Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

This isn't a bread, per se, but much more like a moist, sweet cake. You certainly wouldn't make a sandwich from this "bread".

General Guidelines

Do not refrigerate your mix. Below room-temperatures will retard yeast growth, perhaps even kill the yeast.

If air gets into the bag, let it out. Some "air" which will inflate the bag (if the yeast is growing properly) is really carbon dioxide, a natural by-product of yeast growth (also known as "fermentation"). So this "air" is perfectly normal and, indeed, should accumulate. That is, you should see bubbles forming in the mixture if the yeast is growing properly. Let this carbon dioxide out of the bag as needed to prevent the bag from over-inflating. At the same time, keep the bag closed otherwise to prevent ambient air from the room from coming into contact with the yeast mixture.

Below, where the instructions say "mush the bag", this simply means that you should squeeze and massage the yeast mixture through the bag, in effect, to stir it up.


  • Day 1: This is the date on the bag. You don't need to do anything this day other than put the bag in a place of moderate (room) temperature and where you'll notice it tomorrow and succeeding days.
  • Day 2: Mush the bag.
  • Day 3: Mush the bag.
  • Day 4: Mush the bag.
  • Day 5: Mush the bag.
  • Day 6: Add to the bag 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, then mush the bag.
  • Day 7: Mush the bag.
  • Day 8: Mush the bag.
  • Day 9: Mush the bag.
  • Day 10: Baking day. Follow the instructions below:
    • Pour the contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.
    • Add 1½ cups flour, 1½ cups sugar, and 1½ milk.
    • Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 4 1-gallon Ziploc™ bags. Keep a yeast starter for yourself (if you choose) and give the other 3 along with copies of this recipe to friends. Write today's date on each bag so your friends will know what to designate as Day 1.
    • Preheat the oven to 325°.
    • To the remaining yeast mixture in the bowl add the following:
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 cup oil
      • ½ cup milk
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 tsp. cinnamon
      • ½ tsp. vanilla
      • 1½ tsp. baking powder
      • ½ tsp. baking soda
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • 2 cups flour (sifted if you wish)
      • 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
    • Grease or oil 2 large loaf pans.
    • Mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pan with half of this mixture.
    • Pour the batter evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.
    • Bake one hour.
    • Allow the loaves to cool (about 10 minutes) until they loosen easily from the pans. Turn onto a serving dish.

If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every ten days. Only the Amish know how to create the starter yeast, so if you give all of yours away, you'll have to wait until someone gives one back to you. On the other hand, if you don't give any away, then you won't have anyone to go to if you lose yours. In any event, you can always find the bread recipe here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Setting Your Browser's Font Size

With more and more people nearing the bifocals stage of life, the size of the type on a page begins to become a concern. Though we can't make the characters on the eye chart at your doctor's office bigger, the characters displayed by your internet browser are largely adjustable.

As irritating as it might be to find the type on a web page too small to comfortably read, don't blame the web site or its webmaster. If you read your email on a web site, don't blame the person who sent you the email either. True, the webmaster and, in some cases, the sender of an email can set a specific font size. But after all said and done, all the email sent to you and all the web sites you view with your browser are simply data which has been sent to your machine from the internet. What happens with that data once it's on your computer is under your control. The person sending the email or creating a webpage can't possibly set one particular font size which is going to please everyone. So in the end, the recipient of the email or reader of the web page is responsible for setting the display how he or she wants it.

If Firefox is your web vehicle, you can change the font size a few different ways. If you want to increase the font size of a browser window (just for the current tab) and really fast, but have it last only for the current session (i.e., until you shut down Firefox and then start it up again), you can open the View menu, select Text Size, and click on Increase. Even faster is to use the shortcut, Ctrl-+ (hold down the Ctrl key and press the plus (+) key). To make the displayed font size smaller, there's a Decrease option in the menu right below the one for Increase. Or you could use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-- (hit the minus (-) key while holding down the Ctrl key). To get back to the unadjusted setting— the default setting prior to any changes of the type above— select the Normal option below the Decrease option mentioned above; or do Ctrl-0 (the Ctrl and the number zero keys used together).

