I brewed my first batch of water kefir, and tried it for the first time last night. As planned, I used about 4 ounces of the strained kefir water, mixed with lemon juice and water, over ice. It was good, although it really needed to be diluted, as it was too sweet for me to drink. The flavor was just like fresh lemonade, with a slight yeasty finish. The yeasty-ness was not offputting. It smelled faintly of fresh bread dough after you’ve let it rest and the yeast has done its job.
The rest of yesterday’s batch, after straining, went back into a mason jar, with a small handful of unsulphured, dried cranberries. (I did not add the orange peel because I didn’t have any!) I left it out on the counter, with a tight mason jar lid on overnight – just about 13 hours. This morning, I checked it out. The pressure in the jar was tremendous, and I was glad that I opened it, as it probably would have exploded if left unattended today. There really wasn’t too much fizz, and the cranberries had not imparted any flavor, but had colored the kefir water slightly pink. So, I used about 4 ounces, with lemon juice and water to dilute, over ice. It was pretty good.
I stashed the rest of that kefir water in the fridge, loosely covered with the mason jar lid, to prevent any explosions while I’m away at work today.
The water kefir was way too sweet for me to drink – I found it to be unpalatable (which I why I super-diluted it), and I have to be careful not to take in too many carbohydrates. I googled “water kefir too sweet”, and learned that a number of people find that their water kefir is too sweet after a 48 hour ferment. Suggestions to remedy this concern include (1) fermenting the brew longer – up to 5 days – so the grains can eat the sugar and reduce the water’s sweetness, and (2) using less sugar to start with – some people had success with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
I only put in ¼ cup sugar to the batch I made yesterday. This is less than the 1/3 cup sugar I used in Saturday’s batch. Hopefully it will make a difference in the sweetness of the final product. We will see tomorrow, and I will maybe ratchet it down further. I don’t want to kill my kefir grains. They need to eat, but they clearly don’t need all the sugar I’ve put in their water, as they don’t seem to eat it all before the brew is done. I certainly don’t need or want to eat their sugar!
Also, I am going to add some lemon to Wednesday’s batch. It is supposed to help keep the pH down, which is desirable, and the grains like it. So… the experimentation continues.
I have to say - maybe it is the placebo effect, but I really feel more energized this morning! Maybe its the kefir?