When I was in Girl Scouts, I was passed a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My Mom dutifully worked the starter for ten days before baking the bread and passing it on to other friends. Growing up in a small town, we received the starter over and over until my Mom just threw it out – after a while, it was simply too much.
I’m not sure what made me think of this, but once it popped into my head I had to have some of that Amish Friendship bread. It’s sweet, chewy and full of cinnamon. So good. After a bit of internet research, I found that I could easily create my own starter. Even better, I found a ton of tips on cutting down the amount of starter you make and other recipes you could make with the starter. It seemed like the perfect cure to the issues my Mom faced during my Girl Scout days.
I’ve now been keeping my starter going for about two months. I was hesitant to blog this at first – ten days of prep is an awful lot of work for some bread – but I’ve been having a great time trying out different recipes with the starter. Today, I’m sharing the recipe for the Amish friendship bread starter and the classic Amish friendship bread recipe. The rest of the week, I’ll be sharing additional recipes using the starter.
Working with Amish friendship bread starter is definitely a lesson in delayed gratification – but I think it’s worth it.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
(from Moms Who Think)
Makes 1 starter
2 1/4 t. (or 1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (110F degrees)
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. warm milk (110F degrees)
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup 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. Transfer to a gallon-sized plastic ziploc bag. Consider this day 1 of the cycle.
Day 1 – Start or receive your starter.
Day 2 – Stir.
Day 3 – Stir.
Day 4 – Stir.
Day 5 – For a full batch, add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk. For a half batch, add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of milk. Stir.
Day 6 – Stir.
Day 7 – Stir.
Day 8 – Stir.
Day 9 – Stir.
Day 10 – For a full batch, add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk. For a half batch, add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of milk. Stir.
If you’ve made a full batch, divide the starter into 4 separate containers with 1 cup of starter in each. If you’ve made a half batch, divide the starter into 2 separate containers of 1 cup of starter in each. These can then be used in friendship bread recipes or given to friends to create their own starter.
Hints and tips:
- Do not use any metal bowls, spoons, etc. on the starter. It will give your starter a metallic taste. It is okay to use metal when mixing up your friendship bread recipes, though. I keep my starter in a glass canning jar, topped with plastic wrap and a canning ring.
- The starter should smell yeasty – like bread or beer.
- The starter may separate. This is fine – just give it a stir!
- If the bag gets too puffy, let some air out. If you don’t, the bag could explode and you’ll have a mess!
- Once the starter has been through its first 10-day cycle, it can be frozen. To use it in the future, just let it come to room temperature for a few hours before baking with it.
Classic Amish Friendship Bread
(from Moms Who Think)
Makes 2 loaves
1 c. Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Grease two bread pans with butter and sprinkle with sugar instead of flour.
In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together by hand until well blended.
Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.