You can also set a mandatory minimum font size globally and permanently— i.e., for every web page you view and which will persist even into future sessions. Setting this mandatory minimum font size will ensure that the "print" on web pages and in your webmail is easy on your eyes and won't burn holes in your glasses. All the instructions performed below are done by clicking on menus so you can even eat a sandwich while you're doing this.

Begin by clicking on the Edit menu. From the dropdown, click on Preferences. This will bring up a new window in which you want to click on the tab entitled Content. In the section labeled "Fonts & Colors" you can click on the bar for Default font to select a font style and on the Size button to select a default font size. Generally, though, the defaults are fine. If you want to make sure the text of those web pages and webmail will always be comfortably large enough, set the minimum font size. Click on the next button in this same section, the one labeled Advanced. This will open up another window. You can play around with any of the many settings here, but only two are of concern here. Click on Minimum font size and use the examples below to help select the smallest font you want to permit your browser to display. Make sure that the option Allow pages to choose their own fonts... is not checked.

The selection dropdown bars show a range of numbers, but without units. Firefox doesn't tell you the typographic unit corresponding to these numbers because it might possibly be "points" or it might be "pixels". Which of these typographical units of measure is used by your browser depends upon your system, its default settings, and other factors all too complex for even a good browser to trace out. Providing both units of measure, the table below should help you select which font sizes are available and which will work best for you. Note also that not all font styles are available in all the possible sizes.

This is 8-pixel font.
This is 8-point font.
This is 9-pixel font.
This is 9-point font.
This is 10-pixel font.
This is 10-point font.
This is 11-pixel font.
This is 11-point font.
This is 12-pixel font.
This is 12-point font.
This is 13-pixel font.
This is 13-point font.
This is 14-pixel font.
This is 14-point font.
This is 15-pixel font.
This is 15-point font.
This is 16-pixel font.
This is 16-point font.
This is 17-pixel font.
This is 17-point font.
This is 18-pixel font.
This is 18-point font.
This is 20-pixel font.
This is 20-point font.
This is 22-pixel font.
This is 22-point font.
This is 24-pixel font.
This is 24-point font.
This is 32-pixel font.
This is 32-point font.
This is 36-pixel font.
This is 36-point font.
This is 40-pixel font.
This is 40-point font.

You won't see any changes in the fonts in your browser until you click on the Font window's OK button. When you're satisfied with your selections, close these two configuration windows and have a look at your handywork.

Some folks aren't satisfied just having readable fonts. They want or need characters on the "page" to be typographically accurate; e.g., a 12-point font must measure exactly one sixth of an inch. If the settings made to Firefox don't provide font sizes of the desired accuracy, you may want to see for a deeper look into how the more primitive graphics specifications are defined on your system. If, on the other hand, the sole goal is to be able to read the text, we can proceed to our next dream.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Death and Redemption by Poetry

it's comforting to see
in a world drenched in wizardry
that humans still affront and offend.
for despite all the IT,
the Backspace and Delete key,
the mouth's still beginning and end.

when writing a poem
our thoughtwords can roam
to find where they finally align.
and there make a home
where we don't really know 'em,
but at least now they sort of rhyme.

we just need a new rule,
inculcated since grade school,
to injure aesthetically.
everything will be cool,
if, when blessing the cesspool,
you do it poetically.

no, words should endeavor
to bring grace whenever
they're penned, typewritten, or spoken.
but i've oft been too clever,
and said what should never,
and thought, they shoulda known I was jokin'.
(Been there.)

yes, i've often sinned.
i've peed in the wind.
my life's been a trail of turds.
maybe i'll be forgiven,
for it's all part of livin'
and using these damn dangerous words.

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