Dear water kefir friends,
Did it happen to you? Your water kefir smelled weird, was muddy and had some unusual bubbles on top? Did you think your kefir is mouldy? If yes, you learn all you need to know and what you can do about in in this article.
If you already had those symptoms I wrote in the beginning, your water kefir probably has kahm yeast (kahm skin)
How does kahm yeast look like?
What is kahm yeast?
Kahm yeast is as well as kefir a combination of several microorganisms. Those in kahm yeast have the only difference in what they need to grow. Kefir is anaerobe and needs no oxygen (as you know from our article selfmade water kefir). Kahm yeast is aerobe and needs oxygen. If you have kahm yeast inside your drink, white bubbles which a lot of people think is mould, build up on the top. Moreover, the drink gets cloudy and smells musty.
Is kahm yeast unhealthy? Why should I avoid kahm yeast?
Kahm yeast is harmless but could influence the taste and the appearance of your kefir ferment. That’s why these types of microorganisms are not welcome in your water kefir batch.
How do I know it is kahm yeast and not mould?
Mould needs a surface to grow on. Your kombucha scooby has the perfect structure for it. Inside your water kefir it is very difficult for mould to grow because the mould has no surface to grow on. Only kahm yeast can build a bubbly cover you can find on top of your water kefir batch.
Mouldy kombuchaKahm yeast in water kefir batch
Why do I have kahm yeast in my water kefir?
Kahm yeast is able to grow if your ferment has too much oxygen. In this environment those microorganisms feel very well. Your water kefir normaly should grow without or with only a little oxygen. This is where usually the mistake is.
What can I do if my water kefir has kahm yeast?
- Make sure you have only a little bit of oxygen in your batch: If you use a screw top for your water kefir batch you should close it until the first resistance. If you use cling film, make sure to fix it properly with a rubber band to make sure there is only a little oxygen inside the vessel. Or you use one of our fermentation air locks* Make sure that the gas your kefir produces is able to escape.
- Room temperature: Your water kefir should not be placed on a warm area. It is important to keep an eye on your kefirs water temperature. It should not be warmer than 30°C inside
- The choice of ingredients: Many ingredients (as well as dried fruits and sugar) can bring other microorganisms inside your batch on a natural way. Those can influence the kahm yeast to grow. You can buy organic products* and wash the fruits carefully before adding to your kefir to lower the risk of kahm yeast. With the right acidity inside your batch, this factor is nearly unimportant.
- Watch the level of acidity: Kahm yeast is also able to grow if your water kefir drink has not enough acid. The optimum are 2-3 slices of organic citrus. If your water kefir batch already has kahm yeast, you should add 1 extra tsp of citrus juice to increase the acidity in your kefir drink.
- Hygiene: If your water kefir has kahm yeast, it is important to clean up your fermentation vessel carefully with dish soap and rinse your water kefir crystals with lukewarm water. It is important that you don’t have any dish soap rests left inside your vessel.
- Make sure that you only buy strong and healthy looking kefir crystals. Our organic certified kefir crystals you can easily buy online in our shop*
Enjoy your kefir
I hope you can avoid kahm yeast in your kefir batch with those tipps against kahm yeast in your water kefir drink . I am looking forward to your experience about kahm yeast. I would love to see some comments about about it.
I am looking forward to see you again for my next recipes or blog article.
Watch this video and many more regarding Kefir and Kombucha on my Youtube channel…
* This is an Affiliate-Link – Affiliate-Links are sponsored Links