No? You haven’t? Well in that case, would you give me the honour of introducing you?
Hermann, also called Amish Friendship Bread (you find an according Wikipedia entry here), is some sort of a chain letter really. Only without the “if you don’t continue to circulate”-threat. And, you can it him…it.
He (I’ve really come to think of what’s basically sourdough as some sort of pet) had been my faithful companion during uni until I got sick of him and gave him away (how unforgiving) – and now he has returned to me! Much to the disgust of Mr A, mind you, who more than once needed to point out how many different people will have handled him in the meantime. Something also Lizzie Enfield from The Guardian mentioned over a year ago (last two paragraphs) – in a completely different way, though. I’m very much with you on this, Lizzie.
So, here is how it works: you get the dough from a friend or colleague (I received mine from my lovely colleague at work) and it comes with instructions on what you do with it. I learned there are 2 different versions: one called Vatican bread, which you may eat only once (you give 3 parts of it away) and Amish friendship bread, of which you always keep one part.
You keep it in some sort of tupperware container and basically follow the instructions for 10 days – one day Hermann will need to rest, then he will want to be stirred, then you will need to add flour, sugar and milk (and stir) and so on. Hermann also likes it warm, so you’re not supposed to put him in the fridge (you can, however, to slow the fermentation). After 10 days, you make 4 separate parts: one to keep nurturing, two to give away and one to bake – and eat.
I love it with a dash of cinnamon and a handful of chopped walnuts. If you wrap the baked bread in aluminium foil, it will last for days. I like a big slice with cranberry jam. Since I only baked one yesterday, it’s still all lovely and moist and will make a great dessert at the office. Maybe I’ll bring the whole loaf?
So, this is Hermann. What do you think? Would you like some for yourself when my next ones are due?