Friday Morning Bookclub

March 18, 2011

Friendship Bread By Darien Gee

Filed under: Book Recomendations,Friendship Bread — susanbright @ 10:53 am

It has to have been at least 15 years since I received my first bag of Amish Friendship starter batter. Although I don’t even remember who gave it to me, I do remember the mystery batter that came in a ziplock bag with explicit typed step by step directions. I was more than a little skeptical of this bag of unknown ingredients fermenting on my counter, waiting to be “mashed” every day.  Every morning the bag had expanded and looked like it was ready to explode and probably would have had there not been an extra line of hand written instructions to ” let the air out of the bag daily”. On day 6, I even added among of other things, a cup of milk, and still it sat on my counter unrefrigerated! Was I really going to bake, and allow my family to eat the resulting Friendship Bread? Yes! And it was absolutely delicious. In fact I even kept one of the three starter bags (which I was instructed to give away) from each batch and made it over and over every 10 days until I realized that I was out of control. Warning: This stuff is addicting!

At the beginning of Darien Gee’s new book Friendship Bread, It is Julia Evart’s 5-year-old daughter Gracie that finds the bag filled with, as Julia described it: “a substance that reminds her of drywall compound, except it’s much pastier and filled with tiny air bubbles”, along with a china plate with “several slices of what looked like banana bread.”  There also was a sheet of instructions for Amish Friendship Bread, but of course there was no signature and Julia could not even imagine who had put it on her front porch. If not for the urging of Gracie, the bag would have gone right in the trash, after all  Julia  had not been in the mood to bake or do much of anything since the death of her son 6 years earlier.

In this delightful novel. Gee introduces us to the residents of the small town of Avalon, Illinois a town where everyone (well, almost everyone) knows each others life stories and the power of Friendship Bread. At the end of the book Gee has included not only the basic Friendship Bread recipe, but also several variations. The Chocolate Caramel Brownies sound amazing!  I guarantee that after reading this book you will be wanting to bake your own Friendship bread to share with your friends! I am on day 1!

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

1 (.25 ounce) pkg active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

1 cup all- purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 cup milk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand ten minutes.

In a glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine flour and sugar. Mix thoroughly.

Slowly add in milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. This is Day One of the ten-day cycle.

For the next ten days, care for your starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread below!

For Basic Amish Friendship bread recipe: http://www.thehappyzombie.com/pdf/amish.pdf

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3 Comments »

  1. Hi Susan
    Through my married life I have gotten so many friendship bread starters and really have enjoyed making the bread and passing the “starters” along. I usually ran out of people to give the starters to.Now I have the actual way to start the bread.
    We are reading an interesting book about a man who stayed in New Orleans during Katrina. It is called Zeitoun. We just finished Ann Pachett’s Truth and Beauty, which everyone really liked.She will be speaking at Notre Dame Prep this Thursday at 7:00.Cathy

    Comment by Cathy Junkin — March 21, 2011 @ 6:18 am | Reply

  2. Hi Cathy!I will be at Ann Patchett’s talk at Notre Dame Thursday! Her book Truth and Beauty looks like an interesting read. For those who don’t know, Truth and Beauty is a memoir about Ann Patchett’s friendship with Lucy Grealy the author of Autobiography of a Face. Lucy died at the age of 39.

    Comment by susanbright — March 21, 2011 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Susan
    I am so sorry I won’t be at Ann Patchett’s talk on Thursday. I have another commitment. It will be the first one I have missed since they started the series. I was the only book club member who didn’t care for Ann’s memoir about her friend Lucy Grealy. I thought it was a very unflattering portrait of a friend.It was one of our better discussions.Cathy

    Comment by Cathy Junkin — March 21, 2011 @ 4:23 pm | Reply


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