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Amish “Friendship” Bread

My apologies in advance to Keisha, who cared so very much for her starter that she was compelled to share it with someone she thought would take good care. I also apologize to any Amish or Amish-friendly readers. I don’t hate. And I cleaned up my language a bit for this post, although I think it reads much better with the original expletives.

I have been doing my share of cooking and baking over the holidays. It was actually a breath of fresh air to have some time off that could be spent in the kitchen once again. And then along came the starter for Amish Friendship bread. After 10 days of care which in fact produced two (delicious) loaves to share at the office, I was compelled to re-write the recipe. If you’ve ever received a starter from a, shall we call them “friend”, then you will likely appreciate my re-write.

Amish “Friendship” Bread

You’ve just been given a starter to make Amish Friendship Bread.

The polite thing to do would be to look your “gift-giver” in the eye and say, “why thank you so much.” Fight the urge to say things like, “what the !@#& is Amish Bread” or, “this sh#t looks gross.” There will be plenty time for swearing later.

You’ll notice there are dates on your plastic Ziplock bag. These are written there for your convenience, in the rare instance that you really don’t know what the hell you’re doing or how to count.

The original directions tell you DO NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing. Only use a wooden spoon hand-carved by Abraham, the little Amish boy you purchased the spoon from at the Viroqua farmer’s market. Okay, it didn’t say that, just don’t freakin use any metal!

The original directions also tell you DO NOT refrigerate. Apparently your starter hates winter as much as you do. Also, if any air gets in the bag, let it out. Seriously, open up the bag, squish out the air and zip the bag back up again, leaving that lifeless son-of-a-bitch starter with nothing to breathe.

So you wonder why you – should you be a childless person by choice – have been given something that requires daily attention. Yes, that is the compelling question – WHY MEEEEEEE?

It is normal for the batter to rise, bubble and ferment. Consider this cheap entertainment.

So here is what you need to do:

Day 1: Nothing. Enjoy this day, for it is the last day of freedom you will ever experience.

Day 2: Mush the bag. That’s right, get in there and give it a good massage. Ignore the fact that it feels like a bag of snot. Squish it!

Day 3: Mush the bag. Let out any air any time you mush the bag. Repeat after me, “mush the bag.”

Day 4: Mush the bag. Seriously? If you’re like me and forgot to mush the bag on day 2 or 3, your bag is just begging to be mushed.

Day 5: Mush the bag. What the @#$&? I hate you Amish starter-giver!

Day 6: Add to the bag – 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk. Remember what you learned on the day you first got this recipe – don’t use any metal stupid! To mix, simply…wait for it… mush the bag.

Day 7: Mush the bag.

Day 8: Mush the bag and curse your pitiful life.

Day 9: Mush the bag and seek therapy.

Day 10: Oh I know you’ve waited for day 10 to arrive. This is where it gets really exciting.

  1. Pour the starter into a large NON METAL bowl. Didn’t you learn anything?
  2. Feed the starter by adding 1.5 cups of flour, 1.5 cups of sugar, and 1.5 cups of milk. Think about all the flour, sugar, and milk you’ve just wasted on some unsuspecting suckers you’re going to give this to.
  3. Mix this up – mind you, without using metal. Forget that, there are lumps developing everywhere in this crap. Okay, calm down and follow the rules, DO NOT use metal when mixing.
  4. Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each to give to your friends, and keep the cup that remains to make your friendship bread. Remember to date the bags just like they were dated when you received this precious gift of love.

I read the original recipe and quite honestly, stopped dead in my tracks at the step where I was to add 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding mix. What, the Amish have a secret underground ring of instant pudding smuggling just to make this stuff? I thought they were the original made from scratchers? Seriously, vanilla pudding as an ingredient didn’t sound good to me at all. So I found this simple recipe on the internet which quite honestly gave me hope that this whole ordeal would soon be over with.

1 cup starter

2/3 cup oil

3 eggs

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

There, that’s more like it. Now turn the oven on to 350° and grease 2 bread pans. Time to get creative. Mix up the above ingredients (I took the liberty of using a metal  whisk, and holy hell did that feel great). Now add whatever the @#$% you want to this batter. The recipe I found suggested nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. I added chocolate chips to one, topped with crushed walnuts. For the second bread I coated the bottom of the bread pan with brown sugar and chopped walnuts before pouring in the batter.

Divide into the two bread pans and bake for 40-45 minutes. If you like the results, thank me later. If you don’t, well too bad suck-a cuz I got you to jump through all these Amish hoops for nothing.

BTW – you do need a starter to make this – but where does the starter come from?

About outpostcoop

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25 responses »

  1. Thanks for the huge laugh on a Friday morning! It will have me smiling all day!

  2. Ginger Oppenheimer

    THANK you for this hilarious post. My husband was given one of these bags of mush from a coworker and I just laughed out loud when I saw the recipe. Like you, Pam, I was agog at the idea of a box of vanilla pudding in an “Amish” recipe. I would never use a box of pudding for any reason anyway, so why would we want to put it in this *very special* Amish bread? BTW, since the “gift” was to my husband, I let him take care of every step. He mushed and mushed and mushed, then made the breads, eventually ate about half of one of the loaves and took the other loaf to work (where, I suspect there were likely 137 Amish loaves plunked down that week). I’ll tell you the only thing this recipe served to do: with the help of large servings of Christmas nog, everyone acted like a bunch of blind lemmings and all of our brains turned to mush. I say: never accept a bag of snot attached to a recipe with the word friendship in it.

