of water kefir brewing as I only brew about once a week. When I am not actively brewing I like to store my water kefir grains in sugar water + reserved water kefir brew in the refrigerator.

water kefir on a gray background

In step 7, you have set aside some of the previous water kefir brew. I like to add about 1/2 cup of the last batch to a 1/2 gallon jar, about 1/2 cup of organic brown sugar and fill the jar with filtered water. Then I place my grains inside the jar, seal it, and put it in the fridge. Storing water kefir grains in the refrigerator put the grains “on hold” until my next brew.

FAQ About Water Kefir:

The best type of water for water kefir is mineral or spring water that is rich in minerals. It is also important to use non-chlorinated water. Filtered water removes chlorine but it also removes the bulk of minerals from the water. Tap water has more chlorine but may also contain more minerals. For this reason, I use filtered water and every couple of brews I add a few raisins or a tablespoon of molasses to the sugar water during the first ferment. This helps to remineralize the water!

Check out this super informative post from Yemoos.

“Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugars (and sometimes proteins and fats too, especially in the case of milk kefir) found present in the sugar-water and dried fruits. The yeast and bacteria co-operate, making the nutrients that are inaccessible to one digested into accessible nutrients for the other. Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic and acid-producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol. It also contains millions of probiotics and is more nutritious in some regards because of the more bio-available and digestible nutrients from the sugars and dried fruits including an increase in vitamin C and many B vitamins.”

Kahm yeast is a hot-button topic, specifically when we’re discussing laco fermented foods. Sometimes kahm yeast can form in water kefir, however I have never had this happen that I know of. Kahm yeast isn’t harmful but it has a weird, bitter, yucky aftertaste. Kahm yeast growth can be prevented by adding a lemon slice to your water kefir during the first fermentation. I do this about every 2-3 brews to prevent the formation and keep the PH of my grains healthy.

Water kefir grains thrive in high mineral water. If you are like me and using filtered water to create your brew, I highly recommend adding minerals back into the water. You can do this by adding 1-2 pieces of dried fruit like raisins or dates to your first ferment or add 1 TBS of molasses every 2-3 brews to help the mineral content stay rich (Be aware molasses has a strong flavor that you may notice). Another simple option to remineralize the water is to add about 1/8th of a teaspoon of baking soda to the brew every 2-3 batches!

Fresh kefir grains arrive plump and ready to begin fermenting. Dehydrated kefir grains must be rehydrated before they can be used to create water kefir. Both grains work well, dehydrated grains will just take a bit longer to start producing good kefir. To rehydrate your grains:

  • Begin by bringing 3-4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Dissolve 1/4 cup of brown sugar or an organic cane sugar in the water. Let the water cool to room temperature.
  • Pour sugar water and water kefir grains into a glass jar. Cover with a tea towel and secure with rubber band.
  • Place in a warm spot like your kitchen countertop for 3-4 days. You will know the grains are rehydrated because they should have swelled to about 4x the original size.
  • Strain kefir grains out of water and discard the water. Start making water kefir with your rehydrated grains!

After straining the water kefir grains out, place them in a quart or half-gallon jar. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of your last brew for the water kefir grains to consume in the refrigerator. Next, add about 1/4th cup of brown sugar. Fill the jar to the top with water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place a screw top lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. You can store them for some time without feeding them, but I recommend adding more sugar for them to feed on if you plan to take an extended break from brewing.

Soaking water kefir grains in a bowl of spring water (no sugar) after every couple brews is highly recommended. Just let the grains sit in the bowl of spring water on the counter for about 20 minutes. This helps clear the grains of stored sugar and create a neutral PH. This is especially recommended if you notice the grains becoming very yeasty or the flavor seems off.

As I mentioned earlier, kefir bacteria has been found to have a plethora of health benefits including but not limited to antitumoral, antihypertensive, liver protection, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and of course the one that many of us are familiar with: gut health. It has been proven to help prevent and heal leaky gut syndrome and is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties! (source).

