How to make Kefir the easy way!
For your first batch you will need:
- 1 litre coconut water, OR
- 1 litre filtered water and sugar source (fruit juice)
- Starter culture
- 1 bottle starter culture
- Add 1 bottle of starter culture to a glass soft drink bottle. Fill with coconut water, or plain water and fruit juice.
- Screw on the cap and leave sitting in a warn (not hot) place for up to a week.
- Check the kefir by unscrewing the the cap a turn or two. If the kefir is fizzy like a soft drink, it’s ready to drink. If not, screw the cap back on and try again tomorrow.
- Place your kefir in the fridge and enjoy!
For your next batch, you won’t need culture. There will be enough culture around the inside of the bottle. Simply refill the bottle with coconut water/plain water and fruit juice and leave to ferment again in a warm place. Don’t wash the bottle, just refill it. It will usually take less time to ferment than the first batch because the culture is more active now.
It will take up to a week to ferment in winter. Usually only 1 day is enough when the weather is hot.
You will find your kefir “goes off” every so soften. This usually happens because a yeast or something nasty has gotten into the bottle. Your kefir may smell bad, or have big dangling strands on the top of the liquid. When this happens, wash out your bottle with boiling hot water and start again with a fresh culture.
You can make your kefir taste however you like it. We sometimes use ginger juice - it tastes like ginger beer. You can use orange, lemon, cranberry, or whatever you like. You need approx the juice of 1 orange in a 1 litre bottle, but you can add more or less to your taste preferences.
It’s important that your kefir tastes good to you! Some people find they need to add some extra sugar to begin with, or put in a lot more fruit juice. Maybe 1 tbsp of sugar or more in a 1 litre bottle. Kefir will reduce your sugar cravings over time, so add the sugar to begin with. In a few weeks, you’ll be able to reduce it and you won’t notice. Eventually you’ll drink it with no sugar and it will still taste good.
The culture eats sugar, so you always need some form of sugar in your kefir to keep the culture alive. The finished product contains much less sugar than what you put in the bottle. If you allow the kefir to ferment longer, it will become more fizzy and less sweet as the culture consumes more of the sugar.
If you’re going to add sugar, I recommend Rapadura sugar. It’s also called sucanat, panella or evaporated cane juice. It has a really pleasant caramel flavour. This is a much less refined sugar than normal “white” sugar. You can also use coconut sugar, maple syrup and most other natural sweeteners except honey. Honey contains a natural antibiotic which will kill your culture.
I recommend you use real fruit and juice it yourself. You can use bought juices, however they need to have NO additives. Colours, flavours, preservatives etc. will kill your culture. Your water must be filtered because chlorine and other chemicals in town water will kill your culture.
Start with 1 tbsp kefir on your first day. Increase over the next few days up to 1-4 cups per day. Some people find they crave kefir after several days. This is normal. Have as much kefir as you want. The craving usually lasts 1-2 weeks. It’s important to use glass bottles for your kefir. Plastic bottles will deteriorate over time and release bits of plastic into your drink.