Friday, March 8, 2013

My First Batch of Water Kefir

Somethings brewing in Brooklyn, my first batch of water kefir.

I had a very refereshing glass of my friend Bryan Dentz's home-made water kafir. It’s similar to kombucha and has slightly sweet and tangy flavor that’s similar to good apple cider vinegar. Water kafir grains are close cousins to the grains used to make goat milk kefir. They are composed of a variety of live yeasts (Species Saccharomyces) and bacteria (Lactobacillus) —not a cereal type grain such as wheat, barley, rice, etc. When germinated the symbiotic relationship processes sugar water into lactic acid. Some alcohol is formed but not much, anywhere from .2 to 2% depending how long it’s allowed to ferment.

These plump kefir grains are formed from a symbiotic partnering of yeasts and bacteria.

It’s not an exact science but Bryan gave me some guidelines.
• Use non-chlorinated water only
• Cover the jar with gauze, but no not use a lid
• Dont let the grains come in direct contact with metal
• Do not use anti-bacterial soap
• Do not handle the grains with bare hands

I’m kinda nervous about blowing this. I already spilled some of the starter from the jar the he gave me. When germinated in sugar water, the grains plump into translucent blooms; 1/2 cup of starter and 1/2 cup sugar make 16 oz of water kefir. I filled a large mason jar with tap water and let it sit overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate. This morning I dissolved sugar into the water and then added the grains. It will ferment in a dark place at room temperature for 24 to 28 hours. After that I’ll strain the liquid though gauze and start a new batch with the same grains.

Although goat kefir has its history in the Caucuses mountains, the origins of water kefir are unclear. It has been made traditionally in Tibet as well as in Mexico. This batch definitely comes from South Slope Brooklyn. BTW, Bryan also makes his own beer.

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