Reub's journey

03 January 2011

The Amish friendship curse

Over the holidays John was given a ziploc baggie full of sourdough starter for that chain-letter-of-baking, Amish Friendship Bread. A few years ago this made the rounds of my workplace, spreading like a virus, before disappearing completely. I was surprised to see it coming at us again, this time from John's side; I thought of it as though it were a new sort of pet, to be nourished and "mushed" twice a day. Oh no.

It turns out that Amish Friendship Bread is a delectable little curse. After 10 days we baked two loaves of fragrant cinnamon-y bread, quickly shared by our house full of guests. 

However, our attempts to carry on the sourdough starter have since failed and tonight I declared it officially expired. The ziploc baggie hung flaccid and smelled like bad bourbon.

I feel a little guilty. It was a sweet gift, and with a wholesome name like "Amish Friendship Bread" how could I fail to count the days until it needed feeding, how could I not exercise it twice daily, like I do for Ed and Reub? Wondering if I could bring it back to life, I consulted Google and lo and behold there were 91,700 results in just .17 seconds for "Amish Friendship Bread." Although I cannot bring it back to life, I did learn a thing or two:

1. It is not Amish. (Disappointing!)
2. You don't have to wait 10 days to use it. (Aha! This also means you don't have to divide it and give it to  people who may not want it.)
3. The starter is not a secret. You just need yeast, flour, water, sugar, and milk. 

I can start the cycle over again any time I please, and I no longer feel guilty. However, who will I share it with...hmmm?


  1. I did this back in my youth. Too busy these days for such a project. Just plain old bread baking is sufficient for me.

  2. NOT ME! DO NOT SEND IT TO ME!!!! i have never ever managed to get it to the baking point, let alone pass it along, and i managed to kill some sourdough that supposedly had been passed along since the Oregon Trail days...what a burden! oh the guilt! (i'm glad you got something tasty out of it though!)

  3. I love sourdough bread, don't know about Amish though, with cinnamon?

    Everything that other people give me that involves work and effort for no particular reason other than these people decreeing so, I return with a sweet smile.

    "You do these things so much better than me"
    in a firm tone of voice usually helps too.

  4. I have been cursed with that bread a few times too. Last time I had it, we go sick of it right away. But I did not know the little secrets you revealed. To think I didn't have to wait 10 days.


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