My sister-in-law brought by an Amish friendship bread starter the other day. Reading over the instructions, I decided to tweak the instructions just a little. Enjoy!
Amish Friendship Bread
Don’t use metal spoons or bowls for mixing. Don’t refrigerate the starter unless you’re lazy or forgetful. Then you can refrigerate it. Just mush it when you remember it. It’s supposed to bubble and ferment, but be sure to let the air out of the bag; it might pop.
Day 1: Accept the starter. Say thank you. Put it on the counter. Glance at the instructions, pretending to be interested. Begin plotting who you’ll foist this on next week.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Squish the bag. Think about who would actually accept this.
Day 4: Let your toddler mush the bag.
Day 5: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Oh and guess what? Mush the bag.
Day 6: If you forgot to add that stuff yesterday, do it today. And mush the bag.
Day 7: Squeeze the bag repeatedly.
Day 8: Remember that you only have two days to figure out who to give the starters to. Panic. Beat the bag to vent your aggressions.
Day 9: Mash the bag. Make a list of all your friends within driving distance. Call two of them to ask if they’d like friendship bread. Sense their hesitation. Decide not to call anyone else and just drop in bearing ‘gifts.’ Go get gallon zipper bags if you’re running low and photocopy the instructions.
Day 10: Mix and divide the starter. Pour the contents of the bag into a bowl (remember non metal) adding 1.5 c flour, 1.5 c sugar and 1.5 c milk. Mix (though, if you’re on a roll, you could certainly try pouring all these into the bag and . . . you know, mushing it). Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 4 gallon zipper bags. Write the date on the bags. Look at your list of friends again. Pick the three or four you can afford to lose if necessary. Give them the bags later. Heck, you could even ease their ‘burden’ by giving them the bags on day four. Or five. Or nine. Don’t forget to include the instructions.
With the remaining batter in the bowl, make bread. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add
1 c oil (or 0.5 c oil and 0.5 c applesauce)
0.5 c milk
1 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
1.75 to 2 c flour
1 large box instant pudding mix (any flavor. Very Amish, yes?)
Grease 2 large loaf pans and divide mixture. Bake 55-60 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the top before or after baking.
If you keep a starter bag for yourself, you must be a glutton for punishment. Or you need the stress relief of four seconds of squishing a somewhat viscous liquid. Maybe you should get a bag of honey instead. But, hey, you could have fresh Amish bread every 10 days. And continue forcing the starters on your friends. Until you run out of friends.
Only the Amish know how to create a starter bag, but apparently they got on Allrecipes. If you give away all your starters, you’ll have to wait until someone gives you one back. But I’m sure your friends would be eager to return the favor if you’d like one.
Experiment with bananas, raisins, nuts and other mix-ins (I saw a comment on Allrecipes that said they added crushed pineapple and coconut) and other flavors of pudding mix.
After the stress of baking and probably losing your daily four seconds of stress relief, it’s probably time to sit down with your loaves of Amish bread and eat them both in a single sitting.
It can’t be fattening if it’s Amish, right?