Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Chain Letter of Baking

2 weeks ago, my neighbor across the street scared the snot out of me. I was excorting Chris up the driveway after preschool when I hear, "Hey Neighbor, you like to bake?" What? I turn, and his police car is stopped at the end of the driveway, always a little heartstopping, and his police dog is barking at us. Surely I heard wrong. Yeah, no, he asked me if I bake. "Like desserts and stuff?" Odd questions. But yes I do. I prefer to bake than to cooking. I can't stand dealing with raw meat, so that limits my cooking options. But how did he know this?
Well, he proceeds to explain that he had been given "Amish Friendship Bread Starter" and was making a batch, and when they make it, it makes the best bread he's ever had, and yields 3 extra starters to pass on friends, and would I be interested? Would I?! Yah!
So, a few days later, I received my starter, with my sheet of cryptic instructions on fermenting it for 10 days before I actually got baking.

Amish Friendship Bread
DO NOT refrigerate -It is normal to raise, bubble and ferment. Burp as needed.
Day 2 Mush the bag
Day 3 Mush the bag
Day 4 Mush the bag
Day 5 Mush the bag
Day 6 Add to bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk, then Mush bag
Day 7 Mush the bag
Day 8 Mush the bag
Day 9 Mush the bag
Day 10 Follow the instructions below:
1. Pour entire mixture from bag into a NON-METAL bowl.
2. Add 1½ cups flour, 1½ cups sugar and 1½ cups milk. Mix.
3. Measure 1 cup of batter into each of 4 – one gallon Ziploc bags. Label with the date.
Keep a starter for yourself and give the other three to friends, along with a copy of this recipe.
4. Preheat oven to 325° F.
5. To the remaining batter add: 3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup milk, ½ tsp. vanilla, 1½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, 2 cups flour, 1 large box vanilla instant pudding, ½ tsp. salt
6. Grease 2 loaf pans.
7. In a small bowl mix together ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture.
8. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture on top.
9. Bake at least one hour. Cool the bread until it loosens evenly from the pan (10 min.). Serve warm or cold!

*If you keep a starter for yourself, you’ll be baking every 10 days. The bread is very good and makes great gifts. Only the Amish know how to create the starter, so if you give them all away, you will have to wait until someone gives you one back. (This is not exactly true, I googled and found recipes for starter on the internet.)
*You may use different kinds of puddings and/or extracts. Try adding raisins, nuts, fruit or chocolate chips. You can also make muffins (makes 3 dozen) or use 1 bundt pan.

So this was my first experiment with it, and DUDE, it is YUMMY! It's very moist, and tastes like coffee cake. Eric, though avoiding carbs, tested it 'for science' and with high praise declared, "This could be a breakfast, lunch, brunch, or even just a snack."
Imagine what I can do if I follow the recipe that leads to Sourdough bread, or with chocolate chips, and chocolate pudding, which I'm SO doing next time. So Exciting!

If you are interested in a starter, and giving it a go on your own, let me know. I have 1 more starter from the batch I made Sunday left, I'm on day 5. (I also learned from the internet that it is possible to freeze or refrigerate the starter, if you get tired of it. I'm not there yet.)


Jenibug7 said...

I can't believe you hadn't done this before! Isn't it amazing?! But the starter in a ziplok looks kinds gross. lol Still, it really is the most amazing bread!

Carrie said...

If you have one when I see you next week, I'm interested! I LOVE Amish friendship bread! My mom made it and gave it away at my baby shower, but I've never had a starter myself.