Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do the Amish really use plastic bags?

Last week at our women's group at church, a member of our group brough in Amish Friendship Bread. For the few people in this world who haven't heard of it, it's a sweet bread that takes a 10-day process of fermenting.

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.


Anonymous said...

I wondered if the Amish truly use the pudding mix I've seen in a recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. It's funny. That post on Amish Friendship Bread gets more hits than any other on my blog, except of course for the home page. It must be a huge fad right now. And the even funnier thing to me is that I almost didn't accept the starter when my co-worker offered it. Ugh. It just seemed like the chain letter of food. Little did I know it would draw so many people to Fake Plastic Fish, many of whom have stayed to find out how else to reduce their plastic waste!

Glad the post was helpful for you!

Oh, and Becky -- I didn't use pudding mix either. My recipe is totally different from what came with the starter... I found it online. I also posted it on Fake Plastic Fish.


Robbie said...

Yes, it does seem like the chain letter of food, now that I think about it!

The idea of your food fermenting for a week or two does seem unappetizing, especially when it's sitting on your counter. But then, we think nothing of downing a beer!

Anonymous said...

Or yogurt, or sour cream, or sourdough bread, or wine, or vinegar...

It's the type of bacteria that make the difference. The wrong type and you have an unappetizing and potentially dangerous mess. The right kind, and you might have found heaven.

Lisa said...

I live near an Amish community and have gone to a store they have and there was tons of plastic. So yup the Amish really do use plastic bags. At least the ones around here (I don't think they are old order but I'm not sure) even shop at wal-mart. (they get rides from other people because my town is pretty far from the Amish town.)