Thursday, January 12, 2012


Friendship cakes

I recently have been experimenting with a friendship cake mixture (sometimes called a Herman Cake by our American friends). This is basically a yeasty sponge starter that you can use for baking. As it reproduces itself, you can make it ad infinitum and pass it on to friends (hence the name). The usual thing to do is 1 cup to 2 friends, keep a cup for a new batch and make a cake with the rest.
I have a confession to make - we are not big cake eaters. So the idea of making cakes every week with the mixture was in fact an oversight on my part. But I have found another use. It makes fantastic sweet bread doughs, for brioches and fruit breads, of which we eat quite a lot.
So how do you do it?
The starter is this:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teas baker's yeast

Mix that in a small bowl, cover loosely with a tea towel or plate and stir daily with a wooden spoon. About every 5 days, feed it with some more of the same mixture (Usually once you feed it twice, you can start giving it away) and occasionally make something with it! At the moment I am feeding it about twice a week with 2 spoonfuls of flour+sugar+milk and it is going great guns.

For great wholegrain raisin bread, this is what I did:
In the bread machine, on dough cycle, I put:
250ml water - 400g mix of strong flour and multi-grain flour - 1 teas salt - 2 teas sugar - 1 dessertspoon powedered milk - 1 teas mixed spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) - 1 teas active yeast - 2 heaped tablespoons of the friendship cake starter.
Once the dough was well under way in went 1/2 cup of sultanas.
Now I don't like the bread cooked in the machine, I prefer just making dough with it. You can leave it on bread cycle if you prefer.
So afetr the dough was risen once, I removed it, folded it over a couple of times and put it in a long loaf tin, and left it to rise again for about 1 hour. It rises wonderfully with the starter mix. I baked it for 25-30 mins at about 180-200deg C.
It made a tender, beautifully risen loaf with just the right amount of sugar and it has kept for 3 or 4 days in a plastic bag.
happy baking!

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]