Monday, July 7, 2008

Amish Sourdough Cinnamon Friendship Bread

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't out looking for a starter for Amish bread but when one of my guests at our get-together brought a batch and gave me the starter I was pretty excited. I had gotten two batches within the last year or so that I had to throw out because I didn't do what I was supposed to do with them and I was too busy to bake the bread. This time, I was determined to make it all the way through the 10 day process and bake the bread. I was successful! I did take a picture of a piece of my bread but I didn't have my flash on so the picture is very blue. Sorry.

In the meantime, I found out quite a bit about this stuff. Here is what I found out: (1) Not just the Amish can make the starter. There are several recipes on the Internet for starter. (2) You can freeze the starter. (3) You can freeze the bread once you bake it. One of the recipients of my starter told me she bakes them all throughout the fall and winter and then freezes them. (4) There are several variations of Amish bread including pistachio, chocolate and chocolate chip! (5) You can make the bread without adding the additional sugar. (6) You can bake it in a metal pan. The bread my guest brought to our party was baked in a metal pan and it was fantastic. (7) some people like getting Friendship Bread starters more than others. I felt weird passing out gallon size bags of this yellowish goo to my friends. I really didn't want to insult them or lose them as friends. But they should know that they don't really have to bake the bread. I promise I won't ask and you don't have to tell. You can do what I did several times and just toss the bag out if you don't want to bake it. Some people describe Friendship Bread as a form of baking "chain letter." I disagree because there is no bad luck associated with breaking the chain. Perhaps it's a racket started by the plastic bag manufacturers or the instant pudding companies but it is good cake. So, keep an open mind when someone hands you a bag of this stuff.

Amish Sourdough Cinnamon Friendship Bread*

· Don’t use any type of metal spoon, bowl or pan (glass, plastic or wood only)
· Do not refrigerate
· If air gets in the bag, let it out.
· It is normal for the batter to rise, bubble and ferment.
· You can go over by a day or two to feed the starter but you can’t bake it early!

Day 1: You received fermented batter in a one-gallon bag. Do nothing. Place bag on kitchen counter.
Day 2: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 3: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 4: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 5: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Squeeze several times.
Day 7: Mush bag several times. You can open the bag to release air bubbles.
Day 8: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 9: Mush bag several times during the day.
Day 10: In a large non-metallic bowl, combine batter with 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 2 cups milk. Mix with a wooden spoon. Pour four 1-cup starters into four 1-gallon Ziploc bags. Give to family and friends with a copy of these instructions.

To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:

1 cup oil (or ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 large box instant vanilla pudding

Grease the bottom and sides of pans. In a separate bowl, mix 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle half this mixture into two well-greased loaf pans before pouring in batter. Sprinkle remaining half on top. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes two loaves or one 10 x 15 inch glass pan baked at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool until bread loosens from pan and then remove.

*Bread, hah! What a scam. This is a yummy cake.