Dehydrated Grains- Bringing Them To Life In Pictures

Instructions for Brewing Kefir With Dehydrated Grains

I have seen people say that dehydrated grains are harder to keep alive, or harder to “wake up”. If that is the case, then they most likely were not dehydrated properly. In order to preserve the qualities of the bacteria and yeast, and have them go dormant with out killing them off, they should be dehydrated in a dehydrator with no heat. It’s not that hard to do, but still it needs to be done this way.

If your water kefir grains are properly dehydrated, and you follow the easy instructions for rehydrating them and brewing your first batch of kefir, you will have live active, happy, water kefir grains in as little as 3-4 days.

1 Tablespoon of Dehydrated Grains

Instructions for Rehydrating Dehydrated Water Kefir Grains- 

If you have ordered dehydrated water kefir grains, they will arrive packaged in a ziplock bag and shipped in a padded envelope for a safe journey. When they arrive, if you can not make your kefir immediately, place them in the refrigerator. They should be safe there for several months (up to a year or more). 

#1- Gather your ingredients. 1/4 C of your sugar of choice. Here I have organic brown sugar. Lemon or lime slice. Peeled if it isn’t organic Unsulphured dried fruit. 3 Cups water. Minerals-liquid minerals, pink himilayan salt, a cleaned egg shell piece (any 1 of those will do)…and only needed if you are using distilled water stripped of minerals. Here I am using just a few drops of Concentrace liquid minerals purchased at my local organic “health food” store.

You will also need a glass jar, coffee filter and ring lid or elastic band for cover and wooden or plastic stir stick.

Water Kefir Ingredients

A NOTE ABOUT WATER: If you are using bottled water you absolutely must read the ingredients on the back label. Just because it is called “Spring Water”, that does not mean nothing has been added. Natural spring water will have minerals, and may have a slight amount of naturally occurring fluoride. It should not have any chlorine.

Do NOT use ozonated water. Ozone is added to kill bacteria. See here for reference.

Do NOT use alkaline water (kangen water etc). We add lemon or lime to give the water a slight acidic edge. The act of fermentation increases the acidity of the brew. An alkaline environment will encourage an imbalance of bacterial growth and you could end up with some nasty bacterial contamination! 


#2- Mix all ingredients, except water kefir grains, in the glass jar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Water Kefir Basic Recipe


#3- Add 1 Tablespoon of dehydrated water kefir grains.

Dehydrated Water Kefir Grains- 1 Tablespoon


#4- Cover the jar loosely with a coffee filter, paper towel etc and secure it with an open mason jar ring, or an elastic. This allows gases to escape while keeping out flies and other unwanteds. 

Dehydrated Water Kefir Crystals Rehydration Process

That is all there is to it! Now just put it in a safe place (I use the cupboard over my stove) and wait for the magic to start)


Here is what it looks like 16 hours later. The grains are not just swelling. They are also growing as they begin to eat the sugars. After a long hibernation, your grains are hungry.

 

Dehydrated Kefir Grains Rehydration Day 1


Day #2- The grains have now been in their sugar water for nearly 48 hours. Notice there are a couple of grains starting to dance in the jar. This could start happening at any time in the first 4 days, and is a good sign. It means that the grains are beginning the fermentation process, and creating gases that cause the water kefir grains to float. 

At this point, change the sugar water, and some people will tell you to just leave it alone. Especially if it is warm in your kitchen. I used to recommend leaving it for a few more days but someone reported mold after 5 days, and that’s not good. (revised September 17, 2015)

Day 2 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


Day #3- The grains are a little bigger now and the sugar solution is beginning to lighten. 

Day3 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


Day #4- Your dehydrated grains are fully hydrated now and probably have started to grow in a noticable way. The sugar water solution is quite a bit lighter than when you started. You may also notice tiny bubbles at the top of the liquid, and floating up from the grains on the bottom. You are starting to notice a “beery” fermented kind of smell. 

Day4 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


#5- It is now time to strain the kefir grains and start with your first ferment. Using a non-metal strainer, strain the sugar solution off of the grains. Discard the lemon or lime, and the dried fruit. 

Strain the water kefir grainsYou can discard the liquid, or drink it. At this point it will have started to ferment, but it won’t be a fully fermented water kefir beverage. It will be more like a sugar/water solution with some probiotics in it. Still good for you if you don’t want to waste it! 

Re-hydrated Water Kefir Grains

Now that your dehydrated kefir crystals are fully hydrated, you are now ready to create your first brew of water kefir. It’s time to go over to the water kefir brewing instructions

Here you can purchase dehydrated water kefir grains

Tips- Water Kefir Making

Tips and Troubleshooting:Tips for kefir making

  • If your grains are dehydrated, the process is the same, but discard the first ferment. It may take up to a week to fully hydrate the grains.
  • Water kefir grains will often double in size each week or so. If yours are not, they may still be making wonderful kefir, but something could be perfected. 
  • Do not use water that is chlorinated or fluoridated (Britta filter workswell … or buy spring water) 
  • Use only unsulphured dried fruit such as apricots or raisins. Sulphur is added as a preservative and will kill your grains.
  • Never add anything to your grains that is used to preserve food, or kill bacteria. This means avoid preservatives of any kind. 
  • Do not use honey in place of sugar. Honey is a natural antibiotic and could damage grains.
  • The finished product smells slightly yeasty or beery. If it smells like vinegar or otherwise off, your grains need some rehab. Don't drink kefir water that smells rancid or too sour. 
  • Water Kefir gets very fizzy. A build up of gases could cause bottle explosion. If you are going to keep water kefir longer than a few days, store in bottles designed for brewing. Open your bottles over a sink in case the liquid fizzes up and out of the bottle when opening. 
  • If you ordered live kefir grains and they arrive frozen in the winter, simply allow them to defrost at room temperature, and then follow instructions. 🙂
  • It is not necessary to use organic sugar or fruit in order to make kefir. I use organic ingredients because I prefer to limit chemicals in my foods. 
  • If you are using distilled water, or are boiling your water and letting it cool before use, you may need to add a few drops of minerals, or add a piece of egg shell. I use Concentrace Liquid minerals. If you do add minerals, a few drops will do. Too many minerals is just as bad as not enough. 

See Also: Good Grains Gone Bad for some more tips and specific issues you might encounter when making water kefir.