I’d like you to meet my Amish Friendship Bread Starter.
Mel was born in 2018, had a couple of good rounds, and then I had to go on vacation. Mel was fed, divided, and then transferred to a Ziploc bag and popped into the freezer. About four months later, Mel re-emerged from her (yes, Mel is a she!) cryo-nap and has been bubbling on the counter ever since.
Name your starter
Traditional sourdough bakers are known for naming their starters. After all, the starter is alive and growing, requiring regular feedings, just like a pet. Naming your Amish Friendship Bread starter (or starters, in my case) also helps differentiate one starter from another. You wouldn’t give all your kids the same name, would you? Naming your starters makes it easier to keep track: their DOB (when you made/received them), where they came from (made from scratch, received from a friend), which ones are tougher than others and quick to bubble back, and what they’re made of (Mel is a mix of flours (all-purpose, GF) and milk (regular, almond) and isn’t as sweet as other starters as I sometimes halve or skip the sugar feeding).
Also on my counter or in the freezer:
- Riley (a hardy starter made from AP and whole wheat flour–I thought I might try rye flour at some point but haven’t yet): 1 year old
- Serena (ode to the tenacious goat in my second Friendship Bread novel, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society, published by Random House): 3 years old
- Deidre (ode to the TV-show/lifestyle-maven protagonist in my first novel, Good Things, published by Penguin, written as Mia King): 8 years old
- Bex (a newer starter, inherited by a 12-year-old neighbor): 7 months old
I sometimes make new starters and give them away before I’ve had a chance to name them. I’ve also made starters and baked them without even a hello (sorry, but the oven beckoned). All of the above starters have beget more starters that I’ve shared with others, but I always keep a bag in the freezer with their name on it, just in case.
Need some starter inspiration?
- Emilio Yeastevez
- Little Bread Rising Hood
- Carrie Breadshaw
- Rye Breadbury
- Augustus Gloop
- Bread Pitt
- Jane Dough
- Dough Jackson
- St. Joan of Starch
- Fred Farter the Bread Starter
- Vincent Van Dough
If you haven’t named your starter and you’re having problems coming up with a name, use this name generator that I love (and use for my novels when I’m stuck). The best part is, you can generate a regular name (like Annette), fantasy names (like Zealot Floratomb), cat names (like Linx), even wrestler names (like Y. Z. “Admiral” Cooper).
Connecting with your starter
You know how some plant owners talk or sing to their plants, even play the piano or run the TV or radio when they leave the house? If you watched What the Bleep Do We Know!?, you might have heard about the research on how a glass of water responds to the energy around it. Why should your Amish Friendship Bread or sourdough starter be any different?
Starters that have been passed down from generation to generation, or from friend to friend or neighbor to neighbor, have a history. If your starter has yielded amazing breads, cakes, and cookies for you(you have checked out the Recipe Box, right?), maybe give it a little love and say thank you. It certainly can’t hurt!
Woot, it’s a giveaway!
Beginning July 2021, name your starter for a chance to win your choice of a 64.5 oz starter jar (perfect for you or a friend) or a surprise gift of equal or greater value. We’ll choose a name at random once a month, and past comments are automatically entered! One comment per person, please — if you have new names for new starters, just REPLY to your old comment and let us know, but don’t add a new comment or you will be disqualified.
US residents only, but international residents may enter and if they win, we’ll figure something out (please stay fun, flexible and not grumpy about this; grumpiness/entitlement will disqualify your entry). Must be 21 or older.
June 2021 winner: Kathy Chiocca, for “Bubbles” and “Squeek.” She’ll choose from her choice of a 64.5 oz starter jar (perfect for you or a friend) or a set of 6 Wilton disposable 9″ x 5″ loaf pans with lids. Congratulations, Kathy!
So tell me: what’s the name of YOUR Amish Friendship Bread starter?