Water Keifer or I haven't given up on a delicious probiotic beverage!
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Much like growing rhubarb, the journey to produce an enjoyable probiotic beverage has been difficult for me. Why I am not sure. Maybe it has been in the timing, such as waiting too long. Maybe it has been in the process, where I am not certain - due to lack of experience, what I should see or understand is happening.
I started with Kombucha. Things seemed to be progressing, and then what I discovered was that while I could grow a new SCOBY, I was not producing a drink that was enjoyable. Which was the point? I did not want a gallon of anything tasting like it really should be thrown out......
Next, I tried a ginger bug, and while I did get one batch of homemade ginger ale made, on the next batch the bug molded.
And now......finally a success!
What this post is about is Water Keifer. For this project, I am thinking small. Real small as in a quart at a time. Perfect for small families. While I have been gathering information and recipes for this beverage, I wanted to start with simple.
Simple and small.
The grains are easy to work with. They have a faint lemony smell once re-hydrated. I ordered the envelope of grains from Amazon. They arrived and were
The first step is to re-hydrate the grains. This is the easy part, you only need 3 items.....
Water Keifer Grains
4 c water
4-6 T sugar
Combine and let sit 3-4 days. At that point, you may start brewing or place the jar in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Giving you the time needed to complete the next steps. The instructions also indicate that you should not let the grains re-hydrate beyond 5 days.
I remembered that I had grains re-hydrating about day 6, so I drained them and discarded the liquid.
And then we started on making what I hoped would be a drinkable beverage.
Let's start at the beginning or with the base.
Water Keifer Base (first ferment)
1/4 c sugar
4 c water
1 1/2 gallon mason jar with white storage cap
Place water and sugar in the jar, stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add grains, place cap on the jar - but do not tighten. You may also use a cloth over the top if you prefer, the goal is to keep out anything other than water, sugar, and grains.
Tasting update: The Keifer Tea is really good!
Flavoring and Second Ferment
Note, having 2 large jars to work with is very convenient!
Using a fine-mesh strainer, drain the entire contents into a second jar. Set the strainer with the grains aside.
Into the fresh Keifer, you will want to add your flavoring agent, here are a few examples to try:
Vanilla Creme, add 1 T real maple syrup and 2 t vanilla extract.
Ginger ale, add 2 t finely grated fresh ginger.
Lemonade, the juice of one lemon.
Limeade, the juice of one lime.
Mojito, the juice of one lime, and a drop of mint extract (or fresh mint crumbled into the jar).
Grape or Cranberry Fruit-ades, 1/4 c frozen juice concentrate.
Grape Zinger, 1/4 c grape juice concentrate and the juice of one fresh lime.
Combine the flavoring agent with the Water Keifer, cap lightly and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature, this is your second ferment. Chill and enjoy!
Don't let this list limit you, it is only a start!
From here you will want to make another batch of Water Keifer,
Water Keifer Base:
Using another clean jar, add 1/4 c sugar and 4 c water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the grains. Let this new batch ferment, in the same way, 2-5 days, depending on the weather.
From there, strain, flavor, and repeat!
Water Keifer grains multiply, it does not take long before you have more than you need. At this point you may choose to use a portion of grains to make Keifer Iced Tea. Simply make up tea in the strength you prefer it, add sugar and the grains and let it ferment. Very simple! The tea will stain the grains, but it does not hurt then or change how they work. You may also place grains directly into fruit juice and ferment that as well. Just remember to strain the grains out before drinking
I imagine, this comes very easy to so many. I bet they grow rhubarb too.........
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