Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Herman causes kitchen chaos!

Who is Herman I hear you ask?!  Let me explain...

Early this year I was given a tub of yeast mixture with a list of instructions as follows:

Herman is a friendship cake that you cannot buy but give away. Herman is alive. He grows slowly because of the yeast process. It also takes ten days before you can eat him. Herman shouldn’t be put in the fridge & also requires to be covered by a tea towel. He grows at room temperature.

Hi, my name is Herman.
I am a friendly cake. I can live a long time & travel a long way.

This is how you should look after me. I am made from natural yeast, which is ready in ten days. Then you should divide me into four parts so that three friends can spread the friendship & pass it on to their friends & so on.

Do not put me in the fridge & make sure that I'm not too hot, but I like to be warm. Put me in a large bowl so that I can grow, but do not cover me with a lid, just a clean tea towel. I need to breathe.

Day 1: Herman arrives

Day 2 & 3: Stir Herman well several times a day with a wooden spoon

Day 4: Herman is hungry, please feed him with : 200g sugar, 125 g plain flour, 200ml milk. Stir well.

Day 5,6,7 & 8: Stir well a few times a day

Day 9: Herman is hungry again. Please feed him with: 200g sugar, 125 g plain flour, 200ml milk. Stir well.

Day 10: Divide me into four, one for you & three for your friends.

Add the following to the part you have kept:
150g melted butter
3 eggs
250g plain flour
100g brown sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 apples, peeled, cored, grated
100g dried fruit.

Mix well & pour Herman into a large greased tin, or 2 smaller ones. Make sure it has about a quarter of the tin to rise because otherwise it will overflow. Sprinkle with brown sugar, then bake at 150°C, Gas Mark 2 for 1½ hours.


Sounds simple enough, right?!  Well earlier this year when I got my very first Herman everything went perfectly & we enjoyed a few batches of Herman giving only a couple away & keeping one to re-grow... finally after about 8 Herman’s (I cook in 2 smaller loaf tins) we decided to give all three away & Herman was no more after the last slice had passed our lips :(

I had been hoping to acquire another Herman offspring but alas, there were none to go round every time I heard of a friend with Herman his offspring had already been allocated to other people much to my disappointment.  Now imagine my surprise after a few quiet months 7 no word of Herman when I noticed via Facebook that my friend was in possession of a newly grown Herman!!! So I was hot on my keyboard commenting on the said status asking if there was any possible chance I could have one of Herman’s offspring - my lucky was with me as low & behold I was told there was some offspring left & I could have some =)

So, Monday morning (10/10/11) I pop round to my fellow blogger Jason's house to enjoy coffee with him & his lovely wife Claire (both very good friends of mine & Duncan's)... we sit, we chat, i get baby Herman in my pot & pop him in my bag, we drink coffee, we chat some more then it's time to wander off home, life is good!

But what I don't know is... baby Herman is not happy, baby Herman is getting angry in my pot, baby Herman is not liking the dark of the bag, so baby Herman starts seeping through the lid into the bag!  I get home, all cheery as I finally have another baby Herman all of my own to nurture & grow so I head into the kitchen to put baby Herman into my cherished Mason Cash mixing bowl (it's nice & large, perfect for baby Herman to grow) - what happens next???

Well, I start getting the few bits of shopping out of my bag & notice baby Herman has tried to escape.  So I figure let's take the lid off the pot so he can breathe & everything will be fine.  So I take my pot out & try to open the lid... how tight did Claire do it up?!  It wouldn't budge at first & panic starts to creep in as I am thinking baby Herman has already started seeping out, will his temper go completely over the edge & will he manage to explode my pot?!  I keep trying & after a few attempts it finally slowly starts turning while more of baby Herman is escaping; now my pot has about 5 threads on the lid... I'd undone the first thread, was slowly moving onto the second thread & BOOM!!!!!!  The lid from my pot propelled into the air & about a third of baby Herman had covered me & the kitchen!

I have never seen anything so funny, my coat needed washing, my hat needed washing, I had to wash the cover from the dogs cage, wipe down my cupboards, wipe down the walls & mop the floor - my, oh my can baby Herman fly!

After approx 30 mins, my kitchen was back to normal & you wouldn't guess anything had happened there... Baby Herman looked tiny when in my bowl so I fed him & now he is happily growing as he should be =)


  1. Blimey - that all sounds a bit traumatic. I had no idea Herman could be so troublesome!

    Glad to hear enough survived to allow the next generation to be born! Good luck & let us know when he's done!

  2. I am due to bake the baby Hermans today... you want another baby Herman or shall I send round one of my cooked Hermans?! I have adapted the fruit recipe a little & absolutely love my version & I cook them in loaves ;)