Water kefir grains can reproduce rapidly under the right conditions and with some luck. They will grow anywhere from 5% – 400% within 48 hours.
The growth of water kefir grains is very subjective to the individuals brewing environment, and is not always guaranteed. The lack of growth has no effect on the actual fermentation process.
Happy Gut is located in Canada where we see major temperature fluctuations. We are extra fortunate to have mineral rich spring water as our water source but with that said, we still only see 5% growth in the winter and 400% growth in the summer, with other %’s everywhere in between.
In the winter they diminish growth because of the cool temperatures. They are like little weather vanes and their reproduction often depends on the temperature outside.
If you are just starting on the water kefir adventure, then it is of utmost importance to get them acclimatized to your specific water first and foremost before you start adding anything to the water.
They need at least 3-4 rounds of consistent brewing, consistent warm temps and 48 hours in the first ferment to get used to your specific water, sugar and environment.
It is important to not give up after the first round.
1/4 cup grains
1/4 cup sugar (1 tbsp coconut with remainder cane)
4 cups water
After you are getting good fizz and you got your groove, then take a look at your grains. If they are plumping up and making amazing soda, then leave well enough alone and let them be.
As I mentioned before, large grains are not necessarily the best.
I strongly suggest that you use the sterile Happy Gut kit to make sure that you have guaranteed success. I designed the kit through numerous trials and errors. People who use the Happy Gut DIY kit rarely contact me for support because it works! It’s very difficult to trouble shoot with clients when I don’t know what their variables are.
If you feel like they could use a boost, start by adding a couple of shakes of Himalayan pink salt to your first ferment. See if they plump up a bit more between brews. Do that for a few rounds and if you feel they need something more, skip the salt and try adding a 1/4 tsp of black strap molasses to your first ferment.
Never rinse the grains after they come out of the first ferment. You end up washing all of the new babies that you just grew down the drain. Gently strain the grains and put them back into your fermenting jar.
People try too hard. They add so many things to the water and the grains get confused and out of balance. The water becomes slimy and then you have MUCH bigger problems.