Wednesday, 23 November 2011

German Friendship Cake - 'Herman' (gluten free and/or vegan)

The principle of a Herman/Friendship Cake is that you start with a big batch of sourdough/yeast enriched ‘starter’ and you ‘grow’ it for nine days, ‘feeding’ it twice during the nine days.  On the ninth day you split your batch of dough into four portions, you give three away and you keep the fourth part.  You feed a final batch of ingredients to your remaining portion, bake it all up and tuck in.

I like the idea.  It’s an edible chain letter with assertions in the instructions to keep Herman ‘alive’ or he will ‘die’.  Do you get the implied threat in those words?  ‘Do this or you will be guilty of cake murder.’

I don’t want to be guilty of cakeicide (you heard it here first) but when it comes to allergy-friendly Herman, how many Coeliacs or people with allergies do you know who live nearby?  How much are your non-allergic friends going to love you if you:
  1. hand them a tub of yucky stuff (Herman is pretty unattractive in his embryonic form)
  2. tell them they have to leave it festering on the side for 10 days
  3. ‘oh and I almost forgot’ you’ll need some gluten free flour, a packet of egg-replacer, a bit of xanthan gum and some rice milk (preferably calcium-enriched)

So here’s my plan.  Yes, I will give you the quantities to make a huge batch of Herman so that you may split him into four parts and give him away. (Disclaimer: I’m currently growing my second batch of Herman which was an offshoot of the first batch – keep up – and so I don’t know if the gluten free flour will perform for the second time. Update soon...)

But I will also give you the quantities for growing a smaller Herman and then baking the whole thing.  I’ll put the quantities for the small Herman in brackets.  You could even quarter the ingredients and you would still end up with a very large Herman.  Hope that’s clear!  Here goes:

Hold the front page: After making the GF Herman (pictured above) I split the mix again to try and 'grow' another Herman.  It could be that I'm a flake with a weak stomach, but after day four of the second batch, I gave it up and consigned Herman to the deep.  The yeast was no longer doing its thing, it looked revolting and I just couldn't go through with it. 'Hi, my name is Pig and I'm guilty of gluten free, egg free Cakeicide...'

Guten Tag, mein name is Herman.  I am a sour dough cake and I'm supposed to live on the worktop for 10 days without a lid.  You cannot put me in a fridge or I will die!  Mein Gott! Und andere bedeutungslose zufällige Wörter in Deutsch!  Do not let me stop bubbling or I will die!

For the starter dough:
460g (230g) Gluten and wheat free Doves Farm S.R. flour
500ml (250ml) rice milk
240g (120g) sugar
90ml (45ml) warm water
2½ (1¼ tbsps) tbsps dried yeast

Day 1:  Put the warm water into a small bowl and sprinkle over the dried yeast.  Leave for about 10 minutes
Measure the remaining ingredients into a VERY large bowl -bigger than a KitchenAid bowl if possible- and stir.  I used a KitchenAid bowl for my starter dough and on about Day 4 the whole lot grew out of the bowl.  Nice.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel

Day 2: Stir well

Day 3: Stir well

Day 4: Herman is hungry! (Look, just go with it; we have to pretend he’s a real person.) ‘Feed’ him the following ingredients, stir well and cover

115g (60g) Doves Farm plain gluten free and wheat free flour
225g (115g) sugar
200ml (100ml) rice milk

Day 5:  Stir well

Day 6:  Stir well

Day 7: Stir well

Day 8: Stir well

Day 9: Herman is hungry again.  Add the same ingredients as on day four.  Divide the mixture into four portions ( I did this by ladling Herman into four different bowls) and give 3 away with instructions.  Or if you have the mettle to brave another Herman, keep a portion to start another cake.  Herman number four stays with you and tomorrow you will bake him.

Day 10: Herman is ravenous, he is falling through his laceholes.  Stir well and add the following:

225g (115g) sugar
225g(115g) Doves Farm plain gluten free and wheat free flour
2 (1) heaped tsps of Orgran ‘no egg’ egg replacer
¼ (⅛) tsp xanthan gum
4-5 tbsps (2-3) rice milk
2 (1) heaped tsps of cinnamon
2 (1)  heaped tsps of gluten free baking powder
½ (¼) tsp salt
2 (1) apples, peeled, cored and diced
150g (75g)  sultanas/raisins/cranberries
approximately 100-200ml (50-100ml) rice milk; enough to make a workable mix rather than a stiff, gluey dough
  • Heat the oven to 170-180˚celsius
  • Add all the ingredients to the bowl - add the rice milk gradually - and place into a large rectangular tin (like a brownie tin).  If you have too much you can put it into a round sandwich cake tin, or other small tin
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes until it is cooked through.  If it is browning on the top but the middle is not set, cover with tin foil and reduce the heat for 10-15 minutes to give the middle time to catch up
  • When cold, cut into fingers.  As with a lot of gluten free cakes, this is best eaten within two days (is that really such a problem?!) otherwise the surface of the cake tends to go a bit soggy
  • Relax and give yourself a break before you bake another Herman!

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved


Molly said...

I love the way you write. Your posts are always a hoot to read!

And frankly, after following your Herman adventure, I feel I've become attached to the little guy myself. Does Herman travel well? Are you coming to the FFFF this weekend? I'd gladly take some divided Herman off your hands :)

Bruce said...

Thanks for a great blog
Christmas Friendship cake

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Molly, ahh you are sweet, thank-you! I have some sad news I'm afraid. Herman Mark II is looking distinctly peaky. I'm not sure he's going to pull through this second adventure. I really don't think it would be wise for him to make the trip down to London tomorrow. But I'll be there!

Hi Bruce, dare I click on your link? Are you a friendly fellow blogger or an evil spammer..??! But you're right, it IS a great blog
Pig x

vintagemom said...

I would like Herman to be my friend too :)

Just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in my latest post... and you are the latest recipient of the Triple Cute Blog Award!

Cheers! Lisa

Nowheymama said...

We call this Amish Friendship Bread. I've often wondered about making it dairy free. Thanks for doing the leg work!

packers and movers Faridabad said...

Hello nice blog post here, please keep it up your good work. i will be back here again. thanks for share this blog,really great work by you, please keep continue your quality work

The Paddington Foodie said...

Hi Molly

I was given a Hermann starter last month and posted a story about it on my blog. He's been so very popular. Have been looking for a gluten free version for a friend and hope you don't mind but I have posted a link back to your blog in the comments to this post

business thesis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.