Both beverages have advantages. Milk kefir grains are very wholesome and probiotic-rich but a limitation occurs if you are vegan or have a dairy allergy or sensitivity. Milk kefir has a stronger flavor, similar to yogurt. Water kefir has a mild flavor and can be brewed with fruits and herbs to enhance flavor. I prefer the flavor of water kefir but both drinks are very beneficial.

No. The grains are totally different. They contain different and diverse strains of bacteria.

Well water is more mineral-rich than city tap water. As long as you have had your well water tested and it is safe to drink, your water kefir grains should do just fine.

The grains should last indefinitely as long as they are being cared for properly. A good routine of feeding, soaking, and resting will benefit the life of your kefir grains.

There are a few things you can check to determine if your first ferment is complete. First, try nudging the jar and see if bubbles rise to the top. You should see some film has formed on the surface and the color may be slightly lighter than when you began the ferment. I like to taste a teaspoon or so. The water should taste slightly tangy. Not bitter but not overly sweet anymore. If you want a super fizzy “soda” kefir, let the first ferment continue for 48 hours versus 24.

The fizzy, carbonated version of kefir that I adore is created mostly during the second ferment. By sealing the bottles of water kefir and adding additional sugar to ferment with your brew, you create a soda-like beverage that is bubbly and delicious. If you notice that your bottle doesn’t “pop” or fizz when you open it at the end of the second ferment, you need to let it continue fermenting for another 12-24 hours.

Yes. The term “burp” is gross, but it refers to letting out the pressure in your water kefir bottles during the second ferment and is VERY important to do. I recommend “burping” the bottles every 8-12 hours of your second fermentation. You’ll notice the first burp may not fizz at all but by the 24-hour mark, your bottles should be pretty fizzy. If you don’t burp the bottles you risk the bottle exploding out sticky water kefir all over your kitchen!

After your water kefir has finished the second fermentation, I recommend drinking it within 2 weeks. It tends to get a bit flat and have a funny aftertaste if it sits in the fridge for much longer than that. Ours is always gone within 2-3 days of making so this has never been an issue for us.

No. Flavorings such as fresh fruits, fruit shrubs, fruit juice, herbs, etc. should only be added during the second ferment. The only exceptions are adding a lemon slice or raisins during the first ferment to prevent kahm yeast growth and add minerals.

Enjoy Grape Soda Water Kefir!

Crafting your own grape soda water kefir is a rewarding and surprisingly simple process that transforms basic ingredients into a fizzy and flavorful drink.

As you experiment with different flavors and combinations, you’ll discover the process of crafting homemade probiotic soda is much easier than you may have thought. So, gather your ingredients, start your first batch of water kefir, and enjoy the journey to a healthier and tastier alternative to commercial sodas. Cheers to homemade grape soda water kefir!

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Grape Soda Water Kefir


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  • Total Time: 72 hours
  • Yield: 6 16 oz bottles 1x

Description

Learn how to create delicious probiotic soda at home with this grape soda water kefir recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup water kefir grains
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 gallon mineral, spring or filtered water
  • 1.5 cups organic grape juice
  • 2 slices lemon (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Kefir Grains + Supplies:

  1. If you ordered live kefir grains (not dehydrated) they should arrive ready for use. *See recipe notes for how to rehydrate dehydrated water kefir. Wash and dry two 1/2 gallon jars with screw on lids (or four quart jars with lids).

Step 2: Make Sugar Water

  1. Add 1/2 cup of organic brown sugar to each 1/2 gallon jar then fill the jars almost to the top with filtered water. Leave about three inches at the top. Screw the lids on and shake until the sugar dissolves.
  2. If you are using turbinado or a larger granule sugar like sugar in the raw you may need to dissolve the sugar in boiling water.
    Dissolve 1 cup of brown sugar in 2 cups of boiling water. Set aside the saucepan and let it cool completely before adding the water kefir grains. Pour 1 cup of the sugar water into each jar and then fill with filtered water like usual.

Step 3: First Ferment

  1. Add 1/2 cup of water kefir grains to each jar. Some of the grains will sink down to the bottom and some may float around. This is all normal.
    * If you boiled your sugar water, be sure your water isn't still hot because water kefir grains can die in high temperatures.*
  2. Cover the jars with tea towels or coffee filters and secure with a rubber band. Place the jars in a warm spot like your kitchen counter and ferment for about 48 hours.