  3. I did this once. You can make good breads with starters (flour, water, and yeast – maybe a little sugar but not as much as this recipe uses) that you grow over several days, but this is really a cake and it’s mostly risen by baking powder. Slowly growing a starter contributes flavor to bread, but I think the pudding mix pretty much wipes that out. So the starter business is a sort of fun waste of time. I think somewhere along the line somebody mixed a sourdough friendship bread recipe with a pudding mix cake recipe.

  4. Really loved your hilarious post! Some years ago I received a starter called Herman from a co-worker. Herman was enclosed in a margarine tub. He lived with us for a few days and then was tossed in the trash without a pang, I’m afraid. Don’t remember the recipe that was attached, but I do remember many of my co-workers bringing “breads” to work a week or so later. Ahhh, memories. Who has time for this stuff now? I’m way too busy texting and catching up on facebook :-).

  5. I’m cracking up still as I write this comment. Hilarious. I want to try your re-designed way too! I agree – the pudding element didn’t seem too “Amish” to me either so I tended to mix it up my own way too, although I definitely like the flavoring of the pudding (I usually use chocolate or white chocolate w/ some added white chocolate chips!) Amish bread is a really big thing here in the south – so I applaud you for giving it your own creative adjustment… Now…. since I was so nice to give you this amazing starter (ha!)…. send me a loaf! 🙂

  6. OK, you’ve seriously lost it.

  7. lol. ( I really wanted to say lmfao, but what with all your talk about “cleaning up the language”, thought I shouldn’t say that!)

  8. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thank you for this Monday morning pick me up! Yeah, I couldn’t deal with that much responsibility right now:)

  9. My wife used to make this a lot, and it seems silly and weird to me. I agree on the weirdness of some of the recipes– some had so much sugar and oil it tasted like a quickbread you could have made in 15 minutes, despite the weeks of weird maintenance on the starter. oh well.

  10. Pingback: What A Difference A Year Makes « A Year Of Inconvenience

  11. 🙂 Since no one else seems to know this …. at least in MY area, none of the Mennonites (Amish are a type of Mennonite) have recipes for anything that resembles this. I’m not an expert, but I do know a lot of Mennonites. It’s just a sourdough cake recipe and someone decided, decades ago, to stick “Amish” on the name. I belong to a Yahoo group that’s supposedly Amish recipes and it’s funny to see “Amish Chocolate Chip cookies” and such — like they make chocolate chip cookies differently than anyone else.

    Anyway, the real funny part is that no Amish (or other traditional Mennonite) woman would have the time or patience for a quick bread that took ten days!

  12. Pingback: Amish “Friendship” Bread | Kate's Kitchen Garden

  13. You just cracked us up! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and your fantastic sense of humor!

  14. I’ve had this batter/recipe; it makes an OK-tasting pound cake. But. There are cake recipes which are both better AND easier, and don’t contain the non-food-ingredients you’ll find in pudding mix.
    Yeah, you’re making a sourdough starter to put in pound cake, which isn’t a bad idea – my sister’s best friend’s Mom had, in the 1970’s a recipe for sourdough devil’s food cake that was fantastic.
    But I’ve made a lot of sourdough bread, and even studied the history and science of sourdough a little – and the instructions are bunk. You can certainly use stainless steel to mix and store sourdough starter (the original “sourdoughs” – the gold prospectors inthe 19th century- probably sometimes stored it in TIN buckets, plastic being non-existent and glass/ceramic being fragile, and if you broke your sourdough crock you were out of luck for bread-leavening for a while). Stainless steel has only been around since like 1913 or so, so obviously tinned, carbon-steel or enameled spoons were used to stir the starter, and the bread/biscuit dough! I’ve frozen sourdough starter and had it come back just fine, and my mother once stored one in the fridge without touching it for 6 months . . . and had it come back just fine.
    There’s a Mennonite community fairly near where I live, in central TX, and they do shop in grocery stores, drive cars, etc, and generally use more of the modern world than Amish or especially Old Order Amish would . . . I don’t know any of them well enough to ask if they’d use pudding mix, but I’m quite sure no Old Order Amish cook would consider it!

  15. You are awesome! I just found your post and I wish I’d found it before I made my batch! After eating a slice of what I just pulled from the oven I knew there was something just plain wrong. It was absolutely delicious, but the texture was so thick and unpleasant. My nurtured-for-days-by-my-non-nurturing-self recipe had me put a full cup of oil into the mix; no wonder it was thick and greasy! The instant pudding mix just makes the moisture more glue-like, and combined with the extra oil you’ve got a great homesteader recipe for mortar.
    So ten days from now (after ten more days of mushing) I’m going to be using YOUR recipe 🙂

  16. Reblogged this on grandmomof8's Blog and commented:
    I find this very funny considering I just baked the heck out of some starter!

  17. Years ago I read a monthlong diary written by an Amish lady and I can tell you she used a lot of convenience foods. Her meat, eggs and dairy were homegrown, as well as all the produce, but she augmented it with mixes, canned soups, and processed cheese food like nobody’s business. There are no strictures against industrial food. One day she tried a new recipe with canned chow mein vegetables and remarked that her family likes to try new things “like everybody else”.

  18. I like your blog, it has unique content, Thanks!


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