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I've been experimenting with brewing with kefir. Fruit and fruit juice produces a nice tasty result but I would like to use ginger, nutmeg and a lot of cinnamon.

The common answer for using cinnamon is to place a cinnamon stick into the mix. This allows the stick to be easily separated from the kefir grains after brewing (so they can be reused) and does not leave bits in the final product.

However, I do not have any. I do have medicinal quantities of my favourite spices. I looked into muslin bags which are often used to make herbs easy to remove after cooking. Given how fine the powdered spices are, I have no idea if this will work.

Is there any way to infuse the spices into the water without ending up with "gunk" (I am sure there is a better term)?

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    As far as I experimented there is no way. Sadly, this is not an answer because it is really, really hard to prove "no" - the fact I haven't found it does not prove there isn't any I failed to find. I could answer "no" to muslin bags, but not to "any way". Is stick cinnamon prohibitively expensive where you live? – Mołot Jun 19 '17 at 14:37
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    I appreciate your honesty. Stick cinnamon is a bit pricey where I live but also really seriously hard to find. There is a good shop about a one-hour bus ride away. I might look them up sometime. – Matthew Brown aka Lord Matt Jun 19 '17 at 14:40
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    I don't have any experience with water kefir, but I would make sure to double-check when to add ginger. Ginger has some pretty strong anti-microbial properties and might screw up your kefir grains. If you know what you're doing great, but I felt compelled to toss out a warning. – kitukwfyer Jun 19 '17 at 15:54
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    cinnamon is known to affect yeast production in bread ... I don't know how it affects other ferments. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/12166/67 (the link to Cereal Chemistry) – Joe Jun 19 '17 at 16:15
  • @Mołot An answer here doesn't have to be definite proof. You can say "No you can't" and then bring your arguments why you think so. I am sure people will appreciate a list of "X, Y and Z don't work, I tried them all" - even if somebody later comes along and posts a method which does work, those who intended to experiment on their own will find it good that somebody already tried the obvious paths and found them unsuitable. – rumtscho Jun 20 '17 at 17:51
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Since no one else answered, I'll give you what I can.

Disclaimer: I never brewed with kefir grains. I brew beer, ciders, sometimes yogurt, and kefir started from commercial kefir.

I'm a big fan of cinnamon. So what I tried:

  • Filtration bags from brewers store simply fail to keep cinnamon dust in.
  • Filtration bags, extra fine cinnamon dust and gunk glue them so good that you can't really taste cinnamon in the final product.
  • Muslin bags as one of the above, depending on how thick and dense fabric is.
  • Dense metal mesh like the one you use on frying pan - tried to use it in couple of ways but nothing really worked.

Now, what worked? The only thing that worked for me was to first brew without cinnamon, then get my yeast out for reuse, and only then add cinnamon. After a day or two I decanted my brew leaving gunk on the bottom. Sadly this probably won't work for milk kefir. Sure won't work for yogurt, it's too thick. For juice-based drink it might work. It worked for me with ales and ciders fermented with yeast. Note: I needed to pitch fresh yeast with priming sugar to get any carbonation.

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