Wednesday, January 09, 2008

baking up Amish bread

probably about a year ago a friend brought in some tasty bread to work. I couldn't figure out what type of bread it was for the life of me! I thought it might be zucchini, but she said no, it wasn't anything like that. but it was so moist, and flexible--I know that sounds like a weird description for bread, but it wasn't crumbly, it was springy.

She told me it was Amish Friendship Bread. I had never, ever heard of this before in my life. Here's how it works. You create of start for the bread:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 pkg yeast-disolved into 1/2 cup warm water
another 1 1/2 cup warm water (for a total of 2 cups)

you mix these all together in a big bag, and that's day one.

yes, Day one. There are 10 days involved in this process!! I couldn't believe it!

The way it's really supposed to work though, and the reason behind it being called Friendship Bread, is someone gives you the start and these following instructions:

Day 1: This is the day you receive the batter. Do nothing to it
Day 2: Mush bag-let out excess air
Days 3-4: Mush bag-let out excess air
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mix within the bag-let out excess air
Days 7-9: Mush bag-let out excess air
Day 10: Mixing day! Combine in large nonmetallic bowl the batter, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir thoroughly with wooden spoon. Pour 4 one-cup starters into 1 gallon ziploc bags. Keep one for yourself.

You have to have some patience to make this I discovered. I had my friend give me a start, because the bread was sooo great!! The problem was when I filled my bags on day 10, I had to find 3 people to give them to! the first time wasn't too bad. The second and third time making this (only 10 days apart!) I had a hard time finding people to give my start to. Then I learned a secret.

Before you divide the starter into four bags you have a couple different options. First being, you could use all the mixture and make 10 loaves of bread, and freeze them--or give them away as gifts. or you could pull aside one start and make 8 loaves--and so on down the line. and that one start you saved for yourself, you can freeze!! yay!! so here's what I did. Matt's boss thought his wife would probably want a start, so today as I'm working on day 10 I set aside a cup of start for me, and a cup of start for matt to take to work.

here's where it got difficult for me. a full batch makes 10 loaves. . .so I needed to make 6 loaves with two starts taken out. That means I had to triple the recipe.

The recipe (for only 2 loaves):
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 large box vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

so I tripled that recipe to make my six loaves, but I only have 3 loaf pans. currently I'm baking 3 loaves, and then I'll bake the last 3. This will probably make the bread all different sizes. . .but oh well.

when you mix this bread up, you're not supposed to use anything metal, so I pulled out my plastic bowl and spoon to mix everything together. it was rough! but I would have had to do it this way anyway, because I don't have anything else to mix with, I burnt out the motor on my hand mixer the first time I used it, trying to mix cream cheese that was too hard. oops. so I mix everything by hand anyway. but I wasn't supposed to use my metal whisk!! trying to mix oil into a watery batter is not an easy task. As well as mixing 6 cups of flour into something. but I persevered, because this bread it so great!

I think the best part is before you throw it in the oven, (at 325degs for 1 hour) you create a mixture of sugar and cinnamon (1/2 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon) and sprinkle over the bread, and it gives it such a great topping! I can't remember if the first time I made this bread, if I dusted my greased pan with it as well. . .I think I might have--I'll try that with my next 3 loaves.

I haven't made this bread it a while, because I hated trying to find people to give the starts to!! now I have the answer. I can freeze the start I saved and pull it out in a month when the 6 loaves I made are gone (matt loves this bread, he'll probably eat 1/2 loaf a day!) I think when I do it the next time I'll make up all 10 loaves and freeze them, then I don't have to worry about using the start as quickly.

and I'm also trying out my new silicone bread pan. . .I hope it works ok!

1 comment:

  1. the silicone bread pan worked the best. . .hardly any stuck at all. The bread on the other hand. not at all what I remember. Not at all. Not nearly as sweet, and has a funny taste. I think it's the oil. I had to put three cups in there, and well. . .I put 1 cup veg oil, 1 cup canola oil, and 1 cup extra virgin olive oil. *sighs* it's all I had on hand! and the weather was too bad for me to want to clean my car off.
    oy. . .oh well.