October 18, 2012

How I make friends - Amish Friendship Bread

This bread is everywhere this time of year. The reason it is called friendship bread is because it requires a bread start and every ten days you split your start into four new starts and make bread (see notes).  Then you share your extra starts with your friends. I make friends by sharing the already baked bread. Seriously, no one can resist the comforting cinnamon/spice flavor of this sweet bread; it's like fall in your mouth. 

Anywho, this bread is dangerously addictive!! My family sometimes calls it Devil Bread because they just can't turn it down. 

First things first, you'll need a start. You could find a friend who wants to share or you can start your own.  I have started my own the past couple years and it works great. 

1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk

In a plastic or glass bowl (no metal) combine flour and sugar, mix. 

In a smaller bowl dissolve yeast in warm water until foamy, about 10 minutes. When the yeast is foamy add warm milk, then combine with the flour and sugar mixture. Mix well and pour into a gallon sized plastic bag, seal and lay flat on your counter (Do not refrigerate). This is Day 1.

During days 1 - 10 the batter will thicken, bubble and ferment. If air fills the bag just squeeze it out.

Day 1: Do nothing. Place bag on a flat surface.
Day 2: Squeeze bag several times.
Day 3: Squeeze bag several times.
Day 4: Squeeze bag several times.
Day 5: Squeeze bag several times
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk to bag. Seal and then squeeze bag to mix.
Day 7: Squeeze bag to mix. 
Day 8: Squeeze bag to mix.
Day 9: Squeeze bag to mix.
Day 10:  In a large non-metal bowl, combine batter with 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk. Mix with a non-metal spoon/spatula. Pour 4- 1 cup starters into 4 one-gallon zip-lock bags. give these away with a copy of the instructions. There will be about 1 cup left of batter remaining in the bowl. To the left over batter add the 'bread ingredients'. 

Then, if you keep a bag of starter for yourself start again at day 1.

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup starter

For the pan: 
Cooking spray
Mix together:
1/3 cup sugar +1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare your bunt pan or bread pans by spraying with cooking spray. My favorite is Bakers Joy. Then,while the cooking spray is still wet, dust your pan(s) with 1/2 of the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  If you are using a bunt pan make sure you cover it completely- including the flute. 

Mix all of the bread ingredients together in a non-metal bowl until well combined. The batter will be thick. pour into your pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with the more of the cinnamon sugar mixture; you may end up with extra cinnamon/sugar- no biggie, save it for next time.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

After a while you are going to run out of friends to give it to or maybe you don't want to share it until someone asks you (like me). So, I'm going to tell you a big secret... you don't have to follow the ten day rule, you have options!  After the 'goo', as I lovingly call it, starts to ferment and bubble you are good to go. Just make sure to squeeze the bag daily and feed it with equal amounts of sugar, flour and milk at least once a week. When I want to keep mine growing without creating tons of starter/goo I add 1/4 cup of sugar, milk and flour.

Another misconception about the ten day rules is that you can't bake with it right after you add the sugar, flour, milk combo. False, if you know you are going to be baking a bunch of loafs add a cup of each one day and then bake it the next day. You'll have tons of goo all to yourself. Happy baking! 

Lets talk about the starter. It's stinky... really stinky. If it smells rotten that's a good sign. It should bubble, stink and fill the bag with air. 

Here are some examples of what things are going to look like:
                          Day 1                                        Day 3                                      Bread Day

If you have any questions please email me: Casscooks@gmail.com and I'd be happy to help. (it can be confusing) 

You can also switch up the flavors of your bread by adding different pudding flavors, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc.  My Mom has added pumpkin and chocolate chips before and it turns out great! Experiment and have fun!

Starter Recipe: Cooks.com
Bread Recipe: Passed from friend to friend. 

1 comment:

Gma J said...

Made LOTS if friends today at work... Thanks!!!!