Please…I didn’t ask for your friendship (bread)

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was recently given two bags of Amish Friendship Bread starter.  The fact I was given two bags should have been the big tip-off.  Along with the two bags of starter was a page of instructions.  Ten days worth of instructions.  This should have been a further tip-off.

I am a bread maker.  Bread making is my avocation.  Several days a week I make bread – all kinds of bread – breads made with sour dough starter; breads made by using a poolish; breads made by using a biga.  I was game to try this Friendship starter which was new to me.  The idea is to make the bread and give it to your friends, together with a bag of starter.

Days 1 through 5

I was required only to “mush” the bags.

Day 6

The bags of starter have been taking up space on my counter top as the first line of the instructions reads, “Do not refrigerate.”  Today I am instructed to add to each bag:

1 cup of flour

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of milk.

I think, “1 cup of sugar?  This recipe must make several loaves. ” Further down the instructions I read that each bag will make two loaves.  Okay.  Still seems like a lot of sugar.

Days 6 through 9

Occasionally glance at the bags and wonder what’s going on in there.

Day 10…

Finally.  I can now make the bread.  But not before I am instructed to add:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of sugar (more sugar!)

1 1/2 cups of milk

Next… I  label four large Ziploc bags with “Day One” and the date.  I put one cup of starter in each of the four bags.  These are the bags I am to give to my nearest and dearest  friends.

But I am not finished yet.  I add to the remaining starter: 3 eggs, 1 cup of oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 1/2 cups of flour. I grease the loaf pans as instructed and dust the inside of the pans with, you guessed it –  MORE SUGAR – 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon saving the sugar that does not cling for dusting the tops. I pour the batter into the pans and sprinkle on the sugar.  Bake for one hour at 325.

Exhausted from ten days of minding the starter, I gather my husband and our guest from Germany to enjoy this Friendship Bread – this bread that has taken a full ten days to make.  I will bet that it is pretty fabulous after all, it has taken ten days!.  My first impression on observing the bread is that it looks not like a yeasted or sourdough bread but, rather, it looks like a “loaf.”  A simple loaf like, say, zucchini loaf. The  1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon has fallen off the cake and is lying on the stove top.  Ah, but the proof will be in the eating.  I cut three slices,  serve them  and eagerly look for expressions of pure joy on the faces of my companions.  Expressions that say, “This is the best bread I have ever eaten.”  or  “I can now die peacefully for I have tasted of the best bread in the whole, wide world.”  My husband slowly opens his mouth and states, “Well, this is disappointing.”  I am indignant. How can this be?  I take a taste and look for words to express what I am, at that moment, feeling.  The words “really ordinary” and “borders on boring” spring to my quivering cake crumbed lips.  Ten days! And this is what you get. I think I fainted from the sheer exhaustion brought on by ten days of Friendship bread.

Friendship Bread. At last!

When I regained consciousness, I was reminded that I had been given not one but TWO bags of starter.  Not wanting to throw it out, I thought surely there must be something else to make with all this starter.  Well…there is but take it from me – don’t bother.   Even our dog, who has an iron stomach and iron will, turned up her not very refined nose.

There is really nothing more I can say.   Except, that if you really value me as a  friend, you will never, ever give me the Friendship Bread starter again.  I just don’t have ten days to waste.  And to show you that I value your friendship very much, I have thrown the four Ziplock bags full of starter labeled “Day One” in the garbage.

  1. Samantha says:

    My recipe also calls for a box of instant pudding to be added at in the final mix before baking. PUDDING! Who ever thought of that? I made mine with half the sugar, whole wheat flour and NO pudding. It was tasty, but I have to agree, way too much work (or rather wait) for the final results. Stick with the real thing!

  2. Noah says:

    Wow. Ouch.

    That was a lot of sugar. I suppose that if you want to grow super yeast who don’t make the bread taste good that would work… I dunno, it seems odd. What happened to equal parts water and flour and nothing esle?

    I will now know to avoid this stuff like the plague.

  3. Irene says:

    Chain letter bread, I feel forewarned. Such an entertaining post I just read it to my partner.

  4. Rae says:

    i made this many years ago; my recipe called for a box of instant vanilla pudding before the final baking, i waited until the loaf was done, brushed with melted butter then sprinkled with sugar/cinnamon mixture. i thought was tasty. i have also made confection’s sugar icing drizzle and put over it, very good; i am going to check my recipe to see if it otherwise had been the same as this one. \

  5. now that was howlingly funny thanks for sharing.

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