". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friendship Bread Failure

My husband, children and I spent the Fourth of July weekend with several other homeschooling Lutheran families. It was a great, relaxing and fun time and I so appreciate our hosts' hospitality in opening their home to us. When we left at weekend's end, the lady of the house gave me and the other mom in attendance a bag of starter for Amish Friendship Bread (she had been given several bags by a friend at church). Neophyte that I am, I enthusiastically returned home for my first Friendship Bread baking experience.

In case you are unfamiliar with Amish Friendship Bread (you can read more at the link above), it involves a 10-day fermenting process from the day that the starter is received. On Days 1-5 the recipient is simply supposed to "mush the bag"; on Day 6, flour, sugar and milk are added; Days 7-9 require more mushing; and Day 10 calls for separating out new starter to save and/or share before adding the final round of ingredients and baking. I received my starter on Day 6 after the mid-point ingredients had already been added, so all that was left for me was some waiting and mushing and then baking on Day 10.

Well, I am here to state for the record that I am now an official Amish Friendship Bread Failure. Day 10 came and went; then Day 11; then Day 12, and still no bread baked. This morning as I gazed upon my lonely, little neglected bag of starter and pondered the week before me (a week that includes Vacation Bible School, a chess tournament, housecleaning, and mad preparations for an upcoming two-week road trip), I had to come to grips with the reality that Amish Friendship Bread and I were never meant to be--at least not at this time in my life--and it was time to say good-bye. So down the drain it went with--I am sad to say--very little ceremony or fanfare. My only consolation is that I am not the only Starter Killer walking around. (I guess we can just add this to that growing list of things we have in common, Elephant's Child. By the way, I think it's time for you to put that poetic bent to work and write an "Ode to Friendship Bread Starter." Let me know when you're finished and I'll provide free editing. It's the least we can do, don't you think? We'll give the finished product to Melody to make up for our shameful handling of her good faith gift.)


elephantschild said...

If anyone ever gives either of us starter again (and after this, why would they?) we can stash it in the freezer for safe-keeping.. that is, if I can get it from the car to the freezer without an explosion.

Melody, will you still like us? Please?

Michelle said...

Well, I'm just a plant killer... I have managed to keep the friendship bread going since the end of May (huge shock) and I would give you both a starter if you lived nearby! :)

I have altered the directions just a bit, though, I only take two starters out and then I divide the rest of the batter in half and make two recipes of bread. We do one with the vanilla pudding and one with chocolate - YUM!

But... we'll see if I can keep the starter alive as we travel to camp and during camp. (I have a huge fear that I'm going to forget about it! Hopefully my mom can help me remember since we will be invading her house during that time!) I will have to put an end to it by the time school starts though - I don't think I can keep up!

AmusedMomma said...

We killed our friendship bread after one successful batch, which was delicious. But the days 6-10 for the second round came as we were at our state homeschool convention and so down the sink it went. We'll probably start it back up again in the fall when we're baking more as the weather cools.

Jane said...

I killed the most recent Friendship Bread starter I got, but worse, I killed the sourdough starter my pastor gave me!