Herman's Here!

>> Sunday, 23 May 2010

I was thinking about how I can get my friends involved in all this blogging and cooking that I'm doing. I thought about cooking a basic recipe together and each of us personalising with our own touches (like a Whoopie Pie party..). However, the reality of this is more likely to be drunken girls, gossiping while half-hearted cooking efforts are abandoned in the kitchen...time to think again....

Somewhere, in the recesses of my brain, I recalled a friendship cake recipe. I don't remember what it looked or tasted like but the wonders of google led me to an explanation!

Friendship cake was apparently an Amish tradition, where the cake was shared around the community. There are two elements; a yeasty starter and a more traditional cake mix which is stirred into the yeast mixture over several days.

Anthropologists say that people find meaning from sharing things they have invested their time in. Without getting too deep (this is a food blog after all!!), I think there is quite a lot of truth in that, and I'm happy to encourage it with this recipe! Cearly, I required a recipe, some time and some friends! Luckily, I managed to find all of these and am therefore able to introduce Herman to you!!

Herman is my friendship cake (Herman is the genuine name for this German cake!), made from a starter recipe of flour, milk, sugar and yeast. He had to be left for two days to grow and ferment before I could split him into three and share him with my lovely friends Sarah & Kaye...

I packaged little Herman up, with a wooden spoon (very important!) and his special instructions:

 ...which covered the basics of looking after Herman...
  • Do not put Herman in the fridge, please keep him warm.
  • Put him in a large bowl so that he can grow
  • Do not cover him with a lid, just a clean tea towel so he can breathe.
  • Only stir him with a wooden spoon. Metal stunts his growth!

....as well as the 7 day process to be followed before cooking him...
  • Day 1 – Herman has arrived! Place him in a large mixing bowl and cover him up
  • Day 2 - Leave Herman alone, he needs some ‘space’ (a case of the terrible two’s!)
  • Day 3 – Herman is hungry now! Feed him with self-raising flour (250g/8oz), sugar (125g/4oz) and give him a drink of milk (300mls/ 10 fl oz). Stir and leave him.
  • Day 4 – Say hello, stir and cover (he’s pretty independent now)
  • Day 5 – Say hello, stir and cover (he’s getting ready to leave the nest!)
  • Day 6 – Gosh, Herman has got big! Divide him into 3 and give 2 parts away
  • Day 7 – Herman is small again and sad. Liven him up by adding self-raising
I then organised the handover, and let little Herman loose!!

Now, this is not my recipe, I have never cooked it before and neither have my friends. So, the plan is for us all to follow the instructions and post the results here next week to see whether our Herman's all look the same! They will also have the opportunity to share some of their mix on Day 6 so they can keep Herman going (...an edible chain letter if you will!).

I am a little dubious as to how this yeasty, bubbling concoction will turn out, but it's been fun trying!

If you want to start of a family of Herman's, you can download all of the instructions here (it's a little temperamental, so e-mail at helen@feedahappylife.co.uk if you'd rather I sent directly).

Next week I'll be posting 'Easy Pea -sy" (collection of quick pea recipes) and Marshmallow Mayhem (how to make homemade marshmallows!!)

Hope you like
Helen xx

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