I was lent this delightful novel at the last Book club with my friends from my work – it is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while now but hadn’t got around to getting my hands on a copy. It turns out Fiona-Friend (an ex-work colleague and current book club member) has been keeping her copy from me. She probably knew I’d skip to the back, get out my apron and get started on the batter.
Apart from enjoying cooking and eating, our family are also huge bookworms. We have two very large bookcase lining our entry hall – one side is chock full of novels, the other chock full of cooking magazines and books. As we run shy of room to store yet more books, we are now a lot more discerning in what books we add to our library. Both the Anster and I concur – Friendship Bread is one that is worth keeping (don’t worry Fiona-Friend, I’ll return your copy!).
Back in the early years of my childhood I remember my mother baking a delicious fruit cake. She had been gifted a starting batter, and continued to bake this cake until one day she decided we were all getting too fat because we were eating too much cake, and so the starter became chook feed. But I never forget that cake. I am not sure if it was friendship bread but it sounds very similar so it didn’t take much to persuade me to get out the yeast and start mixing.
The instructions are very specific and already I have made a few errors. Firstly, my yeast was seriously out of date but, as Scottish as I am, I didn’t want to chuck it without trying to see if it had a least a little life left in it. Never mind that if it didn’t work, I’d be throwing out 1 cup of flour, sugar & milk as well as the yeast. Secondly, I turned the yeast into the bowl of carefully measured tepid water and merrily stirred it in with a metal spoon. Ooops….. the instructions clearly state to keep metal well away from the starter. Moving right along….today is Day 3. The batter is in a huge ziplock baggy – maybe went a tad overboard on the size required but it seems to be working. I am mashing and releasing the build-up of air each day and my starter looks lovely and bubbly.
Only 7 more days to a baking and then I can share some lovely friendship bread with my family and friends – particularly Fiona-Friend who got me started on this particular path. Other than fond memories of delicious cake, the other thing that got me interested is the versatility of the batter. Just check out the FBK (Friendship Bread Kitchen) for the huge variety of recipes that use the batter. I will be trying the savoury sour dough recipes as well as all the apple variations. I am not sure if I am brave enough to pass on ziplock baggies of the batter though; it seems not everyone appreciates the gesture even if it can bring together the wider community.