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First, JR made sugar water, which is what the kefir grains will feed on while culturing. He measured half a cup of hot water and a quarter cup of organic cane sugar from our starter kit, then added 2.5 cups of cool water. (We recommend dissolving the sugar in the hot water before adding the cool water, but stirring like JR did will get you the same results.)
2. Check the Temperature
Next, JR stuck the stick-on thermometer from the kit onto his jar and checked the temperature of the sugar water to see if it was between 68 and 85 degrees. It was too high for the grains at 87. No problem- since JR started with just 2.5 cups of cool water and our directions give a range of 2.5-3.5 cups, JR just added another cup of water. Another check of the thermometer, and the water was down to 70 - perfect.
3. Add the Grains
Now the best part: JR added the water kefir grains. These guys will re-hydrate, or activate, over the next few days. Some of JR's grains floated, and some sank - it's all normal.
JR used the butter muslin included in the kit to cover the jar. Butter muslin makes a great breathable jar cover that keeps fruit flies and other pests out while letting any gases created by fermentation escape. (Plus, you can use it to make homemade cheese!)
JR found a warm place to keep his jar for the next few days, and that was it - he was done. He'll check back in after 3-4 days to make his first batch of kefir!
How did it go? Did you have everything you needed? Everything I needed was already in the kit, besides the measuring cups, mason jar, and spoon to help dissolve the sugar. It wasn't complicated at all and rather simple. Makes me think "why haven't I already tried to make this?"
What was confusing or difficult? What was easy? I was surprised with how easy it was. For some reason I thought the process would be difficult or have too many steps, causing it to maybe not come out right. Surprisingly, the confusing part for me was using the thermometer strip attached to the mason jar and learning how to read it for the first time.
What are you looking for when you check your culture? I'm not sure what to expect. I'm looking forward to checking on the culture throughout the process to see if I observe any changes. I believe the water color may change a bit and bubbles might start to form. I'm looking forward to adding flavors and trying different ones in the future.