N Thomas

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since Oct 24, 2015
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Recent posts by N Thomas

Robert Ray wrote:I dehydrate both my milk kefir and water kefir grains.

How do I dehydrate without killing the grains?
Do I need special equipment?
How long do dehydrated grains last?
1 month ago
I have some water kefir that is growing insanely. Every day I get a half cup of new crystals/grains. Usually my milk kefir is weak and water kefir is anemic. No longer: this stuff is going crazy.

I have some questions:
-What do I do with the crystals? I'd like to save them for future use when the water kefir's growth slows.
-Is there a quick way to segregate the crystals from the yogurt-like kefir product? I don't want to be picking out individual crystals, that will take forever.
-What are the best ways to strain them?
-How do I preserve them for long-term use without feeding or refrigerating them?
1 month ago
If your issue is muscle cramps, there are many possible causes beyond an electrolyte deficiency.
Eg, leg cramps can be caused by spinal problems.
You should get an evaluation by a traditional medicine doctor.
If the issue is muscle cramps, that was in certain circumstances in the old days treated by quinine,
However that is no longer recommended due to side effects.
4 months ago

Amy Gardener wrote:Okay, the ingredient list for your bread so far is:

Cassava (aka, tapioca or yuca or manioc or pari)
Baking soda
Fruit (excluding oranges)
Wild yeast
Kefir grains
Olive oil

Please confirm that these are okay.

One question that you didn’t answer: “Can you eat fermented dairy?”
You said that the kefir “will eat brown sugar and milk” so you will have to feed them to keep them alive or keep buying new kefir (that’s a complex culture that includes yeasts and milk eating bacteria https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir
Thinking specifically about the kefir, can you eat what remains after the kefir colony eats the milk? In other words, since you will feed your kefir brown sugar and milk, it will digest those food items and expel some additional delicious ingredients that will greatly improve your bread. Before you answer definitively, consult your doctor! With fermented dairy, you get fermented cheese, and with that you get the puffy amazing bread, pan de yuca.

Hi Amy,
I can't eat fermented dairy. (I occasionally place the kefir grains in cow milk to keep them robust but rinse them in distilled water after to get the dairy off.)
I do feed the kefir grains regularly. The kefir I put in bread is a small sample taken from larger batches.
Doctors being doctors, I expect they will say to play it safe and just not use dairy in any bread I make.
1 year ago

Amy Gardener wrote:Wow, these responses show incredible tenacity! Here's another try.
N Thomas wrote:

I'm using Cassava or Tapioca for flour.

So ingredient 1 is  Cassava or Tapioca (aka: yucca, manioc, pari...)
Like Craig Howard said, baking powder plus acid will produce bubbles.

[I use baking soda in my recipes. I don't use baking powder because I wish to avoid eating aluminum (sodium aluminum sulfate or similar in the ingredients).

You can get your acid from the waste products of yeasts that you have chosen:

I'm using "wild" yeast with a supplement of kefir yeast.

What does your "wild" yeast eat?
[I assume it will eat rice flour. My recipe is based on use of rice flour. I sub in cassava in its place.]
What does your kefir yeast eat?
[It will eat brown sugar and milk and be robust. It can eat coconut milk but it will weaken on that diet.]
Can you eat what those yeasts eat (digest) after they have eaten it? In other words, can you eat fermented fruit (since you said no grains)? Can you eat fermented dairy?
[I can eat fruit fine, excepting oranges.  I can't eat dairy.]
Can you eat baking powder or soda?
[I prefer baking soda only.]
Answer these questions and you will receive one or more fermented bread recipes.

1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:

N Thomas wrote:I'm allergic to almonds and wish to avoid grains including  rice.
So that flour won't work:(

I was not recommending them,

I was trying to show you how they blend their flours and what they said about cassava.

! thought the problem might have something to do with the blend.  That is why I checked with King Arthur's blends.

Though if you know someone who is using the recipe you are using with good results then maybe it just needs more experimenting.

It is my hope that this will get resolved.

Thanks for clarifying. Sorry I misunderstood.
1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:Yesterday I checked King Arthur's flour as they are a very reputable company for flour.  That is where I buy mine.

Ideal for all gluten-free recipes, our carefully tested blend of white rice flour, whole grain brown rice flours, tapioca starch, and potato starch yields baked goods with no grittiness or aftertaste. Non-dairy and non-GMO, our flour (made without xanthan gum) is the choice of gluten-free scratch bakers everywhere.


Their Blend with cassava:

Our blend of almond, cassava, and coconut flours is an equal substitute for conventional all-purpose flour in any non-yeasted recipe. With 4 grams each of protein and fiber per serving, it’s a nutritional powerhouse. It has three simple ingredients: almonds, cassava, and coconut and no preservatives. That’s it! Just the good stuff.


