Thursday, 5 November 2015

Herman the German is back!

Herman is back!

I've missed Herman... It's true, when you can't have something, you want it more.

Herman and I were friends for some months. I looked after Herman until one day I had a slip of concentration and accidentally killed him off!

Herman was no more....

Now I should probably explain that Herman the German is actually a cake. No, he's not just a cake, he's a friendship cake. I wouldn't usually associate a gender with an item of food, but I will make an exception with Herman. He's a little bit special. You can't buy a Herman cake and you can't just decide on a Sunday afternoon to make a Herman cake - you have to be given the starter culture. It could be said that Herman is ageless and indefinite.

Well, maybe not quite indefinite....The story about me accidentally curbing Herman's existence needs a little explanation.

Herman is actually a version of those irritating chain letters that you got when you were a kid but it's without the irritating bit.
Basically you start with a bowl of gloop culture - aka baby Herman.  This is similar to a sourdough starter and this is what you look after for 10 days before it becomes cake Herman. You stir baby Herman daily and feed him with sugar, flour and milk on day 4 and then again on day 9. At this point baby Herman becomes too big for his bowl and you create four equal portions of him. You can then keep the chain going by passing on three of these portions to friends.  On day 10 you are ready to make a cake from your remaining portion. (I would usually pass on two portions, bake one and keep one going.)

On one occasion after feeding Herman the necessary ingredients on day 9, I then forgot to divide the mixture into 4 and just went ahead and made a ginormous, enormous feed an army sized Herman cake. The cake didn't work and I had no baby Hermans left! It was a sad day.... of the friends that I had previously given a baby Herman to, had gone against the instructions of keeping Herman warm and loosely covered in a large bowl and had gone ahead and put him in the fridge - what a wonderful rebel she is!

So about five months after I had passed him to her she gifted me a refrigerated portion and even though it was touch and go for the first few days I revived him and he's back.

Yesterday was day 10, so I have given two portions away, I have one ready to go through the 10 day cycle again and I also baked one. The best bit is that it worked. Herman became a cake and he was delicious!

Next time I'll give one portion of culture away, I'll bake one, keep one going and I'm going to try freezing a portion, It will be like something out of a sci-fi cryonics novel! I wonder if he'll survive that?

It's always a well received cake whatever I do with it. There are many variations and the one I made last night had chopped up apple and a handful of cranberries.

Good to have you back Herman,
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Link to the Herman the German Friendship cake website - HERE

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