Thursday, October 11, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread

Justin and I went to our 10 year high school reunion this past summer. In addition to getting to hang out with people we haven't seen in 10 years, I also picked up a tasty new recipe. After leaving the official reunion, a few of us went back to a classmate's home where she offered us some Amish friendship bread. I'd never even heard of it, but I'm not one to turn down something that sounds awesome. It may be called bread, but it's really more of a cake--and I've hardly ever met a cake I didn't like. I'm glad I tried it because it really is quite yummy. I immediately asked for the recipe, and when the weather turned cooler this past weekend, it was the first thing I thought to bake.

The reason that this is called friendship bread (I'm not sure about the Amish part, and neither is Wikipedia apparently) is because you're supposed to make several cups of a starter mixture and then share the starter with friends so that they can make their own bread, retaining enough to make some for yourself as well, obviously. You can also just make the starter for yourself, one batch worth at a time, if you don't feel like sharing. I've included the instructions for both versions of the starter below, so you're free to make it however you like.


1 pkg dry active yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 - 3 c flour*
1 - 3 c sugar*
1 - 3 c milk*

*See directions below for exact amounts.

1 portion starter mixture
5.1 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
3 eggs
2 c flour
1 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1/2 c milk
4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts, optional (walnuts or pecans suggested)

1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon


To make the starter, add yeast to warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Combine with 1 c flour, 1 c sugar, and 1 c milk. If you are not sharing the starter with anyone else, skip to the next section to begin making the bread. If you are sharing the starter, place it in a large ziploc bag. Every other day, mush the ingredients around inside the bag. On day 5, add 1 c flour, 1 c sugar, and 1 c milk. Continue mushing the ingredients every other day. On day 10, add 1 c flour, 1 c sugar, and 1 c milk. Divide starter into 4 portions; give 3 portions to friends and keep 1 for yourself. (Starter can also be kept in the freezer and defrosted as needed.)

For the bread, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until just combined. If using nuts, it's helpful to first coat them in flour before adding to the mixture--this will help keep them from sinking to the bottom during baking.

To make the coating, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Coat bottom and sides of two loaf pans or a 13" x 9" pan with a thin layer of shortening. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar to coat pan(s). Add batter to pan(s), and sprinkle any remaining coating mixture over the top of the batter. Bake at 325 F for approximately 50 minutes for loaf pans or 40 minutes for 13" x 9" pan.

Servings: 16

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