Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread Experiment

So, 10 days ago, Chuck brought home this Ziploc bag filled with goo. It came with a set of instructions and said it was a starter bag of Amish Friendship Bread (AFB). Basically, for the next few days I was suppose to smoosh the goo around once a day and let any air that accumulated out of the bag. Easy enough.

On Day 6, I was told to add 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. This is where I began to get nervous. We all know what happens to milk if it sits out and is not refrigerated. But, you want me to keep it in this Ziploc bag for FOUR DAYS???

Against my better judgement, I went with it. "Think of this as a science experiment."

As the next four days passed, I once again was instructed to smoosh and let air out (which was building up quite often at this point). Every time I would open the bag, the smell of fermentation would hit my senses. I was starting to grow a bit scared.

Finally, the big day arrived. Day 10 is the day you actually bake the bread. The first step was suppose to be adding more sugar, flour, and milk and then making new starter bags. I decided to skip this entire process. I figured one AFB experiment in my lifetime was enough and I didn't really know anyone I wanted to pass the goo on to.

The next step was to pour the goo into a bowl. The instructions clearly said not to use a metal bowl. So, I got out my large ceramic popcorn bowl.

Then came the rest of the ingredients.

I wish you all could have smelled the fumes coming off of this stuff! It was almost enough to get a person drunk.

With all of that completed, I poured the batter into two loaf pans, and into the oven they went. Oh - I should tell you that the instructions said to grease the pans and then dust them with a sugar/cinammon mixture. I should have realized that was a mistake. Do you know what happens when sugar heats up?

So, I take the loaves out of the oven. Visually, they look pretty good. I was still leery. I try to get the first loaf out onto the cooling rack and this is what happens:

It's okay. You can laugh.

I blamed it completely on the sugar mixture making everything stick to the pan. I decided not to attempt to take the second one out of its pan.

As you can see, it's really a quick bread.

Then came time to taste the AFB.

I took a very SMALL bite.

It tasted okay. I thought I could definitely taste the fermented flavor and didn't really want to eat more. It didn't taste bad, but mainly I was scared of getting sick. I mean come on! It sat out on my counter for 10 days!!!!!! With milk in it!!!!!!

(I have to throw a little side note in here. Are there any Maurice Sendak fans out there? For those that don't know, he's a children's author and his books are sometimes a bit "out there." We have the book In the Night Kitchen and you will really only understand this part if you've read the book. Owen and I love this story - it's silly and the illustrations are definitely unique. When I added the milk to the starter bag that first time, he and I sang together, "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake and nothing's the matter!" Yeah - guess you had to be there.)

I decided I would let my children be the true test of this AFB experiment. I mean really - I should include my children in this science experiment, right?

I took a little video to show you their reaction to the bread.

*These are not actors. They are my children. Nor are they act-ING. This was their honest to goodness, real time reaction to tasting AFB for the first time.*

The boys ended up eating quite a bit of the bread. So, I guess they thought it was good. I still had my doubts.

A little later I began to feel a bit queasy. My queasiness then turned to indigestion. I started to really worry that it was the AFB (even though I'd only had a SMALL piece). I thought, "If I'm feeling this way and I only ate a little bit, what will happen to the boys???" I began having some very not so pleasant images running through my head.

However, I am happy to say that my tummy problems went away and the boys were totally fine. Phew!

Oh - and I figured out what the problem was with that first loaf of bread. Remember how the instructions said not to use a metal bowl to pour the batter into?? Well....

It never said not to use a metal loaf pan!

I only have two loaf pans - one glass and one metal. The thought never even occurred to me that I shouldn't use the metal one. Oh well. Live and learn. Later that evening I was able to take the other loaf out of the glass pan and it came out perfectly.

But, I'm still not going to eat any.

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