Water kefir is pleasant and tasty after its first fermentation but when flavored with different fruits and spices it tastes better and it will contain even more nutrients. Flavoring of water kefir takes place during the second fermentation of the water kefir.
So, what exactly is water kefir second fermentation? Water kefir’s second fermentation is a process by which to the brew that has already been fermented is added new sugar or fruits/spices and left to ferment for a second time in a sealed container. This process will add more flavor and carbonation to the water kefir.
During the second fermentation, water kefir undergoes a lot of changes; it becomes tastier, rich in carbon dioxide and some of the undesirable bacteria and yeast are gotten rid of. This flavoring comes with organoleptic and esthetic differences but most important is the benefit of controlling the culture ratio.
Culture ration regulation cannot happen in the first fermentation since it will tamper with symbiosis in the water kefir grains. The water kefir composition should be kept unchanged to prevent any opportunistic yeast or bacteria or any new composition, this can reduce the quality of water kefir.
Water Kefir Second Fermentation: A Simple Guide
Reasons why you should do the second fermentation of water kefir:
Controlling culture ratio requires specific fruit juices to be added to water kefir to increase the microorganism in water kefir. For example, honey cannot be used during the first fermentation since it will kill certain organisms by changing the composition of kefir grains. Honey has an antibacterial characteristic which will weaken the water kefir grains. Some individuals who added honey to water kefir for the second fermentation experienced reduced stomach problems even when they took large quantities of water kefir.
Second fermentation adds a better flavor
Water kefir that has been fermented only once has a soft flavor, it is a little sour and sweet. After the second fermentation, the water kefir has a better taste and tastes just like any tasty soda, it’s not only sweet but more than that. With the first fermentation, there is a small amount of fizz which will fade since the jar needs to be kept open during the first fermentation process. But with the second fermentation, all the bubbles will remain locked in the airtight bottles.
In order to achieve all the awesomeness from the second fermentation, you need to follow the protocol. The temperatures during the second fermentation process must be kept between (18-28) degrees Celsius. The process should take about 24 hours. Airtight bottles are used in order to ensure that the water kefir becomes less sour and more fizz is retained. Move the bottles to the fridge after fermentation to maintain the freshness of water kefir. If the temperatures are lower, the fermentation will need a little bit more time, more than 24 hours. In addition, if high sugar content liquids are used, then more time will be needed to break down the sugars thus allowing the water kefir culture to grow.
Different flavors for the second fermentation of water kefir:
There are several different flavors that are used for the second fermentation. The grapefruit flavor is one of them. Two tablespoons of sugar are added to the fermented water kefir and mixed completely to ensure that the sugar dissolves. The grapefruit is then added and kept in airtight bottles where it is left to ferment for about 24 hours after which it is transferred to the fridge.
With this flavor, there are no rules. Try various ratios, 3/4 cup of grape water on the total amount of the water kefir has been proven to give a stronger taste of grape and enough agents for the second fermentation. In a case where grapes are not sweet enough, then sugar has to be added and this might take longer to ferment.
Berry flavored water kefir
On the total quantity of water kefir add 1/3 of a cup of blended or crushed berries after the first fermentation. Then a tablespoon of lemon juice is added and left to ferment for 24 hours after which it is moved to the fridge.
Ginger Lemon Flavor
You can also create a ginger lemon flavor. Half a cup of lemon juice is squeezed into a gallon of kefir water from first fermentation and a half a cup of grated ginger is added. Honey 1/4 of a cup or sugar is added then left to ferment for 24 hours after which it is strained and kept in the fridge.
For apple juice flavor take the fermented water kefir and add apple juice plus 1 tablespoon full of acacia gum. This is then mixed and left to ferment for about 24 hours.
Coconut water kefir
This is the most used flavor. Coconut water is added to the water kefir after the first fermentation and left to ferment. This flavor cannot be used during the first fermentation since it has antibacterial characteristics that can lead to modification of the culture.
Mango is also a flavor used in kefir’s second fermentation. 2/3 cup of water kefir that has undergone first fermentation is mixed with 1/3 cup of mango juice. It is then kept in a warm environment where it is left to ferment for about 24 hours.
Sea Buckthorn can also be used as a flavor in second kefir fermentation. Adding it to the brew gives an orange color which is wonderful and also delicious. Sea buckthorn aids in boosting immunity and also liver functions. Therefore a combination of its healing properties with the brew containing probiotics will result in the healthiest water kefir soda. 3/4 cup of the brew is added to 1/3 cup of sea buckthorn and left to ferment for 24 hours and after that is then kept in the fridge.
Kiwi is another flavor that can be used for the fermentation. 1/4 cup of kiwi juice is added to fermented soda then left to culture for 24 hours. It is then kept in the fridge and taken within a few days.
Mint is also a flavor for the second fermentation. A bunch of mint leaves is blended, after that to the water kefir is then added 4-6 spoons of sugar. The mixture is then blended and kept in a glass bottle after which it is left to ferment.
Orange blast water kefir
Orange blast water kefir is a flavor that uses flavors from both zest and orange juice. Organic oranges are used. First, the fermented water kefir is added to the juice and the zest. They are the left to ferment for 24 to 48 hours after which they are transferred to the fridge. For a case where the oranges are not sweet, the 2 tablespoons of sugar are added.
After flavoring the kefir you can decide to either leave the flavors or remove them. It’s recommended to remove the flavors if it is going to be stored for more than a week. Fruit flavors may become unappetizing if stored for long. It is more practical to remove any flavors from water kefir before storage.
The second fermentation might look like it is a waste of time but trust me it is worth it since it does some amazing alterations to the taste and adds a better nutritional value.