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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Amish Friendship Bread

I love Amish Friendship Bread! It's delicious and it's so versatile! It's called "friendship" bread because through the process of making it, you end up with more starter (batter) that you can share with others so they can make their own.
 Christmas is a great time to make this because you can give it as a gift. Make up several mini loaves and give to your mail person, the trash collector, the UPS or FedEx delivery person... You could also make some to have on hand for hostess gifts for any Christmas parties or gatherings you'll be attending. 
I'm going to be starting a batch tonight and will update this post with more photos as I go through the 10 days of preparation. I never started it on my own. I have always been given a starter in a bag. Here is the recipe I'll be using to start:

Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Remember: Do not use metal bowls or utensils while making the starter or the bread! Always use plastic or glass.

Ingredients:
~ 1 pkg. active dry yeast 
~ 1/4 cup warm water ( about 110 degrees F) 
~ 1 cup all-purpose flour 
~ 1 cup white sugar 
~ 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.

2. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly to prevent the flour from getting lumpy when you add the milk.

3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover the mixture with a lid or plastic wrap. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle.


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I set my bowl in my microwave over my stove top where it would be out of the way. I don't use the microwave all that much so I can be reasonably sure it won't get disturbed or tipped over. I also normally have my starter in a large ziplock bag. I was out of them so my starter is in a bowl this time. If you have yours in a bag, you'll want to watch for gas build up and release any built up air so your bag doesn't burst open. You may also want to lay your bag in a large bowl during this time... yeast is active and the bag will roll around and can fall of a counter or table (yes I'm speaking from experience! :)
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For the next 10 days, we'll continue with the following instructions and recipe:

Amish Friendship Bread

Day 1: Do nothing. This is the day you received or made your starter.

Day 2: Stir or "mush" the bag (means to just kind of roll it or mash the bag in your hands)

Day 3: Stir or mush the bag

Day 4: Stir or mush the bag

Day 5: Stir or mush the bag

Day 6: Add to the bowl or bag: 1 Cup flour, 1 Cup sugar and 1 Cup milk. Stir together or mush the bag. 

Day 7: Stir or mush the bag

Day 8: Stir or mush the bag

Day 9: Stir or mush the bag

Day 10: Mix and divide the starter as follows: Pour the entire contents into a non-metal bowl and add 1 1/2 Cups flour, 1 1/2 Cups sugar and 1 1/2 Cups milk. Mix well. Measure out one Cup of batter into each of four 1 gallon ziplock bags. Keep one for yourself and give the other three to friends along with a copy of this recipe.

*** Alternatively you can freeze the starter to use later. Freeze in 1 cup measures and you'll be ready to go. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using. Once you have made/thawed the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. ***

Mixing and Baking Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

 To the remaining batter in the bowl add:
3 eggs
1 Cup oil
1/2 Cup milk
1 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 vanilla
1 large box instant vanilla pudding**
2 Cups flour 

If using all purpose flour, also add:
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt

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I used chocolate pudding this time!


Above: My shaker and the batter with the cinnamon/sugar sprinkled over it

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Grease 2 large loaf pans. Mix an additional 1/2 Cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half the mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread starts to loosen from the pan evenly (about 10 minutes). Remove from pans and serve warm or cold.
Yum!!!

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**OPTIONS: Add 1 Cup of chopped nuts, raisins, etc to batter.
The pudding mix: You can use other flavors of pudding to create different breads. Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Butterscotch, etc. I have added a whole banana and a box of banana cream instant pudding mix  along with some nuts to make banana bread. I am going to attempt a strawberry bread with strawberry creme pudding mix and some real strawberries...  
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TIP: If I plan on making several loaves or know I will be baking another batch in 10 days, I mix a double batch of the cinnamon/sugar mix that is used in the greased pans and on top. I put it in a shaker so I can just shake it into the pans and on top when I'm ready.
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If you give starter away, be sure to write the date on the bag (the date you bagged it is Day 1), so they'll know what day the starter is on.
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Note: If you keep starter for yourself, you'll be baking some bread every 10 days or freeze some starter to have it when you want to make more bread.

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My Notes From This Experience:
I found out I definitely prefer having the starter in a bag instead of the bowl. Mixing/mushing is much easier without having to dirty a spoon, keep the plastic wrap on the bowl (and from falling IN the bowl). 
I wanted to use butterscotch pudding, but found out we were having a family get-together this weekend and I needed something to take. So instead of using the entire family as guinea pigs, I went with chocolate. I saved my starter, froze three and kept the one out, so when it's ready I'll bake a double batch and one is going to be butterscotch and one will be strawberry, two flavor I have never tried before. I have never froze starter before, so I'll have to see how that goes.

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