Amish Friendship Bread

June 13, 2010

10 days ago I started a journey with a passed along cup of fermented batter. Sounds pretty disgusting I think. But I had memories from my childhood of my mom participating in some sort of friendship bread and the result was a warm cinammony loaf that was absolutely to die for. I think she bake a new loaf every 10 days for months because we loved it so much. So, I’m hoping, that the lovely smell filling my home from my the end of my 10 journey is going to taste just as good as I remember it from my childhood.

The process…
2 Friday’s ago I was passed along my Amish Friendship Bread starter. It was a gooey batter in a large Ziploc bag. Eww. Day 1’s instructions were mush the bag…so I mushed. The same directions followed for Days 2, 3, and 4. Seriously?! This is baking? Day 5 was a little bit more tricky, add 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk, and you guessed it, mush the bag. (One specific instruction was to not use metal utensils or bowls while making…so no wire whisk!) I was already half way done. Day 6, 7, 8, and 9 were all very simple again…mush the bag. On about Day 7 or 8 though, my bag was close to exploding. Good thing I was paying a bit of attention because that would have been a nasty mess to clean up. So in addition to mushing the bag, keep a close eye on your bag and “burp” the bag whenever it looks like it is getting too full of air.

Then, baking day arrives, day 10! This day requires a bit more strength and baking expertise, but not much. First you get promoted to a mixing bowl (remember no metal). Add 1 1/2 cups each of flour, sugar milk. Mix well. From this big bowl of goo, measure out 1 cup of “starter” into 4 large ziplock baggies. Mark each baggie with that days date. If you love the bread, keep one for yourself, and share the joy of this experience with 3 friends…otherwise share with 4 friends, haha.

With the remaining batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil (The instructions I received said you can do 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup apple sauce…this time around I opted for the full fat version, so I can’t comment on the low-fat alternative)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I used the full amount, but I bet you do add less, or omit completely if you aren’t really a cinnamon type person)
  • 1 large box of instant vanilla or chocolate pudding (All I had was chocolate…)
  • 1/2 tsp each baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • 2 cups flour

Grease 2 loaf pans and pour batter evenly into them.
Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 – 1 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle on top (I think this could totally be omitted)
Bake for 1 hour @ 325F (I only baked mine for 45 minutes, and even pulled one out sooner because I’m obviously not very good at “even” pouring, so keep an eye on them)

Okay…so just as I finished typing out the above, my Amish Friendship Bread was ready to pull from the oven. I wish that I had more energy to pull out my camera, take some pictures, upload, and share in the post, but I just don’t, so try to image. The tops were slightly cracked, and looked divine. I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover or baking by the way it looks.

After letting it cool for a few minutes, I gave a piece to Harold. (Seriously, did you think I would taste it first…ha, yah right) And he chewed slowly…and finally started to nod his head. “It’s good babe” was his response. This gave me the go ahead to take a bite, and I too could agree…it was good. I could definitely reminisce a bit in my childhood.

So, I am happy to report that I am keeping a starter, and sharing the JOY with 3 friends. If you are interested in a starter, in 10 days (so June 23ish) I will have 3 more to share, let me know!

Some things I am going to try with round two:

  • 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce – I think this would compliment the cinnamon flavor, and cut down on the fat. If you do this, remember that usually you have to decrease your baking time by a bit, since it isn’t as moist as the full oil option.
  • Instant vanilla pudding all the way! The chocolate was good, but if I did it again, I would omit the cinnamon and try something different (maybe add chocolate chips, or another suggestion was orange zest?! could be yummy.
  • Another side note was that you could add nuts, poppy seeds, and/or fruit. I think I might give the poppy seeds a try.

So…in 10 days hopefully you can read about Amish Bread success round two!

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