As I entered the clinic at St Pius X Catholic School, Nurse Pile smiles sweetly as she hands me a Ziploc bag that resembles cake batter.
“What is this,” I ask quizzically?
“It is Amish friendship bread starter,” Nurse Pile exclaims matter of factly.
She went on to explain that she has indeed made a few baked goods with this starter and they were quite good.
“I was never much of a baker,” she professes. “I think you should try your hand at it, and see what you come up with,” she suggests.
She confesses that she got her starter from a fellow teacher Mrs. Novisk.
According to Nurse Pile, that is the reason they call it friendship bread. It is passed on to other friends.
That is also how my friendship starter dilemma began.
It is also how I become an outcast.
I took the bag home with the instructions and a recipe.
I was a bit skeptical because it didn’t require refrigeration and decided to do some research.
Amish Friendship Bread is a genuine starter bread. If you know someone with a starter, like I did, you are in luck. If you don’t here is a recipe for the starter. I got this recipe a few years back from The Virginian Pilot (our local newspaper)
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110°F)
1. In a large plastic zip lock bag, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
2. Add to bag, 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Remove all air and seal zip lock bag. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle,
Day 1 – receive the starter (the recipe for the starter is above)
Day 2 – smoosh the bag
Day 3 – smoosh the bag
Day 4 – smoosh the bag
Day 5 – Add 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk.
Day 6 – smoosh the bag
Day 7 -smoosh the bag
Day 8 – smoosh the bag
Day 9 -smoosh the bag
Day 10 – Add your starter to your bowl.
Add 1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Mix it all up really good
Divide into 4 bags with 1 cup each for three of your friends and 1 cup for your own loaves.
Give friends the instructions for Day 1 through Day 10 and the following recipe for baking the bread. it is located at this link
After removing the 3 cups of batter, combine the remaining cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter with the following ingredients in a large bowl:
Amish friendship bread
1 cup oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup milk
1 cup of vanilla pudding
½ cup light brown sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to sprinkle on the top of the bread)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the last one. Grease two loaf pans. Pour 1/2 of the batter in each pan. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake at 325 for about 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans. For Muffins: Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
NOTE: You can grease one loaf and six muffin tins. Keep the loaf for yourself and give the muffins to your friends with the starter and instructions.
At this point, I passed the starter on to more of my friends (yes, I have more than four friends) who now also have four bags of starter to deal with. Soon everyone is sick of dealing with Amish Friendship Bread and the mere mention of it sends people running away.
That is how I became an outcast.
So, instead of subjecting my friends to begging, crying and pleading to take the starter, I began finding inventive ways to use up the starter. I made cinnamon rolls a few times and brought them to school for the teachers and staff to enjoy. You can get this recipe and more ideas at http://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/pantry/cinnamon-rolls.
Soon I began to wonder if I should just bake my last batch and use up the entire starter. I didn’t want to do that, because I really liked it. It was becoming tedious and it wasn’t fun anymore. So I went on line and did more research and found that I could freeze it without any problems.
I also found out from my own forgetfulness, despite what the instructions say, my dough will survive if it is not smooshed everyday. It will survive if I don’t feed it on day six or bake it on day ten. It really isn’t that fragile. What I ended up doing is freezing it. So for a little bit of time each year, It stays in the freezer. When I am ready to deal with it, I take it out and leave it on the counter overnight. I start the process over again. My Amish friendship Bread Starter is now six years old.
Peace be with you,
Copyright 2012 Veronica Gantley