As you can see the cassava blend is recommended for non-yeasted recipes.

So maybe this helps explain what the problem is.

I thought the problem might have something to do with the blend.  That is why I checked with King Arthur's blends.

Though if you know someone who is using the recipe you are using with good results then maybe it just needs more experimenting.

It is my hope that this will get resolved.

I'm allergic to almonds and wish to avoid grains including  rice.
So that flour won't work:(
1 year ago

Anne Miller wrote:I feel there is more information needed in order to give you a good answer.

What kind of flour are you using?  What kind of yeast?  

Why is the dough not rising?

I looked at your topics and found this thread:


I am assuming your questions were not resolved at that time.

It sounds like maybe part of the problem might be the cassava flour.

Are you using a recipe that is specific for that kind of flour?

I'm using Cassava or Tapioca for flour.
I'm using "wild" yeast with a supplement of kefir yeast.
My source recipe calls for using rice flour and coconut flour with some cassava flour as well. That recipe has rice flour, which I'm avoiding and din't work that well in any event.
1 year ago

Dave de Basque wrote:I find it really depends.

I have done a lot of gluten-free baking and experimenting, not because I'm a celiac, but because it's fun, and who needs gluten, anyway?

Usually I find that "quick breads" and muffins and cakes etc, the kind that are leavened with baking soda, powder or egg, do just fine without the gums: xanthan, guar or locust. You don't want those things to be too come out tough or sticky anyway, light and fluffy is normally what you're shooting for. If you try the recipe and they come out crumbly and you dont want them to be, some ground up chia seeds (or even whole) are a great choice. Chia takes a while to work its magic, you want to let the dough sit for at least 15 minutes once you mix it. The chia *really* thickens it up and can make it very sticky if you don't get the amount right, so you may need to experiment a lot. Too little does pretty much nothing. It's a Goldilocks thing, you need to get it just right. And adjust the amount of liquid too.

Keep in mind chia isn't bulletproof. Most thickening agents you might want to substitute for gluten, like say agar agar, lose their thickening powers and their effect at very high temperatures, like the ones you bake at. Chia loses its intense stickiness but still has some effect at baking temperatures.

Another hero, that, like chia, is also really good for you, is psyllium husks. This can work for even bread recipes that are leavened with yeast (and I imagine with sourdough too but I haven't tried). Bread baking is kind of the Paris-Dakar of gluten-free baking because it's so demanding on the dough, what with the elastic texture and kind of impermeability of the little air pockets it needs, and at very high temperatures. Honestly, even using psyllium husks just right (and you do have to do it just right with no cutting corners), bread recipes are still helped out by a little bit of xanthan/guar/locust gum and the addition of some kind of starch, but you can get the psyllium option right and forego the other gloop if you work on it. (Btw if you do use the gums, they say it's often more effective if you mix them, e.g. xanthan and guar instead of just xanthan. Not sure if this is true, just passing it on.)(Btbtw  I also really try to avoid using the starches that gluten-free recipes almost always call for -- who needs the empty carbs? might as well go back to eating gluten! But I must admit they make it easier to get your bread to rise successfully and come out with a good texture. I'm not bothered by constant experimentation, though, so I enjoy the challenge, YMMD.)

The secret to using psyllium husks is grinding them up really, really, really fine -- yes, finer than you got them from the store. I use a cheap coffee grinder and it takes maybe 5-10 seconds. AND you MUST use BOILING water when you add the wet ingredients, and the rest of the wet ingredients should be as warm or hot as possible. Otherwise the magic does not work.

If you're interested in the psyllium husk thing, here is a recipe for "paleo submarine bread" that started me experimenting, and here is another article about all of these ingredients and how they work together that I found pretty interesting.

Have fun!

Edit: PS - Forgot to mention that psyllium husks soak up liquid like nobody's business!! You will need to adjust the amount of liquid in any recipe you are converting to psyllium-hood. In fact, they're so absorbent and binding that you can even use psyllium husks to make kind of burrito-style tortillas out of your whizzed up garden vegetables if you have a dehydrator and peel-off sheets. Just toss your stuff in the blender, psyllium makes it stick together and removes the wateriness, spread it onto sheets, dehydrate, flip and peel off the sheets, dehydrate more, and presto! It doesn't get any healthier. If you have a solar dehydrator and bike-powered blender, it's great for the planet too!

Thanks for your detailed response, here is some additional background:
I'm looking to make sandwich bread.
I'm trying to avoid using seeds (i.e. Chia) because I'm a Paleo eater and seeds are considered inflammatory.

1 year ago