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.
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.
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.
#3- Add 1 Tablespoon of dehydrated water kefir grains.
#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.
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.
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 #3- The grains are a little bigger now and the sugar solution is beginning to lighten.
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.
#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.
You 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!
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.