Darien Gee: Friendship Bread

Just like the smell of fresh-baked bread, Darien Gee‘s Friendship Bread (Balllantine 2011) is all aglow with warm feelings and comfort. There is plenty of healing, hugging, and forgiveness that spreads with the growing numbers of bags of starter. If you ever wondered about the healing power of food – this book is all about maximizing it.

The Friendship Bread of the title is Amish Friendship Bread (which may or may not be Amish)- a kind of sour dough started used to make a variety of cake-y sweet bread. Its first appearance in the book gives away a bit of the bread’s healing power in the small town of Avalon:

It’s not banana bread or like anything Julia’s ever tasted before. It’s moist and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. It hits the spot, as unexpected kindness always does, and soon there is only one slice left. (p. 112)

But the plate of bread comes with a bag of starter that is ready in ten days. After ten days of tending the starter, it is not just enough to make one more loaf of bread – it is enough to give away to others. That’s the key: finding other people who need and want the gift of friendship bread.

The story will make you hungry for warm bread. It doesn’t come with a loaf, but you can use the recipe at the back of the book to make your own starter and share it and the novel with your friends.

RECIPE Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Ingredients:

1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110 F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk

Directions
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand ten minutes.
2. In a glass, plastic, or ceramic container, combine flour and sugar, Mix thoroughly.
3. Slowly add in milk and dissolve yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. This is Day One of the ten-day cycle.
4. For the next ten days, car for your starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread.

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