Recently I was approached at a party by a stranger with a freezer bag filled with an odd substance. He said it was for making bread and he would like to give it to me. Normally I might be a little cautious about accepting plastic bags full of unfamiliar substances but he went on to explain that it was a starter culture to make a kind of sourdough bread.
Why was he giving this to me? The recipe is actually designed so that the ingredients must be multiplied and then the larger mixture divided up so it grows among friends exponentially. Pretty much the culinary equivalent of a chain letter. This recipe didn’t warn me about being struck by lightning if I failed to pass it on, however:
** Do not use any type of metal spoon or bowl for the mixture
** Do not refrigerate the mixture
** As air gets in the bag, let it out. It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment.
DAY 1 – Do nothing
DAY 2 – Mash the bag
DAY 3 – Mash the bag
DAY 4 – Mash the bag
DAY 5 – Mash the bag
DAY 6 – Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk – then mash the bag
DAY 7 – Mash the bag
DAY 8 – Mash the bag
DAY 9 – Mash the bag
DAY 10 – Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk and stir with a non-metal spoon.
Measure out 4 separate 1-cup portions of batter into gallon bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the others to friends with a copy of the recipe. If you keep a bag for yourself, you will be making bread every 10 days. This bread is very good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create the starter. If you should give all of them away, you will have to wait until someone gives you one back. If a starter is not passed on to a friend on the 1st day, be certain to tell them which day the bag is on when you give it to them.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
To one batch of starter add:
1 cup oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant pudding mix (vanilla or another flavor)
Optional: 1 cup raisins, chopped nuts or shredded coconut
Grease 2 large non-metal loaf pans. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with mixture. Pour batter evenly into pans. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top. Bake for one hour. Cool in pans approximately 10 minutes. Turn over onto serving dish.
I’m not really sure why an Amish recipe would as for instant pudding mix but I don’t know any Amish bloggers to ask. The bread turns out to be a sweet, cinnamon cake that’s good for breakfast with coffee or as a dessert.
I like this recipe because not only does it encourage goodwill toward friends and opportunities to make new ones, but it also provides extra incentive toward sharing: the survival of the culture depends on it.
I’ve offered a few of my starters to friends and some local bloggers. Let me know if you’d like your own.