Hello, my name is Herman.
I am a sourdough cake. I’m supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.
So began the letter accompanying a plastic container filled with a bubbling mix of goo that my boyfriend presented to me on Friday evening, under the assumption that I would do a better job than him of keeping Herman (which is the dough’s name) alive for 10 days!
Fortunately I had heard of Herman, the German Friendship cake before, oddly enough from my German aunt, otherwise I think I would have been somewhat baffled by the concept.
Basically, for those of you unfamiliar with Herman, he (not sure what gender a cake mixture is, but Herman’s a guys name so …) is a sourdough cake starter mix that you have to keep for 10 days, following the instructions accompanying the mixer. Herman is decades old, at least the concept is not my piece of Herman, passing through circles of friends and multiplying, you get the gist.
After the 10 days you split Herman into four pieces and give away three of these with a set of instructions. You keep the fourth piece and make it into a sourdough cake or whatever other sourdough recipe you want.
Well three days in, one of those being a very boozy Paddy’s Day (the match is not to be mentioned) and Herman is still alive and bubbling.
To be honest, the process is a lot less difficult than I imagined. Stirring well being the main daily requirement to keeping him alive, plus adding a little bit of food in the form of flour, sugar and milk every few days to mix it up a bit.
The only thing you don’t want is for Herman to stop bubbling, if he does he’s dead. So far so good. I am under the strictest instructions not to let this happen, so provided I am successful, I will have to find three willing people to take a piece of Herman off my hands in seven days time.
I will check back in once the 10 days are up and report on the state of Herman, I’m hoping he’ll be a cake by then. In the meantime, anyone within reasonable distance of London who wants a piece of Herman to attempt to keep alive, please let me know.