Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fermentation, Amish-style

Friday night, after a rollicking evening with fellow moms (and one too many manango margaritas) I was offered a non-descript bag of mush to take home. I happily agreed, in my inebriated state, barely hearing the instructions being given to me regarding the care of said mush. The next morning, I warily came downstairs to find my kitchen smelling like a distillery and a mysterious, bubbling goo in a Ziploc bag on my counter. Apparently, I'm going to be making Amish Friendship Bread.

This stuff looks more like the Trapper Keeper from South Park than something you're supposed to consume. I've been diligently mushing it a couple times a day, as per the instructions, but get nervous when the bag expands and the yeast starts to develop its own personality. I Googled "amish friendship bread" and read through a multitude of first-hand accounts, Wikipedia entries and warnings (!!) on the subject. This line in particular caught my eye:

"You must release the built-up gas in the container or else it will go BOOM. Trust me, that's a mess you don't want to clean up ..."

I'm torn between calling in a Hazmat team to have the bag removed or waiting to see what happens next ...

Here's how it works. Somebody gives you a bag of goo, and you take care of it like that boiled egg you get in Home Ec as part of the "parenting" unit of the class. You coddle it, feed it, give it a good squishing once in a while. You make sure it lets off some gas every so often or else you've got a toxic time bomb on your hands. On the tenth day, you separate the goo into other bags and pass it on to friends, chain-letter style. Then you take the remainder, add some other stuff to it, bake it, and voilĂ , Amish Friendship Bread.

According to some sources, the recipe has little to no actual connection to the Amish. One entry says the original ingredients of the starter are not known, so you'd best hang on to your own starter if you ever want to make it again. Then in the next entry, it gives detailed instructions on how to make your starter from scratch. There are also very specific rules to follow, like don't use metal bowls or spoons. Or what, it turns into a Gremlin or something?

In the next few days, my mushing will turn to feeding the beast on my counter. Unless I go home tonight and find it has busted out of its ziplocked confines, oozed down the side of the cabinet and is making its way to the fridge, mumbling to itself ... then I'm going to beat it with a metal spoon.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece! Laughing out loud again.....gremlins, ha ha! It reminds me of my chemistry classes.


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