A friend, relative, or neighbour, gives you a little tub of indeterminate goo with instructions to follow for days on end. The goo is actually a sourdough starter for a delicious cake called a German friendship cake. You may wonder what a German Friendship cake, is, sometimes called as Herman the German actually, and where it originates.
The German Friendship cake comes from the Amish Community in America. The Amish originally came from the Anabaptist community in Switzerland. The friendship cake is an adapted recipe, from sourdough bread that the Amish gave to sick and needy neighbours. The Herman recipe is a sourdough cake recipe, which is centuries old.
On receiving the sourdough starter, you need to follow the instructions, which accompany it. You need to put the starter into a large mixing bowl and put it in a safe place, not the ‘fridge, at room temperature, to allow fermentation to occur. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. You then feed and stir the starter for ten days according to the instructions. Counting the day you receive the starter as day 1, follow the instructions, which came with the starter. Stir on the second and third day, feed on the fourth day with milk, sugar and flour. Stir well and cover. Stir on days five, six, seven, and eight, feed on day 9 and then on day 10 divide the starter into four portions, or however many portions your instructions advise. To one portion add the remaining ingredients and bake your cake. The other three starter portions are, one for your next friendship cake and two to give away. Various web pages carry the instructions for dealing with the Herman starter, but you should follow the instructions which came with your starter, where possible. The instructions look far more complicated in writing than they actually are to accomplish.
You can make your own friendship cake starter. Typing “recipe for friendship cake starter” into an internet search engine will yield many recipes. You do not have to use the starter for the cake detailed in the accompanying instructions, you can use it for other recipes for bread, cakes, and scones. There are many interesting suggestion on the internet. There are even whole websites dedicated to the friendship cake with information and recipe suggestions and variations.
Herman is like an edible chain letter, except it is not as irritating or as threatening as many written chain letters. Tending the sourdough starter and mixing the eventual cake is a good way to involve children in the kitchen. Herman provides an elementary cookery, maths and science lesson. Herman also makes an extremely tasty cake that the family will enjoy.