I remember the first time I had this bread was more than 17 years ago when we first moved to Utah from California. One of my new neighbors brought me over a loaf as a “Welcome To The Neighborhood” offering. It was over that loaf of bread that Amber and I became BFF’s. :-) For years we have been sharing this bread with each other. Whenever one of us makes it…we make sure and give the other a loaf….and a starter.
Last week, after living across the street from each other for over 17 years, she moved away. :-( (OK…she only moved about 1 mile and a half away….but still….) So as a “Thanks For Being Such A Great Neighbor All These Years” gift….I broke out the old Amish Friendship Bread recipe. I haven’t made it for a couple of years, so I had to make my own “starter” for it (which is a ten-day process) but I figured her friendship was worth it. :-) And after the ten days I would have several starters and some delicious bread. A Win-Win.
What is a “starter” you ask? A starter is an “old-fashioned” method of leavening bread dough. Flour, water, and yeast, are allowed to ferment for different periods of time depending on the type of bread. A starter can also contain milk, sugar, or honey, which help speed the fermentation process. While starter breads require much more time to prepare, the flavor and texture of the bread is almost impossible to achieve with other leavening methods.
So now you know WHAT a starter is….and WHY it’s worth the wait….let’s make one.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass containers when making this. Do not use metal! There’s a chemical reaction that occurs between the fermenting starter and metal. If your metal utensils and bowls are stainless steel it will probably be fine…but if they are scratched up at all, it will spoil your starter.
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110ish degrees F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110ish degrees F)
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture until combined.
Pour into a one gallon sized plastic baggie (or a plastic container). The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.
For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread below.
One of the reasons this is called “Friendship Bread” is obviously because it’s fun to share the bread and the starter with a friend. Typically, when you give the bread and a starter to that friend, you give it with instructions on what to do with the starter and the recipe for the bread. Here is how that info was given to me many moons ago!
(CLICK HERE for printable PDF)
AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD
NOTE: Do not refrigerate starter. It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment. If the bag starts to puff up, let some of the air out.
Day 1: Do nothing.
Day 2: Mash the bag.
Day 3: Mash the bag.
Day 4: Mash the bag.
Day 5: Mash the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.
Day 7: Mash the bag.
Day 8: Mash the bag.
Day 9: Mash the bag.
Day 10: Follow the directions below:
Pour the entire bag into a nonmetal bowl.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk.
Measure out 1 cup of batter into 4 separate 1-gallon Ziploc bags.
Keep one of the bags for yourself, and give the other bags to 3 friends along with the recipe.
OK….we’ve waited LONG ENOUGH! Let’s make the bread!
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 large or 2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding
Preheat oven to 325° F
In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
Grease two large loaf pans.
Dust the greased pans with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture on the top.
Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens easily from the sides and a toothpick or knife blade inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Now it’s time to reward yourself for being SO PATIENT by treating yourself to a slice or two…or three. I had a nice thick slice of this for breakfast this morning with a nice, hot cup of Pero and it was DIVINE!!!
And after you treat YOURSELF…don’t forget to treat a friend and share the deliciousness! Here is a cute packaging idea from Ms. Martha Stewart that I decided to try my hand at. It was fun to make and I think it makes a very nice presentation.
If you’ve had this bread before you KNOW how good it is and won’t have to be convinced that it’s definitely WORTH THE WAIT! If you HAVEN’T ever had it before….you’re going to have to trust me on this one. This bread is SOOOO delicious! I guarantee you will be either singing my praises for introducing it to you….or cursing my name because it’s SO addicting! lol. I hope it’s the former. :-)
P.S. I know I’ve given you a LOT of information here, and I’m certain there are going to be a LOT of questions. As always, I will do my best to answer (and, as always, I appreciate the people who jump in and answer questions in the comments. THANK YOU!)….but I wanted to point you in the direction of a terrific website called Friendship Bread Kitchen that has a Frequently Asked Questions section that addresses every question I think there could possibly be about this whole thing. It’s a GREAT resource!