My shrouded jars are: 1) the gluten-free starter that is aspiring to be sourdough bread; and 2) kefir, a hippie-type food that basically contains the bacteria and yeasts in yogurt. I find myself in a strange new (vaguely alarming) world of stirring and sniffing and waiting. The kefir arrived in several baggies in the mail looking like little curds of cottage cheese in cream. I put them in milk for 24 hours and--AMAZING!--I got a thin yogurt product by today. It looks and tastes (and cooked, on our fish tonight) like a thin yogurt. Yum. So I read about it that you can thin it and use it like buttermilk in pancakes or strain it and make it into cheese or drink it plain OR you can use it as a booster for a sourdough starter.
A sourdough starter, just for those who don't know, is a fermenting dough product that makes its own yeast through the fermenting process. It's harder to do with gluten-free dough, so I read that using a few tablespoons of this yogurt-like kefir can help with the fermentation. We shall see. But it did make great yogurt. And for those who are concerned that the milk product is on the counter, I did put the yogurt in the fridge. What remains on the counter is my new batch. When I go away for the weekend and can't swirl or sniff it I will put it all in the fridge. I am hoping to get to make a decent sourdough loaf of bread before I go away this weekend.
I read an article (Thank you, Aunt Nancy) about gluten and yeast creating an especially bad combo for our gut health, and how back in the day everyone made sourdough bread and it was so much better for you. So, here I go, but it's even harder trying to make it gluten-free. I also feel like adding the kefir stuff just puts me into a whole new camp of weird. But I am loving it!
I will of course post any success or failure on my first sourdough loaf. At least the starter doesn't stink, it smells sourdoughish, and it's been on my counter now for a good four days or so, which would have been long enough for it to go bad. Hopefully this will be more successful than my attempts to make gluten-free beer bread with hard cider.