Frequently Asked Questions About Water Kefir
My water kefir has changed and smells yeasty or funny?
If your water kefir has a yeasty aroma you may be over-culturing, which can cause an imbalance. Make sure to reduce the culturing time in warmer temperatures, to keep the crystals well-fed and in balance, and feed them every two to three days.
If your crystals are getting a film, you might add 1-2 dates or you can also try adding a teaspoon or two of molasses for extra minerals, this helps balance out the yeasts and bacteria.
Should I use a lid or cloth when making water kefir?
Just like kombucha, you should never use a lid when making water kefir. Always use a cloth and a rubber band, or you can use the outside lid from a canning jar for your 1st ferment. When you second ferment you will place it in a bottle made for brewing that has a tight lid to keep the fizziness in.
Which is better, water kefir, or milk kefir?
I have found that milk kefir has more benefits than water kefir. I personally have noticed that milk kefir creates significant health changes that water kefir does not. There are benefits in both water and milk kefir, but milk kefir has a larger amount of beneficial bacteria and is, by far, the most beneficial of the two.
Check out this post for more info:
What if there is a film on my water kefir?
This is often just a version of a scoby. It can happen when you switch the types of sugar you are using for your water kefir. It's harmless and you can simply remove the scoby when you are ready to drink your water kefir or 2nd ferment it.
Can I take a break from water kefir?
To take a break from making water kefir, prepare a sugar-water solution, place the crystals in the sugar water, place a tight lid on the container, and place it in the refrigerator. This will keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge. After that, you need to replace the solution with fresh water and sugar. For each one-quarter cup of water kefir crystals, you will need to use a one-quarter cup of sugar and one quart of water for the sugar-water solution.
What do I do if my water kefir crystals are slimy and smell bad?
This could be the result of over-mineralization: Sugars such as coconut sugar or honey can contain too many minerals and it is best to switch to unrefined sugar.
Warmer temperatures can also make your crystals culture faster and can lead to over mineralization, shorten the culturing time and change the crystals to new sugar water more frequently. Don't use a heating element on your water kefir. This too can make the crystals over-ferment and get slimy.
What amount of water kefir crystals do I need to make water kefir?
You’ll need three to four tablespoons of water kefir crystals to culture four cups of water kefir every 48 hours.
My Water Kefir Crystals Aren't Growing?
Consistent feedings ( every 2 to 3 days) is very important to keep crystals healthy. Giving them the proper amounts of sugar to water kefir crystal ratios (see recipe) is also important. I have also found that giving them minerals helps greatly. They love minerals and it helps to revive them. I usually give my crystals a drop of molasses at every feeding but if this doesn't perk them up I have a stronger formula you can use once to revive them.
Here is the formula: You can double or triple it based on how many water crystals you have.
Water Kefir Revival Kit
- ¼ cup of Water Kefir Crystals
- 5 cups of cool water
- ¼ cup of sugar (turbinado sugar has more minerals)
- ⅛ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon plain baking soda
- ½ teaspoon unsulfured blackstrap molasses
Place water and sugar in a large glass jar and using a whisk, mix until sugar is dissolved. Then add your crystals and other ingredients to the jar. Stir a little with a spoon until combined. Place a lid on the jar and let it sit for 2-3 days. After that time strain and resume regular protocol of sugar water and crystals. This should revive them if they're still healthy and start them growing and becoming bubbly again.
Crystals that are sluggish and not growing are usually a sign of not being fed regularly enough. If feeding them every two days and giving them a drop of molasses doesn't perk them up then you'll need new crystals.
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