Busy, busy, baking! My friends Mark and Mary Michelle gifted me with a bag of Friendship Bread starter dough. Cool! I thought! I love this stuff!
Amish Friendship Bread is the equivalent of a chain letter, but you can eat it. It starts with someone offering you a bag of starter dough and a list of instructions. Inside the bag of gew are active yeasts yearning to become real loaves of bread.
After ten days of saying encouraging words to my dough, smashing and tickling the bag, the dough doubled in size. By baking day, the happy dough multiplied to four more bags of starter dough and two wonderful loaves of sweet cinnamon-tasting bread. Yum! Bill and I dove into one loaf, and the other loaf became a friend's birthday gift.
And what became of the gewy siblings? Bill successfully gave one away. I couldn't wait to offer a bag to friends. I brought it to work.
"O" looked at the dough, then looked at my smiling face, looked at the dough again; looked at the list of instructions, then looked at me (my smile fading), and then very politely declined the offer. I went to another co-worker's office who recently shared her delicious plum and fig cake. Just as I stepped through the door, she caught sight of my dough and said, "Please don't give that to me." She explained that her mother-in-law just gave her a starter dough and that she wasn't up to the task of another batch. Understandable. I returned to my desk, and when J visited for his morning rounds, I happily offered him the bag of dough.
J: "What the heck is that?!"
Me: "It's Friendship Bread dough. It's delicious. You'll love it! But you need to take care of it for ten days."
J: "You mean it's living?"
Me: "Yeah, it's yeast."
J: "You bring bags of yeast to work?"
Me: "It's suppose to be shared."
J: "Uh. . . thanks, but I don't know. It's alive."
Finally, I called D. D is a mega busy mother of a very cute baby boy, who recently returned to work, sees struggling students, and still has time for ten million other extra-curricular activities with local moms.
Me: "Hey D. I know you're very busy, and you don't have much time, but I've got some starter dough I'd like to share with you. Would you be interested in adopting it? It's a delicious bread. It takes ten days to care for it. . . BUT you don't need to give it that much attention if you don't want to. It mostly sits there until you're ready to bake. I mean, it's not that much of a hassel to take care of, you know? It's really rewarding. The ingredients are pretty basic. You won't have to buy anything extra or exotic ingredients to make it. I think you'll love it. It makes your kitchen smell . . . ."
D: (interrupting) "Sounds good. When can you drop it off?"
As for the other two bags at home, I decided to keep them. I skipped the instructions for day 6 (that step would have continued the ten day baking cycle). On the tenth day, I stayed up late baking. It cut into drawing time and other chores, but it had to be done. The bags of dough finally reached the bread state-- although, some of them were cake shaped-- a result of not owning enough bread pans. My kitchen is finally friendship bread free. I'm taking a break from baking. For now . . .