Kitchen Science: Making Water Kefir

If there's something I can do in the kitchen which makes me feel like a scientist, then I am all over it. If there's something I can consume that will make my digestive system behave itself, then I'm all over it. If I can find something which combines the two? JACKPOT BABY.

Last week I embarked on making water kefir.

Dubious pouty face alert! 

Kefir was something that was suggested I add to my diet a few years ago but at the time the only kind I was aware of was in dairy drinks, and well, that kind of defeated the purpose for me. 

(Backstory: 2011: I was ill each month with symptoms like a urine infection for 6 months, after having my body blasted with antibiotics for half a year and having every blood test known to the medical profession they established that they had *no idea* what was wrong with me. After losing all faith in my GP I went to see a team of nutritionists, they suspected my gut lining was damaged, dairy proteins were leaking through into my body and suggested a dairy elimination diet. It worked and I have barely been near dairy since. Technically, I'm sensitive to Casein, but to make life easier I just say I'm allergic to dairy so people aren't tempted to feed me any of it. Kefir was suggested to replenish my gut bacteria and see if I could sort out my leaky gut lining, but it was very hard to find.) 

Recently whilst browsing Laura's blog for any new recipes involving nut butters / faux salted caramel / anything else that might be a delicious treat, I spotted that she'd had a go with making water kefir. WATER kefir? This exists? I'm interested. 

(If you want a bit more info on Kefir you can read this blog post over at Nourished Kitchen, but essentially it's a fermented drink riddled with beneficial bacteria. When the kefir grains are cultured with sugar water it creates a drink filled with beneficial acids and infusing it with beneficial microorganisms, additional B vitamins as well as food enzymes - or stuff which should make for a happy tummy and therefore a happy Lexi.)

I decided to have a go. I bought my grains (thank you eBay) and followed Laura's instructions. I've had a weird jar loitering around various parts of my kitchen for a good few days, but it's made me feel a bit like a mad scientist, so it's quite fun.

Yep, that's a top made of a juice bag and a hair elastic. Domestic science at it's best.

The sciencey part really kicked in at second fermentation, when you have to put the drained infused water into another jar and something nice to flavour it with  (I used dried apple) and seal it up tight:

Look my my kefir grains, all fat from soaking in sugar water for two days.

This allows carbon dioxide to develop in the drink, making it fizzy! Yeah, take that Soda Stream! Then you stick it in the fridge to stop the fermentation a day later and chill the drink. Once it's chilled - boom and consume!

How is it? Well, the colour improves during the second fermentation, so it looks a little less like a pint of Fosters (not even decent beer, UGH) and it tastes pretty pleasant. It kinda tastes like what Appletiser would if it was flat and with 75% of the sugar removed. Yeah, batch two needed work.


I'm glad I persevered because batch two was entirely more successful. I used a little more sugar, a little more water and added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice as well as more apple for the second fermentation  - and it's delicious! My tummy LOVES it. Happy tummy = happy Lexi. 
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  1. So glad you gave it a try! And most importantly liked it of course ;-) I'm having a break in my kefir brewing adventures for a couple of days before I start up again - oh and I would totally recommend adding some blueberries or cherries to the second fermentation, really tasty :-)

    1. I've put cherries in this week, tastes great and goes super pink! Top tip, thanks.