Frequently Asked Questions About Water Kefir
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 grains 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.
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.
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.
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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. You can simply remove the scoby when you are ready to drink your water kefir or 2nd ferment it.
To take a break from making water kefir, prepare a sugar-water solution, place the grains 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 grains, you will need to use one-quarter cup of sugar and one quart of water for the sugar-water solution. To take a break from making water kefir, prepare a sugar-water solution, place the grains 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 grains, you will need to use one-quarter cup of sugar and one quart of water for the sugar-water solution.
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 an unrefined sugar.
Warmer temperatures can also make your grains culture faster and can lead to over mineralization, shorten the culturing time and change the grains to new sugar water more frequently. Don’t use a heating element of your water kefir. This too can make the grains overferment and get slimy.
You’ll need three to four tablespoons of kefir grains to culture four cups of water kefir every 48 hours.
Consistent feedings ( every 2 to 3 days) is very important to keep grains healthy. Giving them the proper amounts of sugar to grains ratios (see recipe) is also important. I have also found that giving them molasses will make them grow like crazy. They love the minerals and sugars in molasses, so if you have 4 tbsp of grains, give them a tbsp of molasses and sugar water. If they’re still healthy then this should get them growing and multiplying again. Grains 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 molasses doesn’t perk them up then you’ll need new grains.