About a week and a half ago, my aunt called me saying that she was going to drop off a surprise for me…and what I got was a bag of mush. Sure it looked quite unimpressive then, but she promised me that if I just followed the directions I was going to be rewarded with an incredibly delicious cinnamon bread…with some mush left over to pass along to other friends.
Now you probably have already made a batch or two of this friendship bread (seems like everyone I meet has), but this was completely new to me. So just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about here is what Amish Friendship Bread is:
Similar to a chain letter, a friend gives you a bread starter which you “feed” with milk, flour and sugar. This multiplies the starter so that you can bake a sweet cake-like bread for yourself and pass along some starter to other friends to do the same.
Now the legend is that only the Amish know how to make the starter, but after searching around a bit I found a very easy recipe:
|Amish Friendship Bread Starter||
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 cups white sugar, divided
- 3 cups milk
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
- On days 2 through 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 through 9; stir only.
- Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
<span class=”mceItemHidden”>from <span class=”mceItemHiddenSpellWord”>allrecipes</span>.com</span>
The instructions that came with my starter (though very thorough) seemed a little jumbled and un-pretty, so rewrote the original recipe in a much more pleasing manner. You can download it here:
After you have made the classic Friendship Bread, you may want to look at variations that other have come up with, like chocolate, lemon or butterscotch breads and sourdough style pancakes and muffins.
Okay, confession time. I only gave away 2 of my 4 starters. I was so smitten by the idea of using a starter for bread making that I kept 2 to experiment with. I’ll be trying out some of the recipes from those links up there. =)
Makes a great Valentine
Whip up some starter to give to a friend on Valentines! To make it more Valentine-y, place the pre-filled gallon bag and the instructions in a mason jar and tie a pretty ribbon around the jar.