Back in the days of covered wagons and no electricity it wasn’t possible to run to the store to buy a loaf of bread when you need some, and families had to rely on homemade bread instead. It was even hard to purchase yeast; so many breads were made using starters. The Amish people still do this today, which is why Friendship Bread is often called Amish Friendship Bread. In fact, many families have had the same starter in their families for years.
Friendship bread is typically delicious sweet bread, but throughout the years many other recipe variations have been developed using the starter as well. Sharing a bread starter with friends and family is seen as an act of love and neighborliness.
To get started you will need to create what is called a “starter”. The recipe for the starter has very few ingredients and is not complicated to put together.
Keep in mind before beginning that you never want to use anything metal in a bread starter. In a small glass container or bowl add one (¼ ounce) package of active dry yeast and ¼ cup of warm water (110 degrees F) and stir to dissolve. Allow yeast mixture to rest for 10 minutes before adding it to the other ingredients. This process is called proofing the yeast. After 10 minutes the yeast mixture should have changed and gotten foamy. This means the yeast is alive.
Mix together 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar in a 2 quart glass or plastic bowl. Stir in 1 cup of milk slowly, making sure there are no lumps, and then add the yeast mixture and mix well. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it on the counter at room temperature. Throughout the whole process you will not put your starter in the refrigerator. Your starter is now done and you can consider this DAY 1 in the process of making Friendship Bread.
Here are the directions that you will send along with the starter when you go to share it with your friends and family.
DAY 1: Do nothing
DAY 2: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 3: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 4: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 5: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 6: Stir in 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk
DAY 7: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 8: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 9: Stir mixture with a wooden spoon.
DAY 10: Follow these directions for dividing the starter to share:
Add 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups of sugar and 1 ½ cups of milk and stir mixture with a wooden spoon. Measure out three, 1 cup portions and add each portion to a plastic bowl that you are willing to give away or a gallon sized zip top bag. Make a copy of the recipe and the directions and you are ready to give away those three portions. If you are using plastic bags make sure to let the air out so that the bag does not pop.
It’s also a nice thought to send along a mini loaf or a few slices of the baked Friendship bread so that your friends will know what to look forward to making.
To bake the bread you’ll need to follow these instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
To the starter that’s still in the bowl you will add the following ingredients:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 box of instant vanilla pudding (or choose your favorite flavor)
- 1 Cup nuts (optional)
- 1 Cup raisins (optional)
Grease two large loaf pans with butter. Dust the pans with sugar instead of flour.
Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Sprinkle the top with a cinnamon and sugar mixture made up of ½ cup sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon.
Bake for 1 hour or until the bread comes away from the side and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Note: If you run out of friends to share the starter with you can freeze the bags of starter. Make sure that you label them with what it is and the date you put it in the freezer. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours to thaw at room temperature.
If at any time you want to delay starting a new cycle you can put the starter in the refrigerator.Taken From Babysitters