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Making Friendship Bread

A Personal Reflection

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2010 Friendship Bread Starter Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli, licensed to About.com

Friendship Bread Starter

2010 Friendship Bread Starter Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli, licensed to About.com
Friendship Bread - A Blessing or a Curse? - Share Your Opinion

I was minding my own business one day, when a friend handed me a ziplock bag partially filled with a milky beige substance. She said "Here. You can make the best bread with this." Along with the bag came a slightly-crumbled sheet of 8x10-inch paper with faded print on it. It had the day-by-day instructions for making Friendship Bread. At first glance, I couldn't believe that it would take ten days to make two loaves of bread, but since I had "nothing else to do", I figured I'd give it a shot.

The first day was solely devoted to the receipt of the bag of stuff or officially known as the Friendship Bread Starter. There was a little more excitement on Days Two through Five, because I got to shake the bag. I had to do it carefully to keep the contents from spewing in my face or all over the kitchen.

Day Six brought even more excitement. I got to "feed" the starter by adding flour, sugar and milk. Extra shaking and kneading were also done to mix it all together.

Days Seven, Eight and Nine were as about as exciting as Days Two through Four, which basically consisted of the daily shaking of the bag. To add to my entertainment though, I also got to open the bag and release any extra air that built-up in the bag.

With much anticipation, Day Ten finally came. I got to open the bag and pour the contents into a big bowl. I mixed in more flour, sugar and milk. Then, I put a cup of the liquid into each of three bags. These bags, along with a copy of the Friendship Bread making instructions, were to be given to "three friends". I used what was left in the bowl to use with even more ingredients to make the bread I've waited ten days to make. Since it did take so long to make the loaves of bread, I kept one of the "friends" bags as well. I made a second Friendship Bread flavor.

It wasn't until both breads were made and tasted, that I had a major realization. Although, both Friendship Breads tasted very good, they had exactly the same texture as a quick bread. Why would anyone want to make a quick bread that takes ten days to make? What is the appeal? Is it because the starter is shared? Is is because it's "something to do"?
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