Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Probiotic in a Bottle: Water Kefir Soda

The long awaited Water Kefir Soda recipe . . . I act as if it is my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother’s recipe. 

Not even close.

Why water kefir soda?  It’s healthy.  Think of it as good bacteria in a bottle.  No, that might gross some people out.  I know . . . a drinkable, lactose-free probiotic. 

The Hottie craves it.  My boys love it.  I like it because it is carbonated (being a recovering Diet Coke addict of 6 years now).  Naomi has yet to try it directly. 

New Year 021

What do you need? (Mind you, there are a VARIETY of ways to make this refreshing beverage.)


Stage One Ingredients: 

  • spring water (don’t use tap water, water filtered via reverse osmosis, or carbon filtered water)
  • organic blackstrap molasses
  • dried ginger
  • minerals (Peter Gillham’s or a clean egg shell)
  • organic raisins
  • organic cane sugar or succanat
  • plastic colander (you don’t want your grains to come in contact with metal)
  • mason jar with lid
  • water kefir grains

I’m going to assume you have grains and have followed the directions to hydrate them.  My grains are from Cultures For Health.


Now, my grains are slightly discolored due to the fact that I immerse the grains in a high mineral content solution.  For this reason, I edited the kefir grain photo to resemble what they look like if you use cane sugar.   (OK, use your imagination.)


These squishy sugar eating symbiotically inclined organisms will live indefinitely. You can use them again and again and again . . . and really should be called “friendship grains.”  They are the grain that just keeps on givin’.  If your grains become small, then they are depressed and you need to resuscitate them.  Email me if you are having this problem and we can trouble shoot.

049  A happy, clear grain.

Caveat:  remember who you are getting the recipe from . . . me . . . . Granola Mom . . . who struggles to follow recipes exactly.  Thankfully, water kefir grains are forgiving.


  • Pour approximately 6 cups of spring water into a 1/2 gallon mason jar.  Add about 1 tablespoon of raisins and three pieces of dried candied ginger. 


  • Add a capful of Peter Gillham Minerals (or a CLEAN egg shell -- add the egg shell after you shake the contents in the mason jar—see below.) Kefir grains adore minerals. 


  • Provide additional food for your water kefir grains by including 1/4 to 1/2 cup of succanat (or cane sugar) and one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (optional).  The amount of sugar products I use depends on how much grain I include in the mason jar.  If I only have approximately 2 TBLS of grain then I most likely would only use 1/4 cup of succanat or cane sugar and 3-4 cups of water.   The larger my grain supply the more sugar I use.  (The jar below has a 1/2 cup of sugar and a handful of grains.)


  • Screw lid on and vigorously shake, in an attempt to dissolve most of the sugar.

Note: If you use cane sugar and omit the blackstrap molasses, then your water will look like the below picture.


(By the way, never use honey as it is such a healthy God made food substance that it slowly kills water kefir grains due to its anit-fungal, anti-bacterial properties.)

  • Unscrew lid.  Add grains.  How many?  Good question.  Depends on how much sugar  you already shook up!  Once again, water kefir grains are productive.  They multiply like rabbits.  If my grains are happy – meaning they are full, fat, and fluffy, then I add roughly 1/2 cup of sugar products and a generous handful of grains.  (I think I am slightly repeating myself here.)
  • Put lid back on loosely (or tight if you are an experienced water kefir maker).  If you screw the lid on tight, the carbonation process will begin to happen prematurely. 
  • Allow mason jar and contents to sit on your counter for 1-3 days. 
  • Once the raisins float to the top and you see your water kefir grains bobbing up and down, you know that your grains have completed their task.  (I’ll have to see if the Hottie Hubby will write a blog post regarding what makes the raisins float.)


At this point you can make one of three decisions.

  1. Bottle and put in the refrigerator.
  2. Bottle and carbonate.
  3. Flavor, bottle, and carbonate.

We typically flavor and carbonate.  There are a variety of ways to flavor your probiotic drink. I have chosen the quickest route to flavoring and the taste that receives the highest accolades in our family – flavored and carbonated water kefir soda.

Stage 2 Supplies:


  • colander and bowl


Stage 2 Directions: Flavoring your Water Kefir Soda with Fruit Juice

  • Separate your grains from the fermented liquid


  • Add an almost equal amount of juice to the water kefir liquid.  This really is to taste.  The ratio I use is probably 2:1 (2 parts kefir water to 1 part juice).


  • Bottle.  Be sure to screw the lids on tight.


  • Allow to sit on your counter for 24 hours.  The longer the beverage sits, the more carbonation you will have.  Be careful . . . this beverage has been known to end up on my ceiling!
  • Refrigerate.
  • When you open your chilled bottle for the first time, I would recommend placing a cloth over the bottle top and a bowl underneath.  This way you will prevent soda from soiling your shirt and walls, but also collect the soda that runneth over.


Enjoy!  Leave a comment if you have any questions or if you have another variation! 

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