December 20, 2007

Amish Bread for the Holidays

My husband came home the other night with Amish Friendship Bread some friends of ours had made. I had never heard of Amish Friendship Bread before, nor eaten it before then. It was wonderful! And after some research on the internet, I discovered the bread has a long standing history that I want to share with you all.

From Wikipedia: Amish Friendship Bread (along with Amish Cinnamon Bread) is the chain letter of the baking world. The idea is very simple: a friend gives you a cup of yeast culture (also known as "starter") and a copy of instructions. Following the instructions, you add sugar, flour and milk and it rises. Eventually, you end up with 4 cups of the starter. You use one cup to make bread (the instructions provide you with the recipe), keep one cup to start a new cycle and give two cups to your friends. Each of your friends also gets a copy of the instructions for what to do with the yeast starter. The latter part makes it somewhat like a chain letter. Of course, Amish Friendship Bread does not come with any promises of riches for those who spread it on or curses for those who don't. The first time "Amish Friendship Bread" was discussed on Usenet was in a posting on February 5, 1990. It was an experiment by Girl Scout Troop 15, c/o Emilie Manning in Oswego, NY and was posted by Patrick Salsbury. Bread made following the traditional Amish Friendship Bread recipe is sweet and tastes more like a cake.

The starter may be used to make lots of different types of bread.I asked our friend Carol for the recipe and she emailed it to me the other day. (Thanks Carol)

With the freezing rain, sleet and snow that is being called for the entire weekend here in Missouri, I know what I am planning on doing – making some of this tasty bread for some friends.

Amish Friendship Bread Starter and Recipe
To start the bread:“Day 1” mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
(Do not refrigerate. If air gets in the bag, let it out. It will be normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment.)

Day 1 If you receive the bag – do nothing. (Or you make it from scratch)
Day 2 Squeeze the bag.
Day 3 Squeeze the bag.
Day 4 Squeeze the bag.
Day 5 Squeeze the bag.
Day 6 Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk
Day 7 Squeeze the bag.
Day 8 Squeeze the bag.
Day 9 Squeeze the bag.
Day 10 Combine in a large non-metal bowl—the batter and add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mix with a wooden spoon (or plastic one).

Pour four, 1 cup starters into 4 large ziplock bags. Keep one for yourself and give three starters with instructions to friends.

Mix in with the remaining batter:
1 cup oil
½ t. salt
1 cup sugar
½ t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. baking powder
3 large eggs
2 t. cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup milk
1 large box instant vanilla pudding

Pour into 2 large greased and sugared (cinnamon & sugar) loaf pans. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top if desired. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.I usually split the recipe into four batches. Give away as many batches as you do not want, and use the rest for bread. Each batch would make 2 loaves.

If you are starting this recipe from scratch, on “Day 1” mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.

If you mix the sugar and flour together and then mix the milk in with the sugar/flour mixture it does not clump together as much.

Nuts may be added.Less rich bread? Substitute ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce for 1 cup oil.

The sugar in the last addition may also be reduced by about half.Pistachio pudding or any other kind may be substituted.

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