Thursday, March 29, 2012

friends forever :)

so i got an amish friendship bread starter a couple of weeks ago. 
it tried to take over my kitchen... 
but we solved the problem. and we ate it. 
all gone. 
we also gave 3 different starters away. 
but somehow, last week, i ended up getting a new one. (don't you guys have any other friends???)
so it's been sitting on my counter, just begging to be cooked up.
finally, tonight i got to it!
(we'll just pretend that it wasn't midnight when i decided to whip this stuff up...)

(i have no idea where this recipe originated. but i got it from here.)

amish cinnamon friendship bread
important tips:
  • do not use a metal bowl or spoon for mixing (see my note about this below)
  • do not refrigerate.
  • it is normal for batter to thicken, bubble, or ferment
day 1: you receive the fermented batter in a 1 gallon ziploc bag. do nothing. just place the bag on the kitchen counter.
day 2: squeeze the bag several times.
day 3: squeeze the bag several times.
day 4: add 1 c. of flour, 1 c. of sugar, 1 c. of milk. squeeze bag.
day 5: squeeze the bag several times.
day 6: add 1 c. each flour, sugar, and milk. squeeze bag.
day 7: squeeze bag several times.
day 8: squeeze bag several times.
day 9: squeeze bag several times.
day 10: in a large, non-metal bowl, combine batter with 1 c. each flour, sugar, and milk. mix with a wooden spoon. pour four 1-cup starters into individual gallon ziploc bags. give away starters to friends with this set of directions. it is important to follow this sequence exactly.
to the remaining batter add:
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 t. cinnamon
in separate bowl, mix 1 t. cinnamon and 3 T. sugar. sprinkle into well-greased loaf pans and coat the sides with sugar mixture. do not use pam or other non-stick spray. bake at 350° for 1 hour or until done.
banana bread:
  • 1 box instant banana pudding
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 handfuls of nuts
chocolate bread:
  • 1 box of instant choc. pudding
  • 1 T. cocoa
  • 2 handfuls of chocolate chips

now for barb’s unapologetically non-conforming notes:
first, the bit about not using a metal bowl or spoon? horsefeathers. i think this falls into the “mystique” division. i always mix this up in my kitchenaid METAL mixing bowl. the only metal things that I really avoid are old aluminum utensils. aluminum is reactive metal. i haven’t personally seen this recipe react with aluminum, but i avoid it nonetheless. i suspect that the worst that might happen is the batter would take on a grayish cast.
second, it is NOT necessary to follow these steps precisely. if you forget to do anything with your starter for a week, don’t toss it out. if you WANT to delay making the bread up, stick the starter in the fridge. it will last MONTHS in a good, cold fridge. if it turns pink, it’s spoiled and THEN you should throw it out.
third, pam spray works just fine for greasing the loaf pans. maybe forbidding pam spray is supposed to make this sound more amish, but I MUCH prefer the texture that the pam and the sugar makes on the crust.
although my paper doesn’t say this explicitly, i have read many different places that only the amish know how to make the starter and it’s a deep dark secret. but that is also myth. i have no idea if this recipe started in the amish community, but there is nothing magical about the starter.
in fact, if you DO end up throwing out your pink spoiled starter, but have developed a taste for this friendship bread, you can start your own batch. simply put 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. milk, and 1 T. yeast in a ziploc bag and let it sit on the counter. call that Day 1, and you’re good to go.
interesting note: there is a similar recipe in germany called hermann cake. this cake uses a starter as well. i’ve had hermann cake several times over the years in this country, so clearly that is also not a geographically proprietary recipe.
one thing that is NOT a myth is this. you MUST use boxes of instant pudding. cooked pudding mixes gives an entirely different and entirely unacceptable texture to this bread.
one last note: i’ve reduced the oil in the recipe to 2/3 c. with no bad effects.

bon apetit!

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