Thursday, April 17, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

I don't know if you are familiar with Amish Friendship Bread, but if you aren't now, you soon will be. Someone, somewhere, will come up to you with a recipe, a baggie and if you are lucky, a sample of the finished product.

I would like to begin by saying that "bread" is a misnomer. It's cake - a wonderful, calorie-laden delight! I also don't believe it truly comes from the Amish. When was the last time an Amish woman used instant pudding mix? It will come to you in a harmless looking container or zip-loc baggie, in a form called "starter batter". It's a yeast-based batter, and you will be following directions for a 10-day cycle. The baggie form is a lot of fun. You are required to squish the bag every day. Cool! On day 6 of the 10 day process, you will add ingredients to make an even bigger starter batter. On day ten, you add more ingredients and then put 1 cup of starter into each of 4 gallon-sized ziploc baggies. With the remaining batter, you will make your own cakes. The 4 baggies of starter are doled out to three friends, with one remaining to bake again in 10 days.

The process becomes interesting when you start handing out bags of batter to your friends. Your true friends will not run from you when they see you coming, baggie in hand. They will smile, accept it graciously, and throw it away when you aren't looking! Somewhere along the line, someone must throw this away. As I see it, if the 3 friends you give starter to will pass on their starters to three friends who will do the same, it multiplies exponentially. Eventually, we've got to have more bags than people in the world! All of us knee-deep in batter! Mixing it with oars in non-metallic swimming pools!

Homeland security must have heard about this batter scheme somewhere along the line - I think that is the reason for the 3 ounce liquid limit on airplanes. The TSA is doing their part to keep friendship bread in check. If you want to transport cake batter across state lines, you need to do it the old fashioned way - by automobile.

I made my first cake with starter received from my sister. I baked the cake with white chocolate pudding mix and chocolate chunks, and decided to bring all 4 bags of starter I had with me to work along with the bait... um, cake. Gave them all away within 2 hours time. Anyone unfortunate enough to poke their head around the corner to say how wonderful the cake was walked away with a baggie. No more starter, you say? Wrong! On Saturday, I'm getting another bag of starter from my sister, who kept two bags for herself on the last baking day, and now has 8 to give away. And the cycle goes on...

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