Water Kefir Fermenting Guide

Ingredients:
1 table spoon – water kefir grains
1 table spoon – organic cane sugar
1 cup – spring water

Utensils:
1 x fido jar
1 x wood/plastic spoon
1 x plastic strainer
1 x kitchen cloth and rubber band

Process
Put the ingredients listed above into the glass Fido jar, then stir it around using the spoon. Cover the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band.

Let the contents stand at room temperature for approx. 24-48 hours depending on your taste. The longer you leave it, the more it ferments and less sweet it gets as the sugar content gets eaten by the kefir grains. The temperature will determine the fermentation duration.

The amount for each ingredients listed above is the ideal ratio. So if you wanted to make 4 cups worth of kefir for example, multiply everything by 4 (i.e. 4 table spoons of the grains, 4 table spoons of sugar and 4 cups of water).

When it’s ready, strain the kefir into a clean jar using the plastic strainer. While it’s fermenting, some of the kefir grains will float to the top of the jar and they may be a thin film of yeast. This is not harmful to ingest, but it is up to you to remove the film with a spoon.

After straining, the grains are placed straight back into a clean jar without washing them. Fresh water and sugar is added to the grains to make the next batch.

A Note on Cleanliness
Make sure everything is very clean when handling kefir. It’s a living culture, a complex system of bacteria and yeasts and you don’t want risk contaminating it. Use freshly cleaned hands, clean jars and clean non metallic implements.

Notes and variations
Making kefir is a pretty simple process, put the culture in the sugar water, leave it to ferment and there’s your kefir. But there are a wide variety of styles and tastes when it comes to kefir making. For one thing, kefir is a living food and subject to a fair degree of natural variation and people have a range of tastes, so you’ll find as many different ways of making kefir as there are people making it. Here are just a few.

Timing and Temperature
There is a wide variety in the length of time the kefir is left to ferment. In the end, how long to leave it depends on how sour you like it. The longer you leave it the sourer it gets. Some people like a lightly fermented kefir, they let it ferment for only 12 hours, others like it much stronger and more active and leave it for 2 or 3 days.

Double Fermentation
Or there’s the double fermentation technique. First ferment in the usual way by adding the culture to the sugar water and leaving for a period of time, 12-24 hours is the norm. Then strain out the culture and leave the kefir out to ferment more slowly for another 12-24 hours before putting it in the fridge.

Continuous Fermentation
Then there’s the traditional ‘continuous fermentation’ approach. You store your kefir in a large jar but don’t put it in the fridge. As each new batch is ready it’s added to the existing kefir in the main storage jar and then the lid goes on. The kefir will continue to ferment (it’s a live food remember) and will get very sour and fizzy. If you feel inclined to try this you must always use a jar with a rubber seal that will allow excess pressure to escape, otherwise you run the risk of explosions!