When I was a kid, my mom used to do a ton of cooking. She was always swapping recipes for unusual things with the ladies at her church, but of all those recipes she tried at home, one stands out...it was this super awesome Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe that the ladies in the church made for what seems like years.
I was thinking about baking some bread but was getting a little tired of banana bread. That's my favorite but you can only eat so much, ya know? I started looking up recipes online and found a recipe on AllRecipes.com for the actual starter. You see, Amish Friendship bread isn't just something that you can whip up and enjoy on the same day. It takes ten freaking days to make - and you have to know someone who has a starter already going, or make yours completely from scratch. After I found the Amish Friendship Bread starter recipe on AllRecipes, that's just what I did!
Now, when you get an Amish Friendship Bread Starter from someone, your final product always tastes a little different. They say that the older the starter is, the better the Amish Friendship bread tastes. I liked my bread once it was made, and my mom said it tasted really good, but that it did taste different then she remembered.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
3 cups flour, divided into 3 cups
3 cups white sugar, divided into 3 cups
3 cups milk, divided into 3 cups
In a small bowl, dissolve your packet of yeast in warm water. Let it stand 10 minutes - it's supposed to get a little bubbly. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup of the flour and 1 cup of the sugar. Mix it up really thoroughly or your flour will get all lumpy when you add the cold milk. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk into your dissolved yeast mixture. Cover it loosely and let stand until bubbly. This if the first day of the 10 day cycle. Leave it loosely covered at room temperature.
Note: I used a big glass bowl and left it sitting on the kitchen counter. After reading lots of recipes, I actually found that it's best to keep it in a warmer location and to use a plastic bowl because it absorbs more heat that way. I keep my house at 74 degrees, so our kitchen is never actually warm. When I make it again, I'll likely put the starter in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and leave it near a window. I read in a few places that it yields better results that way.
On days 2 through 4; stir your starter with a spoon. On day 5; add another cup of flour, sugar and milk. Stir well and then let sit again, loosely covered. On days 6 through 9, you only stir it.
Note: DO NOT use aluminum when stirring your Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe. The metal will react and ruin your starter! I used a stainless steel spoon, but you can also use a wooden or plastic spoon.
On day 10; add in another cup of flour, sugar and milk. Stir well and then remove one cup to make your first bread, and separate three additional cups to give to friends with a copy of the recipe. This is where the "friendship" part of the recipe comes into play! It's meant t be shared, to passed around, and to be kept going between friends!
Store the remaining cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
Note: You can also freeze this extra cup of starter and begin with day one of the process whenever you want to start making another loaf!
Now that your starter is ready to be turned into an actual Amish Friendship Bread, it's time to bake!
Amish Friendship Bread Recipe
Bake with Friends: Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe
Preheat oven to 325° F and grease two loaf pans and dust them with sugar.
Mix all of your ingredients until thoroughly combined. I used my Kitchenaid mixer, on low speed for about two minutes. The batter will be really thick!
Pour into your greased and sugared loaf pans and bake for one hour. Cool your bread in the pan for about half an hour before trying to remove, and slide the blade of a butter knife around all edges to help it come loose.
You can also put into the fridge to help it cool down faster! That's what I always do so that my loafs don't crumble too much when I slice them.
I ended up with five cups of starter on day ten. I was a little worried because most of the recipes I saw said that you would only have four cups. I finally found one article that said that when you are starting the Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe totally from scratch like I did, that it tends to yield more. You can also end up with less or more batter depending on the activity of your yeast!
Recipes adapted from AllRecipes.com and my mom's advice.