The Fizzy Bubbly Goodness!
Hey people! Recently my buddy Lucy hooked me up with some water kefir grains. What are those? Well, water kefir is essentially, the culinary equivalent of Sea Monkeys(oh yes!)…
Water kefir (aka Tibicos) is a symbiotic culture of various yeasts and bacteria. The community of beneficial creatures produce a polysaccharide matrix to live in. This matrix is referred to as a kefir grain. You can score kefir grains from friends that brew it or various online sources. Why may ya wanna score some kefir? Well these beneficial organisms produce an amazing probiotic rich beverage that boasts a butt-ton of health benefits! Let’s knock through a few of them ~
Improved digestion. Water kefir is loaded with friendly bacteria and yeast. These lil’ guys add to our digestive systems army of good microorganisms. The more the merrier as they do much of our digestive work (in fact we couldn’t properly digest our food without them). This added crew can help us get more nutrition out of our food and may help maintain a proper metabolism. Win, win, and win some more!
Reduce harmful organisms in our body. When we add more and more good organisms to our system, there is less and less room for the not so good ones! Kefir’s cultures may outcompete harmful bacteria and yeast when it comes to colonizing our digestive system. This could be a serious bonus for those dealing with candida issues.
Mood improvement. Tibicos also produce an assortment of b vitamins and amino acids, reportedly including Tryptophan. Tryptophan is essential amino acid that our body uses to create serotonin, our bodies’ primary nuerotransmitter. The more serotonin, the better our overall mood and ability to deal with stress. The b vitamins are also crucial in proper brain functioning and stavign off depression! Very good stuff!
The list of health benefits goes on and on! Do some web crawling and you’ll find LOT’S of varying info on the healing, health giving and curative powers of water kefir (aka Tibicos ) So go check it out and delve deeper! Now I’m gonna let ya know how I’ve been rockin’ the kefir…
I’m no newbie to home brewing probiotic beverages(been brewing kombucha for years now), but I was unprepared for how… freakin’ easy water kefir is! There are many recipes and methods out there, but I’ll give you the recipe and timing that’s been working for me. And it’s been working very well!
First you’re going to need ~
*A large mason jar or other large glass canister. I’ve been using a gallon size jar that I picked up at Target.
*A square of breathable fabric large enough to cover the jars opening. It could be a handkerchief or cloth napkin, I’m using a cotton wash cloth.
*A large rubber band to secure this fabric to your jar. This cover will prevent wayward bacteria and dust from settling in your kefir brewing jar as well as keep at bay any insects and fruit flies that may find your brew enticing!
*Organic turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is the dehydrated juice of the sugar cane plant. In essence it is minimally processed and unbleached sugar, which means it retains many of its naturally occurring nutrients and minerals. This is good for the kefir and you! If you can’t find turbinado, you should easily be able to locate organic sugar in most grocery stores.
*A mesh strainer for sifting your kefir grains in between batches.
*Several well washed bottles with air-tight lids, for the second fermentation. I like to re-use my empty GT’s Kombucha bottles for this. :0)
*water kefir grains. You can pick these up from various sources online, from friends that brew it, or by looking up peeps online that may be willing to share or barter them!
Now like I said, brewing kefir is easy here’s the recipe I’ve been using ~
6 cups of spring or filtered water. If all you have is tap water, you should boil it to reduce the chlorine, then allow it to cool to room temp before using.
6 Tablespoons of turbinado
3-4 tablespoons of keffir grains
Simply dissolve the sugar into the water. I use my vita mix to stir it up (since I use it strain my keifer into and as a giant measuring cup for the water. Multi-tasking like a mama-jama!) Now pour the sugar-water into your jar with the kefir grains and cover with the cloth. Set the jar in a dark cabinet in a warm location if possible. If not it’s cool, kefir has proven to be pretty forgiving of cool conditions. Didn’t I tell you this stuff’s easy? Ridiculously so!