Add a Lemon Slice (OPTIONAL)

  1. Every third or fourth brewing, add a slice of lemon to the first ferment. This helps to balance PH and prevent Kahm yeast growth.

Step 4: Assess The Brew

  1. After 48 hours, check your water kefir to make sure it has fermented enough. If the water kefir bubbles slightly, has a bit of film on top and tastes slighty tangy/sour and not overly sweet, it is ready.

Step 5: Strain Out Water Kefir Grains

  1. Strain the water kefir using a large bowl and a metal sieve. Make sure you've caught all the water kefir grains in the sieve and set the grains aside.

Step 6: Preparing Your Flavoring

  1. Gather your flip top bottles and a funnel.
  2. Pour 1/4th cup of organic grape juice into each bottle. Insert a funnel into the mouth of each bottle and pour in water kefir, leaving a few inches of space at the top.
    NOTE: Water kefir becomes very fizzy during the second fermentation. Leaving an inch or two of space in the bottle helps to prevent the bottle exploding everywhere when you try to open.
  3. After all the flip top bottles are filled, you may have a little extra water kefir liquid. Set this aside to store your grains.

Step 7: Second Fermentation

  1. Let the water kefir sit out on the kitchen counter again for another 12-24 hours.
    NOTE: It is important to "burp" your bottles about every 6-12 hours. If you don't, the pressure from the carbon dioxide will make the soda squirt straight out when you try to open it at the end of your ferment.

How To Know Your Water Kefir is Ready:

  1. Around the 24 hour mark of the second ferment, burp your bottles. If you barely hear a pop, your water kefir is likely not very carbonated yet. This is a good indication you need to reseal the bottles and let them sit for another 12-24 hours. If your bottle pops loudly and you have to slowly apply pressure to the lid to prevent overflow, your soda is carbonated enough to complete the second ferment.

Step 8: Store and Enjoy

  1. At the end of the second fermentation, burp all the bottles (over the sink to avoid a mess) so that the pressure doesn't continue to build in the bottles.
  2. Place the bottles in the fridge for up to 1 month. For best results, keep refrigerated and enjoy kefir within the first two weeks.

Notes

If you bought dehydrated kefir grains you will need to re-hydrate them before brewing water kefir.

    • Begin by bringing 3-4 cups of water to a boil.

    • Dissolve 1/4 cup of brown sugar or an organic cane sugar in the water. Let the water cool to room temperature.

    • Pour sugar water and water kefir grains into a glass jar. Cover with a tea towel and secure with rubber band.

    • Place in a warm spot like your kitchen countertop for 3-4 days. You will know the grains are rehydrated because they should have swelled to about 4x the original size.

    • Strain kefir grains out of water and discard the water. Start making water kefir with your rehydrated grains!
  • Keep in mind that as with all ferments, heat will speed up the fermentation process while the cold will slow it. During the summer you may only need to let the first ferment sit for 24 hours, but during the fall it may need the full 48!
  • Every third or fourth brewing it doesn’t hurt to add a slice of lemon if you have one. Ferments like water kefir can sometimes grow Kahm yeast which is a harmless but funky tasting problem.
  • If you aren’t sure your water kefir has brewed long enough simply taste it. Does it still taste like super sweet sugar water? Cover it up and give it some more time. If it tastes tangy and mildly sweet, you are golden! You want the water kefir to be tangy and slightly sour but still have a hint of sweetness.
  • If you don’t have flip-top bottles you can also use a glass canning jar with a screw on lid to create the pressure.
  • It is very important to “burp” your bottles about every 12 hours. If you don’t, the pressure from the carbon dioxide will make the soda squirt straight out when you try to open it at the end of your ferment.
  • Store water kefir grains in a quart or half-gallon jar with 1/4-1/2 cup of your last brew for the water kefir grains to consume in the refrigerator. Next, add about 1/4th cup of brown sugar. Fill the jar to the top with water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place a screw top lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

  • Prep Time: 72 hours
  • Category: beverage
  • Cuisine: healthy

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