Water Kefir vs. Dairy Kefir
Q. What is the difference between Water Kefir and Milk Kefir?
A. The benefits are similar. Both grains ferment sugar breaking it down into more easily digestible energy while providing beneficial bacteria and beneficial yeast to the digestion system. The main difference is the culturing medium. Vegans and those who are allergic to dairy love Water Kefir. Water Kefir can be flavored in a second fermentation. It can also be used to make Coconut Water Kefir. Because of its water base, generally more Water Kefir can be consumed than Milk Kefir.
Q. How does Kefir compare to yogurt?
A. Overall, commercially available yogurt is much less effective than Kefir. Yogurts may be pasteurized killing all beneficial microbes. Some products contain synthetic stabilizers which make them more difficult to digest. More importantly commercial products have less potent probiotics. Specially, the bacteria and yeast found in commercial yogurt are transient meaning they will not colonize your digestive tract. Kefir contains several major strains of beneficial bacteria not commonly found in yogurt (e.g., Lactobacillus kefyr, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris, and Lactococcus lactis subsp. diacetylactis). Kefir also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir, which can dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by protecting the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming an army that cleans up and strengthens your intestines. The body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.
Q. Can I make Dairy Kefir or Yogurt with my Water Kefir Grains?
A. You can make a drinkable milk kefir by adding 1 ounce of water kefir to any kind of milk (cow, goat, nut, coconut, etc) and allowing it to ferment for about 24hours. Check it periodically and refrigerate when it starts to thicken. You can also strain to afterwards through cheesecloth to give you a more scoop able kefir.
Q. How much sugar is left in the finished Water Kefir?
A. Not much. On average, it is the same amount of sugar as 1 green apple. As the Kefir Grains grow, they convert the sugar (sucrose) into very easy to digest mono-saccharides glucose and fructose. After fermentation approximately 20% of the original sugar will remain in the Kefir. Almost all of that remaining sugar will be fructose. After 48 hour fermentation, 1 quart of water will contain only 1.4% fructose.
Q. I don’t consume any sugar, can I drink Water Kefir?
A. After fermentation, very little sugar remains. If you tolerate Kombucha, you should not have a problem with Water Kefir. You can also try Coconut Water Kefir, which does not contain very much sugar to begin with.
Q. How many calories does Water Kefir contain?
A. That depends on how long it ferments. As time passes Kefir Grains consume more sugar. Generally, the more sour the Water Kefir the fewer calories it contains. If Coconut Water is used the resulting Coconut Water Kefir would contain the least amount of calories as the Coconut Water has less natural sugar to begin with.
Q. Does Water Kefir contain gluten?
A. No, Water Kefir Grains do not contain gluten.
Q. What is the alcohol content in Water Kefir?
A. As with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is present in the finished product. Scientific studies show Water Kefir to contain between 0.038% – 2% alcohol, or 16-38 g/L (grams per liter). With the normal amount being around .08% or less. Shorter fermentation will allow less alcohol production.