Now sit back and allow the Tibicos to work their magic for 24-48 hours. You’ll begin to notice bubbles rising up from the mass of grains. You will also notice the smell of the sugar water changing to a semi sourish, kinda yeasty smell. It’s aliiiiiive! The 24 hour gap is there because the fermentation will be faster in warm temps and slower in cooler temps.
Lemme hit you up with one of the biggest tips I can give someone who’s just starting to brew either kefir or kombucha. Your first two batches may suck. It may taste/smell a little off from what you’re expecting. This happened to me with both my kombucha and kefir, but the third batch was the charm! I believe, and have read, that this is more a matter of your culture adapting to its new growing situation (water, sugar type, temps etc.) than your skills as a brewer. So don’t sweat it! Just hang in there and be prepared to possibly ditch your first two batches while your culture gets comfy in it’s new home.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, when you notice these changes your kefir is ready to undergo the second fermentation. The second fermentation is where the fun comes in! I mean what’s better than an amazingly healthy probiotic beverage? An effervescent, ridiculously tasty healthy probiotic rich soda! Oh yes! Let’s get fizzy with it.
To get your fizz on, strain your kefir (to save the grains for the next batch) and pour into your seal-able bottles, leaving about an inch or of the bottle empty, to allow for air expansion. And pop the sealed bottles back in the same area you brew in and allow them to work their magic for 24-72 hours. This gap again is all about temp. I usually pop one open after 24 hours to see if it has the amount of fizz I’m looking for. I just pour a lil’ off into a cup and taste, if it’s not quite there I’ll reseal it and set it back. When you hit the carbonation level you want it’s time to move the bottles into your fridge, where the fermentation is halted and your kefir maintains its awesome taste.
Whoa, rewind a bit. You can just bottle it up, get your fizz in there and fridge it, or you can “dooo what I dooo” (in Joel Hodgson’s voice ala MST 3K.) and flavor it first! The possibilities are many, to say the least. Fresh or frozen fruit, spices, concentrated tea and or fruit juice can be added to the bottled kefir and allow it to infuse as it fizzes! I’ve done fresh ginger juice to create a potent kefir ginger-ale. Awesomeness. Frozen fruit comes in pretty handy as well. I pop some frozen fruit into the vita-mix, pour in some of the pre-fermented kefir and blend until smooth. When flavoring the kefir, I like to start out with bottles filled to under 2 inches of the top, that way I have plenty of room to add my flavors and still leave room for the carbonation.
I’ve seen peeps on youtube creating a super-duper ginger ale using a blend of ginseng tea, a hefty dose of ginger and peppermint leaves, to this they add kefir and bottle it up to ferment. Sounds bangin’! Haven’t tried that myself yet, but when I do I’ll let ya know how it goes! You can also try doing a vanilla soda, by adding either vanilla bean pod skins, seeds, powder or pure extract! You can cream it when done by pouring it into a glass with a lil’ nut, seed or coconut mylk! Like I said there MANY ways to go with this stuff and lot’s of fun ways to make your own pimped out fizzy bubbly goodness!
How does kefir stack up to kombucha? Well if you like instant gratification, kefir is ready in only 2-5 days, whereas kombucha takes 14-19 days (from start to bottled bubbly). Kefir doesn’t require boiled and cooled tea, but it does have a higher turn out rate, so it can add up to more total work then ‘bucha. Personally I love ‘em equally, so I’m brewing them both!
Happy brewing adventures my friends and big thanks again to Lucy for sharing the kefir madness! Much love ~ Rory :0)
This entry was posted on May 16, 2011 by Rawdawg Rory. It was filed under how to, Keeping it raw and healthy, recipes, What's Rory up to? and was tagged with búlgaros, beverage, brewing, candida, carbonated drinks, carbonation, culture, cultured foods, depression, digestive health, fermentation, ginger ale, ginger bees, gluten free, health, healthy drink, how to brew water kefir, how to culture water kefir, keefir, kefir, kefir grains, kefir tutorial, kefīrs, kephir, kewra, kombucha, metabolism, probiotics, raw food, rawdawg rory, rawdog rory, recipe, rory reiss, soda alternative, talai, tibicos, tryptophan, water kefir, weight loss, What is water keffir.