Puratos Herman

Meet Herman

25 Sep 2020

Vicci Forward, Application Specialist Industrial Patisserie

Loaf & Family Cake

I am great believer in the bonding and social binding qualities of food.  Food is the pinnacle activity for normal celebrations, and I believe the evening meal is a vital aspect of everyday family life where families gather and talk about the highs an slows of their day.

It’s obviously why I found my career in food, and I have found a great deal of my friends through being a “foodie”!

Herman the German Friendship cake emerged from an Amish traditional of using a yeasted sourdough starter, once someone had baked with it, they would give the remains to a neighbour to use up. In the 1970’s it emerged as a gastronomic chain letter. Where a starter would be fed for 10 days and then split into 4, 3 of the new starters would be given to friends and the 4th would be made into a delicious cake.

It was with this in mind that I decided to start this project. Reviving an old Amish tradition that comes around every few years that could bring me and my colleagues together as we see less and less of each other through the coronavirus pandemic. 


At the Fringford Innovation centre, we hold a collection of true sourdough starters (not yeasted), and they are regularly refreshed and some of the starter is either used to bake bread, or it is discarded. So, it struck me that we could try to do a similar chain but using the discards of the Fringford starters. 

We collected the discards, which, combined, had a lovely rich rye flavour coming through, and added some Puratos Sapore Carmen inactive sourdough, to bring out delicious buttery notes. This was then spilt and sent on its way throughout Puratos UK, with 1 portion being baked by me at Fringford.

Each Puratos team member can feed their starter with whatever flour or sugar they want and can choose to add water or milk.

The traditional recipe is with apples, raisins and cinnamon, but there are now many alternatives over the internet, so it’s going to be great to see what everyone comes up with and how the differently fed starters may alter the characteristics of the cake flavours!

I can’t wait to see the results and have fun with my colleagues as we come together in this project!