A long while back, someone that I worked asked me if I wanted a bag of "Amish Friendship Bread Starter". I wasn't exactly sure what it was all about, or what exactly to do with it. So, of course, I did a bit of googling online and found out where the name Amish Friendship Bread originated. Basically, it's like a baking "chain letter", without the negative connotations when it is not passed on. If you’ve received a starter from someone, there’s a little bit of flour and love from their kitchen, as well as all the other kitchens before it. Amish Friendship Bread is all about friendships and community. It’s about connection. It’s about fun. It’s about nurturing other people. Basically, pass on a bag of starter and you are sharing your friendship.
So I told my co-worker that I would love to have this wonderful thing. When she brought it in to me, it was a freezer bag filled with a gloppy, gooey batter-like substance that came with specific instructions.
Well, I followed the instructions for 10 days, adding flour, sugar and milk when indicated to the freezer bag and then other days only mashing the bag to mix up the batter. This was a totally foreign experience to me. I wondered several times if it was actually worth it.
On the tenth day (whew...I made it), I took my freezer bag of glop and put it in a bowl, added the specified ingredients, set aside a couple of bags of "new starter" and finally baked some goodies.
Once I got a taste of the first loaf that I baked, I was hooked. It was amazing. I thanked my co-worker for giving me that starter. I did some research and found out that this basic starter, with a few simple substitutions, could produce many, many flavor variations.
Over the next few months, I tested out many variations of this Amish Friendship Bread. I gave loaves to family, friends and co-workers. I donated some for charity bake sales and I froze some for future consumption.
When I realized that my freezer was starting to overflow with all these goodies and I had run out of friends who wanted a "starter" bag, I decided to stop the process for a while. I made sure I had one last starter bag in my freezer for when I wanted to pick back up on the baking.
Then disaster struck! It happened right before Christmas a couple of years ago. A horrendous power failure due to severe ice storms. Some people were lucky and were only without power for a day, some for several days, others for almost 2 weeks. My area was without power for 4 days. Needless to say, I lost everything in my freezer including the "starter" bag. It took a while for us all to recoup from the after affects from that storm and since I didn't have the "starter" bag anymore, I kind of forgot about the Amish Friendship Bread.
Just recently, someone mentioned it to me again, asking if I still make them. I started to wonder if I could make the starter myself. I did some online research and found out that it is quite simple. Today, I put together my first "starter" bag. I will follow the 10 day instructions and then get to baking. The starter instructions are below. (Stay tuned for baking instructions in approximately 10 days.)
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
The starter should be left at room temperature. Drape loosely with dish towel or plastic wrap or transfer to larger Ziploc freezer bag. Do not use metal utensils or bowls. If using a sealed Ziploc bag, be sure to let the air out if the bag gets too puffy.
Also, when you make a starter from scratch, you can sometimes end up with a much greater yield than 4 cups depending on the temperature of your kitchen and eagerness of your starter! If this happens, reserve one cup for baking and divide the remaining batter into Ziploc baggies of 1 cup each to freeze or share with friends.
Ten Day Instructions
Day 1: Do nothing.
Day 2: Mash the bag.
Day 3: Mash the bag.
Day 4: Mash the bag.
Day 5: Mash the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.
Day 7: Mash the bag.
Day 8: Mash the bag.
Day 9: Mash the bag.
Day 10: Follow the directions below:
***Baking instructions & ingredient list will be shared in my next post.***
I was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and spent the first half my life there. I became a mom just after I turned 20 and within a couple of years, decided to move from a small town to a bigger city to take advantage of better job opportunities. After a few great jobs, I finally settled in at a legal publishing company. 13 years later, I'm still there.
Cut brownies without the crumbs:
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