Friday, September 9, 2011

More Friendship


Four years ago, I had a fascination, maybe even a devotion, to Amish Friendship Bread.  You know, the bread-starter-in-a-bag that friends press you to take and that you have to feed like a pet for more than a week . . .and then it multiplies!  And you become the friend begging to give it away.  


Well, it's back on my mind.  We have a bake sale coming up in early October and then several needs for baked goods in December, including Daisy Scouts, teacher gifts, holiday entertaining.  And friendship bread is a great way to get the kids involved and have some fun.  What's not fun about squishing a bag for 10 days, adding some ingredients, and having a great treat?  Okay, so pudding isn't my favorite ingredient, and I'm not really sure why it's needed, but it's only once in awhile . . . (or, here and here are some recipes that don't need pudding.)


So, watch out friends, here comes . . . 

Amish Friendship Bread


Please note the following:
*Do NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing.
*Do NOT refrigerate.
*If air gets into the bag, let it out.
*It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment.

Day 1: Do nothing (This is the day you receive the batter. The bag is dated.)
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:
1. Pour entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 cups milk.
2. Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 1 gallon zipper bags. Keep a starter bag for yourself and give 3 to friends with a copy of this recipe (note: if you keep a starter bag, you will be baking every 10 days). The bread makes a great gift. Should this recipe not be passed on to a friend on the first day, be certain to tell the friend which day the bag is in the cycle when presented to them.

Baking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. To the remaining batter in the bowl add:
3 eggs
1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 box instant vanilla or chocolate pudding
raisins or nuts to taste
3. Grease two large loaf pans. Mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust the pans with half of the mixture.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top.
5. Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens evenly from the sides of the pan (about 10 minutes).
6. Turn onto a serving dish. Serve to friends and loved ones.


I have learned a few things about the bread, either directly or from internet research:
*You can wait a day or two to bake it.
*Each bread recipe (making 2 loaves) uses about 2 cups of starter (perhaps a little less). Or, 1 cup per loaf.
*Liquid egg substitutes work.
*Don't use the starter if it turns pink.
*It will die if you don't feed it.
*Despite milk sitting out unrefrigerated for 10 days, the bread is generally considered safe.  The milk ferments, with the acid preventing "bad" bacteria.  And then you bake it.  Of course, if it smells awful (not just sour but gross) or turns red/orange or moldy, throw it out.
*My friend notes that various internet sites indicate you can refrigerate or freeze the starter to delay using it. There are also other recipes that use the starter.


Note: If you want to start your own friendship bread bag of goo, my original recipe included the following information:

Starter:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Mix in a large zipper bag or other non-metallic container. Metal makes it taste funny. Begin 10 day cycle.

[Alternative: 1 package Active dry yeast, 2 ½ cup warm water, 2 cups sifted flour, 1 tablespoon sugar. Dissolve yeast in ½ cup of warm water in a glass or plastic container. Stir in remaining warm water, flour, and sugar. Beat until smooth. Begin 10 day cycle.]


Variations:

This might be might be my favorite Amish Friendship Bread yet: chocolate pudding, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 a bag of Nestle chocolate chunks. It's not too sweet, good texture, perfect for late-night snacking and also for breakfast.

Orange Chocolate: chocolate pudding, chocolate chunks, 2 teaspoons orange peels, and 2 teaspoons orange extract.

Regular: I used the standard recipe with chocolate pudding and a handful of raisins.

Dried Cranberry: add 1 cup of dried cranberries (I used orange-flavored craisins).

Strawberry: use 1 package of strawberry jello instead of vanilla pudding and 1 cup of frozen strawberries (defrosted); be sure to include cinnamon

*Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread: Omit cinnamon and vanilla pudding from the basic recipe and add 1 (5.1 oz) box of instant chocolate pudding, 3 tsp. cocoa and 3/4 cup
chocolate chips. Bake for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

*Almond Amish Friendship Bread: Here's one we came up with ourselves .... Substitute almond ALMOND flavoring (NOT Imitation) for the vanilla flavoring, substitute
WHITE CHOCOLATE pudding for the vanilla pudding....`
*Lemon Poppyseed Amish Friendship Bread: Use two small pkgs. of lemon pudding rather than the vanilla and lemon flavoring in place of vanilla flavoring. Add one tablespoon of poppyseed. This is excellent for making lemon-poppyseed muffins.

*Banana Amish Friendship Bread: Use banana cream pie pudding and two mashed bananas. I have also added 1/4 cup of chocolate chip to this on occasion. I use the small bundt pans and bake for about 40 - 50 minutes.

*Caramel Apple Amish Friendship Bread: with dried apples and caramel instant pudding (makes it like caramel apples).

*Amish Friendship Gingerbread: Substitute 2 tablespoons molasses for equal amount of sugar and add spices to make gingerbread.

*Tropical Amish Friendship Bread: I add 1 cup of drained crushed pineapple, 1 cup shredded coconut and pistachio pudding (instead of vanilla). Very yummy. [some variations add ¾ cup macadamia nuts and cheesecake pudding instead]

*Amish Friendship Fruitcake: "I tried the standard recipe for cake with the vanilla pudding, cinnamon and added glazed fruit mix with walnuts and almonds. The
result was a tasty fruitcake."

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