More and more people are searching online on how to make kefir grains from scratch. The process of making kefir grains remains a subject of discussion. This is because there is still contention on where the grains came from and how they can be created without buying them for the store. Actually, the topic of kefir grains remains a mystery that is yet to be solved.
But is it really possible to make kefir grains from scratch? This is a question that is worth a discussing. If you do some research, you will find out that most sources point out that the origin of kefir grains is from the Caucasus Mountains. These grains are quite unusual in that no other cultured drink contains these grains.
While the specifics on the origin of kefir grains is somehow shrouded in mystery, there is one thing that remains clear; kefir grains must be acquired and they can’t be made from scratch. The cultured kefir grains have been handed down from generation to generation (kefir grains are multiplied to make it possible to pass them on to the others).
Over the years, lots of scientific research has been conducted on kefir. Scientists have even tried to use pure cultures to recreate kefir cultures but they haven’t had any success yet. Simply, making kefir grains is not a DIY project. Still, with a few kefir grains, you can multiply it over time and have enough to share. In this sense, you will be making your own kefir grains.
If you want to buy kefir grains, we made two separate articles on the best kefir grains currently available on the market:
6 Best Milk Kefir Grains To Buy
6 Best Water Kefir Grains To Buy
In the following sections, we are going to talk about water kefir grains, how to multiply them and how to convert milk kefir grains to water kefir grains.
If you are interested in the whole process of making milk kefir in detail please visit our article – How To Make Milk Kefir At Home: A Helpful Step By Step Guide.
Multiplying Water Kefir Grains
Making more water kefir grains is not a difficult task as long as you are careful and also if you take good care of them as required. You only need a few water kefir grains, clean water, fruits, and sugar. If you want to speed up the process you can add some minerals to the water.
Water kefir grains are made of microorganisms, they are made with different yeasts and bacteria living in a symbiotic relationship. As mentioned earlier, making kefir grains from scratch is impossible and you will require at least one grain of the microbial blend as a starter. Also to note water kefir grains feed on sugar.
The water kefir grains can be obtained from a friend or bought at a reliable store. While getting it from a friend is the cheapest method, it might not always be the recommended solution. Thing is how did your feed store these grains. Kefir grains have the ability to kill any intruding bacteria or yeast that is not part of the original culture. But still, there are some bacteria that will infiltrate and reduce the effectiveness of the probiotic balance. Kefir made with these grains can even cause side effects.
The most recommended way, therefore, is to buy the grains from a highly reputable store. Most of these stores tend to store their cultures safely and they prevent any contamination from any opportunistic pathogens. I buy my kefir grains on Amazon (link to Amazon where I got mine). Most of the time, the grains will be dried and you will have to rehydrate them once you make the purchase. To make Water Kefir at home I found this Kefir Fermenter with a larger container to serve the purpose particularly well. It is large enough to create enough Water Kefir for a few days and is easy to clean and maintain (link to Amazon reviews).
For the water kefir grains to grow, you need to feed them with sugar. The most suitable sugar to use is unrefined sugar to boost their growth. Unrefined sugar contains several minerals that are absent in refined sugar. You will also need to feed the grains with trace minerals during the fermentation process.
Fruits are also important for water kefir culture. Every time you prepare a new batch of water kefir, add a few slices of lemon. Also ensure that you include some dried fruits such as cranberries, figs, and raisins. You can use different fruits with every preparation.
Water Kefir Grains from Milk Kefir Grains
Is it possible to convert milk kefir grains to water kefir grains? The answer is yes. When starting the process, ensure that the milk kefir grains are activated fully. Before converting the milk kefir grains to water kefir grains, it is important to ensure that grains are rehydrated and fully activated.
The conversion process can be a little bit complicated, it often fails even when all the necessary steps are taken. The grains might be lost in the process thus it is important to set aside some backup grains if you want to try this method again. The grains can’t be converted back to milk kefir grains once the process is complete.
Steps for converting the milk kefir grains to water kefir grains:
- Step 1: Dissolve a ¼ cup of sugar in 1 liter of water.
- Step 2: Put 1/8 teaspoon of unrefined sugar. Next, add active milk kefir grains that have been thoroughly washed and rinsed with the water-sugar solution.
- Step 3: Shake the mixture and then store it at room temperature and allow it to ferment for about four to five days.
- Step 4: After the fermentation period is over, separate the grains from the solution and add them to a new solution of water and sugar. Ferment it at room temperature for 3-4 days.
- Step 5: Repeat the above step and shorten the fermentation time by 12-24 hours with each batch until you are left with a culturing period of 2 days or less.
- At this stage, the grains have been fully changed to water kefir grains. For best results, it is recommended that you continue culturing for one to two days.
Note: These water kefir grains cannot be converted back to milk kefir grains.
Water kefir is quite versatile and because of that, it is recommended that you experiment with various flavors and sweeteners. You can, for instance, try using honey or maple syrup. The choice of the sweeteners is all yours but you must ensure that it is well mixed and dissolved in the water before adding the grains.
Water kefir is a highly nutritious sparkling beverage that is recommended for anyone wishing to experience its numerous benefits. The process of making kefir is simple and you can easily make it at home. The only mystery that revolves around this miracle drink is where the grains originated from and how its first-time users went about creating these grains. While there are many theories about its origin, the most common one is that it was a gift from prophet Mohammed to the people of the Caucasus Mountains. This is where kefir was first made and used.
Today, numerous scientists have tried unveiling the mystery behind the process by which kefir grains are made and there has been no success. It is impossible to make the kefir grains from scratch but you can multiply kefir grains from the already existing grains. The grains multiply and you can store them for a long long time, provided that you take care of them properly. Milk kefir grains can be converted to water kefir grains in a simple process that takes only a few days.
Is it possible to make kefir grains from scratch? The answer to this question is no. There is no proven way in which kefir grains can be made from scratch and the existing ones in stores are usually proprietary blends of bacteria that mimic the original kefir grains.