Tips- Water Kefir Making

Kefir Grains Have Grown

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. 

11 thoughts on “Tips- Water Kefir Making”

  1. I’ve been trying to make water kefir for a couple of months now, but I still can’t get it to taste right before or after bottling as it remains very sweet or if anything, vinegary. I’ve been using 1/4c. grains in a quart jar with dechlorinated and defluorinated water, and otherwise experimenting with other ingredients and letting it sit for 48 hours. I’ve alternately used sucanat and white sugar, once tried white sugar with a little molasses, and I’ve added an eggshell, sea salt and baking soda for the minerals as our tap water is very soft. Even now that I’m getting bubbles after 48 hours the water still tastes very sweet and flat, so recently I decreased the sugar by half. When bottling I’ve tried adding nothing, adding dried figs or candied/fresh ginger or just adding a little more sugar, but there was still almost no carbonation and it would taste like vinegar. I’ve had better success with carbonation after adding fruit juice, but it’s still either too sweet or sour to be pleasant to drink. I’ve had great success with fruit juice kefir although I understand that this is hard on the grains. But I have a stockpile now of vinegary water kefir that I hate to dump down the sink but don’t want to drink, and I keep having to make more to keep the grains going. I’ve researched alternative methods and it seems that it works a little differently for different people and different water, but I haven’t zeroed in on that magic recipe for myself. Suggestions?

  2. Hi, Thank you for the list. Hope you can answer my question – I made my first batch of water kefir yesterday, with grains gifted from a friend. I used distilled water so added a few raisins to the sugar water to give some minerals (I read to do this). BUT I have just realised, although they are organic, my raisins have sunflower oil listed as an ingredient. Will this spoil my kefir or the grains or will it be fine to consume and start a new batch with the same grains?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Andrea I need a little more information- how old are the grains? How long have you been using them to make kefir? How much of the culture are you using? Have you recently move, stopped using them and started? Are they growing? Is the liquid fizzy? Anything else you notice?
      Kefir Nurse

  3. Hello, I’m trying to order both the live and dehydrated Kefir and it doesn’t work. Would hate to have to do two separate orders. Can you help? I’m so happy to have found you. I moved and lost my Kefir grains. I’ve been trying to get some and was unsuccesful. Thanks Jo

    1. Hi Jo Click ADD TO CART button to order one of them and then click Continue Shopping button to return to the order page, then click ADD TO CART button for the other. 

      So glad to see you here. 🙂

      Kefir Nurse

  4. I received my kefir grains in the mail yesterday. I put them in the fridge yesterday and then this evening went to make my first patch. The grains smelled vinegar-y. I went ahead with the batch anyway. Will the vinegar smell go away as the grains are fed in the next 24-48 hours?

    1. Hi Patti So glad you got your grains! They will balance out. It may take longer than 24-48 hours though. Follow the instructions you received and be patient with them while they adjust to their new home. 

      Kefir Nurse

    1. Hello Yael: Thanks for your question. 

      When the grains get too big they have less surface area to actually work. They grow more slowly and they ferment more slowly. So I often squish them when I think they need it. 

      I hope this helps! 

      Kefir Nurse

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