Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chain letter of baking - Amish friendship bread


I vaguely remember Amish Friendship Bread starter making the rounds of friends and family when I was growing up, but until last month, I had forgotten all about it. Then ten days before Kelsey's birthday, Dave brought home a plastic bag of starter from one of his friends at work. The timing was perfect as it takes 10 days to make the bread. 

Now for those of you who aren't familiar with this sweet bread or are years removed from it (as I was), basically you get a starter from someone and for the first five days, you just let it sit on the counter in its plastic bag and squish it a couple times throughout the day. On the sixth day, you add 1 c. flour, 1 c. milk, and 1 c. sugar. Then it sits on the counter for the next 3 days, again you just squish it a few times during the day.  On day 10,  you add another 1 c. flour, 1 c. milk, 1 c. sugar and squish it all up in the bag. From the bag, you extract enough batter to make 4 starters for future loaves and to the rest, you add a list of ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, etc) and bake up your bread. The idea behind the starters is that you keep one starter for the next time (it will keep in the freezer) and give the remaining 3 of them to friends who will make their own loaves and starters to pass on to their friends, etc. in a never-ending chain letter of baking. 

Now, when Dave first brought the starter home from work, I was really looking forward to making the bread, but was unsure that anyone I knew would want a starter (I have this mental image of friends running away from me to escape the evil bread starter - there are a few of these stories on-line). So rather than make the four starters, I only made one (which I froze for the future) and used the extra remaining batter to make a second batch of the bread (the first was the plain vanilla and cinnamon, the second was chocolate chocolate chip).  As it turns out, one of my friends at the party wanted a starter and I hadn't saved any extra. Oops! 

So I promised that she could have a starter out of the next batch. And here we are.  I've baked up a new batch and have 4 brand new starters. One I put into the freezer for us, two I now have promised to friends, but that still leaves 1 (not to mention any I make in the future)!

So here goes...is there anyone local out there that would like one? Just post a comment on today's blog indicating you're interested and it's yours (if I end up with more requests than starters, I'll get you in the next round)!

I had a lot of fun baking this up and Dave, who is normally a chocoholic extraordinaire, absolutely loves this bread - vanilla flavored with just a hint of cinnamon. It bakes up very moist and was delicious by itself or with a scoop of ice cream on top.  If vanilla isn't your thing, there are tons of variations on-line (chocolate, banana, lemon poppy seed, pumpkin, etc) so the batter can be transformed into almost any sweet bread you like.  And despite the 10 day lead time, it's super easy to make. So, any takers?

10 comments:

organicneedle said...

I love this idea! I am in no way local...so some one else will have to benefit from your work. Do you know how to create this starter from scratch? Not sure if I could actually find 3 of my friends who know what an oven is, but...it would be worth a try.

Heather @ SGF said...

Here's a recipe I found on-line. It starts out talking about the 10 day recipe, but goes on to talk about how to make the starter:

http://www.momswhothink.com/bread-recipes/amish-friendship-bread.html

Heather @ SGF said...

There seem to be a ton of different recipes on-line. Mine (the final bread, not the starter) had a box of pudding in it. I can post the one I used if anyone wants it.

sharli said...

I'll take one!

Heather @ SGF said...

Sharli - it's all yours! Would you rather me bring it tomorrow or Saturday?

If anyone else local wants one, just let me know and I'll get you in the next round!

CindyW said...

Shucks! I wish I was local. The bread sounds so yummy. I have a huge weakness for bread, all kinds.

mizsuzee said...

I'd love to give this a try - wish I was a local!! Love your blog!

sharli said...

Saturday would be perfect!

Melissa said...

I really wish I was local too...maybe I'll start my own and go knocking on doors around the neighborhood!

Heather @ SGF said...

You never know. If you make your own starter, you might be surprised at home many people will want one. I sure was!