Friendship Bread Part 1: The Starter

Are you looking for a way to spark a friendship or share some good cheer with a neighbor? Friendship Bread might be what you’re looking for. Today we make the starter. Next episode we’ll make the bread.

Making the starter is fairly easy, it just takes patience. After mixing the starter you have to let it sit — unrefrigerated — for 10 days. After that wait, you’ll have four cups of starter mix: one to keep and three to give away. Ideally, the folks you give the starter will follow your instructions and make more starter to give to their friends. You’ve started a baking chain reaction!

The video Friendship Bread Part 2: Cinnamon & Sugar Bread is now available.

Friendship Bread Starter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk (2% or higher)

Mix together and let stand 8 minutes:

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons or one packet of active dry yeast

Here are the instructions that are written on the resealable plastic food storage bag into which all the ingredients have been poured. Let the bag sit on a kitchen counter top for 10 days. Do not refrigerate.

Day 1: Do nothing.

Day 2: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 3: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 4: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 5: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 7: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 8: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 9: Mash the bag. Say a prayer.

Day 10: Follow these directions:

  • Pour the entire bag into a nonmetal bowl.
  • Add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cup milk. Mix well.
  • Measure out equal portions of 1 cup each into 4 1-gallon other resealable plastic bags. Some people will end up with 4-7 portions depending on how active your starter has been, especially if you made your starter from scratch.

Copy these instructions onto three other resealable plastic food storage bags into which you will pour 1 cup each of the mixture on the 10th day. You will keep one bag for yourself and give three bags to friends, families, neighbors or colleagues.

This starter can be used for making sourdough bread, chocolate muffins, zucchini bread, cinnamon and sugar bread, and many more.

Our next video will be Friendship Bread Part II when we will actually bake some bread. Come back for Part II in 10 days!

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All the articles and videos in the Cooking and Spirituality Series can be found here.

Cooking as a spiritual practice

On the video, you can listen to Lucia tell the story of “The Bread Loaf Prayer” by Annelise Gardiner. You can read the story on this website where you can also find a nicely illustrated pdf copy of this story that is available for download.

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