We just love Water kefir: yummy, healthy, and fairly easy to make. For years I used water kefir grains for making Water Kefir. I did not know how to make water kefir with milk kefir grains. Well, why is to know that important? It’s not if all you want is water kefir, go ahead and get some, make it, and enjoy it. But I also make milk kefir on a regular basis for my quark cheese making. Milk kefir grains grow much faster than water kefir grains and soon there are a lot more grains than we can use. To deal with all the milk kefir grains can be overwhelming, in fact that’s a reason why in the past I regularly gave up on making milk kefir. Then I learned that you can make water kefir with milk kefir grains, and here is how:
If conditions are good, milk kefir grains can double in just a week. Divide them and rinse thoroughly. I just use regular tap water. Once clean, add them to a clean jar with double amount of sugar. We usually have 1/3 cup grains and add 1/3 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar. You can use whatever sugar you want. We like the taste and colour with half white half brown. Add 6-7 cups of water, stir, and let it ferment for about 3 days til you like the taste of it. The grains can be used up to 3 times. They will not grow in sugar water. After that, we just trow them away since we already got new ones from the milk kefir. But they can be added back to milk and they will start growing again.
Water kefir made this way can also have a second fermentation with some fruit, ginger, or lemon, just like regular water kefir. The taste is similar to the real water kefir, however I find it smells more pleasant. So for us it is a win win.
If you need kefir starters or generally more info on kefir, Cultures for Health has everything you would want :).
Do you like kefir? Milk or water or both?
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Kristen from The Road to Domestication says
Goodness, I’ve never even heard of Kefir! What is it? Is it cheese?
It is a fermented drink, very healthy! Sometimes you can buy the drink in health food stores, or make your own.
Shirley Wood says
I had never heard of Kefir water either. Of course, I quickly googled it 🙂 Good post on how to make it! I’m not certain I would like the taste but how would I know, I’ve never tried it 😉 I am willing to taste it at least once before I pass an opinion though.
Yes, you should try it, it is good for you. Milk kefir has a lot more friendly bacteria then any yogurt.
Amanda Smith says
I’ve never tried this. What does it taste like?
Hard to describe, maybe a little like apple cider vinegar, but less tangy.
This is good to know. I have milk kefir grains but wanted to try water. I’ll try this once our milk grains are back in production when milking season comes along.
Hope you like it. I do not think I will ever go back to real water kefir grains.
I bought both water and milk kefir, and was excited to try the water kefir as many people related it to soda. I couldn’t bring my self to try it; the smell was off. The chickens eat it right up though. Now milk kefir is my favorite! I no longer make yogurt. Everyday I have a blueberry kefir smoothie sweetened w/ maple syrup. It is similar to plain yogurt in taste and smell. I grow mine on top of the fridge. Even in the winter it does well. I guess I will try water kefir out of milk kefir grains. Maybe it will be better( I probably did something wrong with the first water kefir.)
Water kefir does have a strong smell. You can get used to it, but I too prefer to make it out of milk kefir grains. The taste is very similar, but the smell is much more pleasant. Hope you like it.
Kefir on My Face says
Water kefir can smell strange for various reasons. Different sugars and minerals can cause strong smells. A lot of people have noticed really strong vomit smells when using coconut sugar and I have noticed a difference between using dehydrated cane juice vs sucanat (sucanat makes it smell much stronger).
If you have high mineral content water too that can cause smells. Luckily despite the water kefir smelling odd every now and then as I experiment with different sugars and mineals, it has always tasted good. So I would not give up!
Happy momma says
Thanks for the post. I think I will try to make both water and milk kefir at our house. I have enjoyed the milk kefir but I can’t enjoy it daily. I have an intolerance to milk. When I consume too much dairy my hands get all rashy. 2-3 times a week is all I really dare consume the milk. My son and I both would do better with the water kefir. This will be a fun experiment for all of us.
Maybe in your case the real water kefir grains would work even better. But sure, try it and see.
for the second fermentation after you add the flavoring, do you leave it on the counter at room temp or do you move it to the fridge? how long to do you the second fermentation? thanks
It is up to you. If you leave it at room temperature it will ferment more and get stronger in taste, if you move it to the fridge it will just take some of the taste you add. I like the fridge method with some ginger.
Ingrid J says
I have been making milk kefir for a couple of months now, and I am enjoying it. While researching if using milk kefir grains for water kefir was even possible, I came across this post. I am in the middle of trying it. Today is day 1.5 of the sugar water hanging out with a 1/4 cup of the milk kefir grains. If I had read all the comments then, I probably would have used plain brown sugar, but I used coconut sugar. I can smell a slight fermenty smell as of this morning. I hope I like the resulting product. I will be adding sliced ginger. How much do you recommend adding to a quart of water kefir? I am looking forward to tasting it and using all those prolific milk kefir grains to try other flavors.