Sunday, October 10, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread Makes Enemies

If you have ever been tagged by a “friend” with a sloppy soppy bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter then you know it’s a culinary chain letter. You feel pleased at first that someone thought of you as their friend and wanted to share this started with you so you too can enjoy this luscious sweet bread. The you realize you end up with 4 batches and must bestow this “gift” on someone else, a friend who won’t be after you give it to them.

Being a foodie, I get pegged a lot for this kind of thing. Ren got me last year and I ended up giving the three subsequent bags of starter to my sisters who all threw it in the trash. This year Ted gave me some starter and I am refusing to waste it or share it unbaked with anyone. This is where math comes in handy. (Which is ironic since I was speaking with a woman who said she didn’t think it was any big deal if her child didn’t learn math since he was going to be an artist or something creative. Ren chimed in and told her that she is an artist and uses math all the time for dimensions, mixing colors and whatnot. I agreed, sharing that in cooking math is incredibly important. I just wonder about people sometimes.)

So I figured out the gram weights of the dry ingredients, divided by four and made just enough to make a couple batches to share at work and one starter for next week. The original batch I made as directed (almost – I cut the sugar and oil in half) but the second batch I played with a bit substituting butterscotch pudding for vanilla and adding in butterscotch chips. I also made them as mini muffins instead of a loaf. I just love messing with the rules.

The butterscotch was very well received at work and now I need to top it with the last batch of starter and then move on to something else. Also I don’t consider it as much a quick bread as a cake since the consistency is a bit spongey and not so dense. The sourdough starter is pretty cool though and will raise a few eyebrows when you add a cup of milk and leave it on the counter.

Is Amish Bread Really Amish? I did some sporadic investigating on the Web and nothing proves that this is really an Amish recipe. It does contain powdered pudding which isn’t all natural so I would say it isn’t all Amish either. I don’t know much about the Amish, but with a large Mennonite community in Sarasota I have learned a little and one thing is that they don’t like fake foods. I guess if you used pudding from the health food store it may pass as Amish-like.

Whether you want to take the time to make this or not, it is a delightful tasting snack and with 4 batches to work with after the 10 days, it could be a quick all-in-one for those who like to give treats during the holidays.

Important Note: Don't use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers.


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

Mix the yeast and water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour into a gallon-size plastic zip bag. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mush together until everything is dissolved and you have a batter. This is day 1.

1 cup live yeast starter

day 1: Do nothing with the starter.

days 2-5: Squish the bag

day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.

days 7-9: Squish the bag

Day 10: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic bags. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends.

To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt

Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

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