That was the first thought that came to my mind when my friend gave me this, along with a page of instructions:
“It’s Amish friendship bread!” she chirped. “When you make the batter for the bread, you portion some out and give it to your friends with the recipe for them to make, and so forth!”
I was intrigued though; coworkers in the past had done something similar so this concept wasn’t completely foreign to me. However, letting that bag sit on my table unfridgerated, “burping” it when it fermented and gassed up over the 10 days, was.
Yes, this thing sat on my desk and grew for 10 days. Instructions consisted of “day 1 – mush bag. day 2 – mush bag,” with me adding a cup of flour, sugar, and milk to it midway through, then continuing to let it grow for the remainder of the 10 day period. And grow it did.
I was so scared.
But I pressed (or more appropriately, mushed) on. By the 10th day, I followed the remainder of the instructions, adding the flour, and other miscellaneous ingredients, then scooping 1 cup of batter each into 4 ziploc bags. With the remaining batter left in the bowl, I added the rest of the ingredients the sheet specified.
Then as instructed, I greased two loaf pans and dusted them with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, divided up the batter between the two pans, and sprinkled the top with the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Then into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
It was during those 45 minutes that I became a convert.
The entire upstairs filled with the smell of the brown sugar and cinnamon jiving together in the batter and from the crumble at the top of the loaf. In short, it smelled like mini donuts (one of the greatest creations known to man). Once (or three times), I checked on my buddies in the oven to see how they were doing.
You know what? Didn’t look too bad.
Once the 45 minute mark hit, I took them out and got this:
I was so impressed with how it turned out appearance-wise, but I knew I still had to taste it to pass final inspection.
It was fantastic. It tasted exactly like it smelled: brown sugary, cinnamony, moist, and full of flavor! The dusting of the brown sugar and cinnamon on the pans with the mixture sprinkled on top provided a pretty awesome crust around the moistness of the loaf. Maybe those 10 days fermenting on my table wasn’t the worst idea I originally thought it was.
I dug it so much that I ate almost half a loaf pan to myself, just standing at the stove top picking at it.
So the bread’s been eaten, the batter’s been passed out, and I look forward to seeing how my friends make out with their own little bag of batter.
But more importantly, I learned my lesson: I’ll never doubt the Amish again.