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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?