Thursday, April 13, 2006

not feeling friendly about friendship bread

At our latest themed dinner party (which I will blog about soon), Katie presented Cynde and me with gallon zip-loc bags of a yeasty-smelling dough and a recipe for Amish friendship bread, promising that it's really not that much work to take care of the starter and then turn it into delicious bread every 10 days. I dutifully followed the directions, producing one sweet loaf with pecans and one without (Mr. Tart doesn't like nuts in his desserts). I gave half a loaf to an elderly lady I had tea with that day, and had a piece or two every subsequent day myself, but a week later still had half a loaf left, rapidly becoming soggy on top. I toasted a few more slices and then gave up and threw the rest away. A two-person household can't eat two whole loaves of super-sweet bread in a week!

So now the time has come again to bake more friendship bread. I "fed" my four bags of starter with milk, sugar, and flour earlier this week, and today, "Day 10" according to the directions, is when I am supposed to make my two loaves (after setting aside some of the batter to create four new bags of starter). And--oops--I was supposed to give away three of my four bags of starters so that my friends and neighbors can bake bread too. But I didn't, and now I have four bags of vaguely alcoholic mush that must be baked today into eight new loaves!

Anybody want to make friendship bread today? Let me know quick!

Or, failing that, any ideas of what else can be done with this dough, other than the basic loaves or muffins? And are those frighteningly large quantities of sugar absolutely necessary? And, finally, will the Amish get mad at me if I hide the other three bags at the bottom of the trash?


Blogger Lisa B. said...

Word to the wise: Amish Friendship Bread sponge is not a gesture of friendship--it is a passive agressive act of war. Destroy the sponge and get (or start) yourself some regular old sourdough starter. From that, you can make divine bread and pancakes and waffles and things that are worth eating. I'm pretty sure the actual Amish just have sourdough starter.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I managed to foist my three bags of starter off onto unsuspecting fellow public library volunteers after my shift yesterday afternoon--yes! Then I baked cupcakes, using chocolate pudding instead of vanilla (an option presented in the recipe), which was a disappointment: the batter darkened slightly, but the chocolate flavor was very mild. The cupcakes tasted like they couldn't make up their minds whether they wanted to be chocolate or not.

Thanks for the suggestion, Lisa. I'll try the non-Amish starter next time I feel like baking!

9:08 AM  
Blogger lis said...

I think the never-ending bags of starter sound like the perfect beginning for a horror film--sort of like The Blob.

11:05 AM  
Blogger tara said...

I experimented with sourdough starter for a while a couple years ago. It made good bread, yes, but not wildly better than non-sourdough bread I'd made. I started to get lazy about feeding it, and it sort of went past the point of being usable. I felt so guilty when I finally gave up and threw it away. I was a neglectful mother. sigh.

But a co-worker has been telling me about her starter she began from grapes, and I'm intrigued. I'm thinking about starting again, but I know it'll only end in tragedy...

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was some of the best sweet bread I have ever had. I loved it and will continue baking the bread. Much thanks to my neighbor whom gave me a baked loaf of the bread and also the recipe with the starter dough.

8:53 AM  

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