Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Have you ever been given a bag of "starter"?  If not, you probably have no idea what I am talking about.  The "starter" is a mixture of yeast, water, flour, sugar and milk that has been sitting out for at least 10 days, but probably longer.  Everyday, you have to do something special to the bag and then on the 10th day, you divide it up the and pass it along to your friends.  You then use the "starter" to start the process over again or use it right away to make some amazing bread.  

This is not one of those breads you can jump up and make as soon as you get a craving for it, you have to plan ahead to make this bread.  I was lucky enough to be given a bag of "starter" from my friend, Nicole.  I chose to make my bread right away.  This is one of my favorite breads.  I have been hooked since the first time I tasted it.  It has the perfect texture and flavor!!! I have included the recipe to make your own "starter", what to do with it and how to make bread with it.
Amish Friendship Bread

2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
3 1/2 c. flour, divided
3 1/2 c. white sugar, divided
3 1/2 c. milk, divided

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a 2 quart, glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar.  Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added.  Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.  Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly.  Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle.  Add mixture to a large zip-lock bag.  Leave at room temperature.

Days 2 through 5, mash the bag with your hands.  On day 6, add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mash the bag.  Days 7 through 9, mash the bag.  Day 10, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups milk.  Get out 4 large zip-lock bags.  Measure out 4 cups of batter and place 1 cup into each zip-lock bag.  Keep one starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with this recipe.  (You might have a little extra batter, because we added an extra 1/2 cup of each ingredient on day 10.  This is because it is kind of hard to get the batter out of the bag, it sticks in all the little creases,  so the extra is to make sure you have enough for each bag).  Your friends can either make the recipe below or start the 10 day process over again.  
1 c. bread starter
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 (5 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
Topping:  1/4 c. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large, non-metal bowl, stir together the starter mix, oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs and milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir into the starter mixture.  Mix in the box of vanilla pudding.  Grease two large loaf pans.  Mix an additional 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon together and dust the loaf pans with half this mixture.  Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.  Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  This is also really good made into muffins!  

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