One of my neighbors recently gave me a starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I had never heard of it before, but when she handed me a lumpy bag of what looked like bread yeast, I wasn’t sure what to make of the recipe. It looked questionable to me, but I figured if the recipe completely flopped, then it’d still be fun to blog about when it was done.
As it turns out, this bread recipe is amazing. It is sweet, crumbly, and delicious. It tastes great on its own, but I think it goes well with a wide variety of extras like fruit and nuts.
The only downside is the time it takes for making a good starter. It requires a lot of maintenance and time, and it was a little frustrating for me to wait an entire 10 days before I could make the bread. But, it’s definitely worth it.
Ingredients for Starter
My neighbor didn’t give me an ingredient list for the starter. However, a little Googling brought up quite a few options. I’m not sure which starter recipe I had, but I think it’s probably close to this one.
- 1 (.25 Ounce) Package Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 Cup Warm Water
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Cups White Sugar
- 3 Cups Milk
You will also need 4 gallon-sized Ziploc bags to put your starter in, though if you wish, you can simply keep it in a tupperware. The recipe says it should make 4 cups of starter, though I haven’t tried it myself.
Instructions for Starter
I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com.
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.
- In a glass, plastic, or ceramic container (NOT METAL), combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Stir thoroughly or flour will be lumpy when you add the milk.
- Slowly stir 1 cup milk into flour. Then add to dissolved yeast mixture.
- Pour 1 cup starter into each of your Ziploc bags. Let sit at room temperature.
Do NOT refrigerate starter unless you plan on saving it for much later. Cold slows the fermentation process.
Maintaining Your Starter
Once you have your starter – whether through the above recipe or through a friend – there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining it. Yeast is alive, so it needs feeding and care to stay alive and well.
- Day 1 (day you make your starter): Do nothing. The key is to let it sit and get bubbly.
- Day 2: Mash the bag. This gets things moving and keeps the fermentation process going.
- Day 3: Mash the bag. If needed, let the gas out of the bag (so it doesn’t explode).
- Day 4: Mash the bag.
- Day 5: Mash the bag.
- Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk to the bag. And of course, mash it together.
- Day 7: Mash the bag.
- Day 8: Mash the bag.
- Day 9: Mash the bag.
- Day 10: Pour entire bag into nonmetal bowl. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Measure 1 cup into 4 Ziploc bags. Give 3 bags away and keep 1 starter for yourself. With the remaining starter in the bowl, use it to make bread.
Ingredients for Bread
Here’s what you need to have on hand when you decide to make the Amish Friendship bread. Pay close attention to the ingredients because when I made my first batch, I had no idea there was vanilla pudding mix involved and had no way of getting it last minute.
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Oil
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Small Box Vanilla Instant Pudding*
And to dust your bread for an extra sugary sweetness, you’ll need this.
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
*Note: As it turns out, Amish bread doesn’t need vanilla pudding to be tasty. I made the bread the first time without the vanilla pudding and it was still fantastic. The second time around I used the vanilla pudding and it made it more moist and cake like, taking a good recipe into an even more tasty one.
Instructions for Bread
Here’s how to make the bread. This is probably the easiest part of the recipe, which is good because the starter takes so much work I feel this compensates for it.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add all the ingredients into the bowl with the remaining starter and mix until smooth.
- Grease 2 large bread pans.
- Dust pans with sugar and cinnamon mix.
- Pour bread mixture into pans.
- Dust the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter.
- Cook for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.
- Use a knife to cut around the edges of the pan.
- Let cool for 1 hour and then turn loaves out of pan.
- Let cool completely.
Nutritional Information for Bread
This nutrition is for one slice, assuming you cut your loaf into 12 slices. I calculated this using the MyFitnessPal App. This isn’t precise because it varies depending on which brands you use and how much sugar you put on the bread, and how much starter ends up in your recipe (which I suspect varies depending on how well it grows).
- Total Calories: 265
- Total Fat: 9.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.3 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 5.1 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 26.8 mg
- Sodium: 188.8 mg
- Potassium: 67.6 mg
- Total Carbs: 39.5 g
- Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
- Sugars: 24.5 g
- Protein: 3.3 g
- Vitamin A: 0.4%
- Vitamin C: 0%
- Calcium: 4.4%
- Iron: 4.4%
Look at Me Cook!
Here’s the starter bag after several days of mashing and repeating. As you can see, it’s pretty bubbly. Every so often I had to let out the gas or the bag would probably explode. The gas smelled a bit like soggy bread – just so you know.
This is the starter in a plastic bowl. I’m not sure why all the Amish bread recipes advise against metal – I think the yeast somehow interacts with it.
But, it turned out just fine!
Better than fine, actually. The bread was tasty even without the vanilla pudding mix. It took me a while to build up enough courage to try it, but once I did, I couldn’t stop. It was extremely addicting and tasty. The texture is more like a cake than a slice of bread – I actually cut it with a butter knife than a bread knife because it cut easily.
Assuming you keep a starter for yourself, you’ll be able to make this bread every 10 days. If you feel like the starter is taking over your life, you can freeze it and save it for later. Just allow the yeast to thaw for at least 3 hours before using it again.
Also, if you have any other questions about Amish bread, Friendship Bread Kitchen offers some great answers.
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