Tuesday, November 30, 2010
What in the world is Water Kefir?
Water Kefir is a cultured/fermented product that can easily be made in one's kitchen. I use it to kickstart the bacterial/yeast activity in my gluten-free sourdough starters. The natural acidity in the water kefir also protects the starter from spoilage. (I had a lot of spoiled starters when I began experimenting with gluten-free sourdough starters, water kefir prevents spoilage)
Water Kefir is loaded with natural probiotics and is used by many people as a tasty tonic to strengthen the digestive system. Examples of other cultured/fermented products are yogurt, milk kefir, cheese, beer, wine and sourdough bread.
Photo, top: Water Kefir Cultures
Photo, middle: Ingredients to make water kefir liquid. (water not shown)
Photo, bottom: Finished water kefir liquid. Notice the raisins are floating due to the natural carbonation!
I use water kefir in my gluten-free breads because I am sensitive to all dairy products and water kefir is free of dairy.
You can order water kefir culture from: Cultures for Health.
They carry an excellent product at an excellent price.
Here is my water kefir recipe:
Water Kefir for Boosted Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
(water kefir is the booster for Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Fermentation time: 2-3 days
2-3 tablespoons Water Kefir grains
2 tablespoons sugar (I find organic dark sugar works the best, but any sugar works)
20 raisins (or a comparable amount of figs or prunes)
1 quart of filtered or spring water
1 slice of lemon
Nearly fill a wide mouth quart jar with water.
Add 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring to dissolve, 20 raisins and a slice of lemon or lime.
Add the water kefir grains to the jar.
Cover with a paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band.
When raisins float to the top, after around 24-48 hours, use a nonmetal tool and scoop the raisins and the lemon slice out and discard.
Ferment the water kefir for 6-12 more hours on the counter with the paper towel.
Then store, covered, in fridge and use as needed.
When you have used the liquid down to about an inch in the jar start a new batch in a new jar, with water, sugar, raisins and lemon. Then pour the water kefir grains plus the remaining small amount of liquid right into the new jar, cover with paper towel or cloth and ferment.
Stays potent in the fridge 2-4 weeks.
Resources: Water Kefir Grains from www.culturesforhealth.com