Fig & walnut (friendship) bread
A couple of months ago I was at a friend’s house when I noticed a bowl of batter sitting on their kitchen bench and on top, a single white A4 piece of paper titled ‘German Friendship Cake’. I was fascinated – was this the food equivalent of a chain letter?
Now I’ve known people to have starters bubbling away in their kitchens but some seem like more work than looking after a domestic cat. I’ve also heard how unwilling people are to share their starters so I just love that this is a concept where the creator divides and shares their wares on day 10. What says “you are my friend” better than giving someone a cake mixture?!
My friend’s mixture came from his father and so I initially questioned whether it had been passed through generations, whether I had in fact discovered a centuries-old family heirloom? I didn’t but that would have made a great story.
If you do happen to receive a portion of mixture (aka Herman) from a friend, you can follow my recipe on making it into bread. Alternatively you can stick to tradition and follow the recipe – adding apple and cinnamon.
If you’re not gifted a mixture you can make your own from scratch – just search online for ‘German Friendship Cake’.
Makes two loaves
- Day 1
- 1 portion of friendship cake mixture (Herman)
- Days 2-10
- Ingredients as per instructions (however day 9 sees a modification – see method)
- Day 10
- 500g strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 240ml tepid water
- 1 portion friendship mixture (Herman)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
- 1 cup figs, chopped roughly
- Day 1
- 1. Receive a portion of friendship cake mixture (Herman)
- Days 2-9
- 2. Follow the instructions however on day 9 do not add sugar (only flour and milk).
- 3. Portion into 4.
- Day 10
- 4. Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Alternatively you can use a mixer with a dough hook attachment.
- 5. Mix the water with the friendship cake mixture (Herman) and pour into the centre of the well.
- 6. Gradually work the ingredients together. Add a little more water if it seems to dry or more flour if too sticky.
- 7. Add the walnuts and figs, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- 8. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for a couple of hours (until doubled in size).
- 9. Knock back, then shape into two long loaves. Cover again and leave for another couple of hours.
- 10. Bake at 220ºC for 20 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.
- 11. Serve fresh with a soft cheese such as brie or camembert.