It's great for the kids to mush on and play with, but it requires patience. And timing. Because at the end of the 10-day process, you actually create four more starters and start the whole process over again.
So in the end, according to the recipe I got, you have 2 loaves of bread, four starters to make an additional eight loves of bread and 5 unloved, funky plastic gallon-size Ziploc bags.
Which got me to wondering this morning, as I'm frantically mixing the dough and popping in the oven before I left for work: Do the Amish really use plastic bags?
I have a hard time seeing that the Amish, a largely simple culture eschewing the "American" ways of life, would grasp on the time-saver/trash-creator of Ziploc and incorporate it into their breadmaking routine. Is it me, or am I crazy?
In the end, I ended up dumping the four starters' worth because I had no time, no plastic bags on hand. And frankly, the little-known secret of Amish Friendship Bread is that no one wants to hurt your feelings, but they don't want to mess with the 10-day process and the bunny-like reproduction of the starters!
Apparently I'm not the only one thinking this way. I read this morning on Fake Plastic Fish:
You can also "feed" it less on the 10th day and not have so much starter. I
cut it down to 1/4 the recommended amount and have enough for the batch I'm
baking and one starter for next time. I use a glass Pyrex baking dish with a
glass lid. Also if you do an Internet search you can find a lot of other recipes
that use the same starter.
Want to make the bread but don't want to mess with plastic? Learn how Fake Plastic Fish de-bagged the process.