I'm newer to kefir, been making it just over a year now. I did my experimentation and found a formula that works for me. Since kefir is ready pretty quickly and to process in my routine I prefer to flavor after fermentation. I tried several great recipes adding fruit in with the grains but found I messy, I'm sill digging fig seeds out of my grains!
Below is my formula, I have 2 glass jars ready to change out the grains every 2 days. When I need a break I move the grains to a mixture of water and organic molasses and store in the refrigerator.
Supplies Needed: Basic Fermenting: Flavoring:
Glass vessel to hold at least 1 gallon liquid* 1/3 cup sugar to 8 ounces organic juice &/OR
*If there’s no spout a ladle & funnel is needed 1 gallon water 2 Tbsp Vanilla
White Cotton Flour Sack Towel*
Glass Jars for bottling
Plastic Strainer/Cheesecloth/Nut Milk Bag for straining
*2 of each needed for continuous brewing
Step 1 Prep: Make sure all supplies are clean; glass jars/vessel sterilized, towel washed.
Step 2 Syrup: Make a simple syrup by adding approximately 1 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup sugar in your glass vessel. Once dissolved, add the remaining 3 cups water so you will have 1 gallon total liquid. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature.
Step 3 Kefir: Add kefir grains to the cooled syrup water. Cover with towel, wrapping rubber band around the lid. Store in a draft free place away from anything else that is fermenting or fresh produce. Allow to ferment for 2 days. After 2 days, strain out grains through a plastic strainer, cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.
Step 4 Optional Flavoring: To add fruit flavor in a glass vessel add strained kefir to 8 oz juice or 2 tablespoons vanilla. I've had success flavoring after bottling by adding a few tablespoons of juice or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract straight to the finished bottle. Adding fruit to the bottle gives a nice light fruity flavor as well.
Step 5 Bottling: Bottle the flavored kefir, or plain is very good as well. Fermenting in a drink dispenser makes bottling very easy but ladling juice out and using a funnel to fill the jars works just as well.
NOTES: Fermentation time will vary depending on the weather conditions, taste and adjust time to your liking. Fruit flavoring also varies per taste and can be adjusted as needed. Plain kefir has a great refreshing taste as well.