Amish Friendship BreadWritten by Shantel Parks
I'm not a fan of chain letters. You know the ones; they're usually sent by a fun-loving friend or family member, "just for laughs." But sometimes they come from random strangers with testimonials that they really do work and you should heed their words. They show up in the mail (or your in-box) promising wealth and all your wildest dreams come true if you'll just forward the message on to 100 of your closest friends in the next 5 seconds! And they always, always, have the most dire warnings of all manner of calamities that will befall you and your posterity if you fail to pass the message along. ::Insert eye-roll here:: As a matter of courtesy, it is a cardinal rule of mine to not pass them along, no matter how good the benefits sound.
However, like with many things, there is an exception to this rule:
Amish Friendship Bread
It has been appropriately compared to a chain letter, and I would have to agree, even though I can make many arguments against that comparison, if only to make myself feel better for breaking my own rule. I could justify passing it along and say that it isn't a letter, but that isn't entirely accurate, because a letter accompanies the yumminess. I could claim that you don't have to do any weird stuff to enjoy the benefits of the bread, but that's not true, because you have to add ingredients and let it ferment for 10 days before you can bake it. And I could also say that no outrageous promises or predictions of ruin are made, and while that would be true, they aren't necessary, because the simple pleasure you get from eating the bread and sharing the deliciousness that is the bread brings you such joy that to not do it would bring terrible soul crushing disappointment. Okay, maybe that's hyperbole, but the bread really is that good.
So the truth is, this really is a chain letter, just in bread form, and I am guilty of passing it around to my friends and neighbors. Because just like the bread, friendships take time to develop; they need certain things to thrive, and some things can certainly damage them, but you can always start again, and everyone needs them. And I can't ever make this bread without hinking of those people, past and present, that I call friends. So that you can do the same, here's the recipe for the starter and the finished bread, and while you're mixing it up, think about this:
What qualities do you consider most important in a friendship? How did/does your friend exhibit those qualities? (from the Best Friends story starter)
Photo from allrecipes
Amish Friendship Bread
Original recipe makes 4 cups of starter
1 (.25 ounce) package of active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 cups milk
In a small bowl (DO NOT USE METAL), dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2-quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
On days 2 through 4, stir starter with a spoon, again, do NOT use metal. Day 5, stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 through 9, stir only.
Day 10, stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup starter to make your first bread. Give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe and the recipe below. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with Day 2).
Original recipe makes 2 - 9X5-inch loaves
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box instant vanilla pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Greast 2 (9X5-inch) loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine the Amish bread starter with oil, eggs, flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and pudding mix. Mix well. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
Shantel's love of story began in her childhood with fairy tales. As a wife of 13 years and a mother of 4, she gets a daily sampling of the many genre's of story, including (but not at all limited to) - humor, alternate history, dramatic interpretations, tall tales, tragedy, and a smattering of anecdotes based on true stories. A sometimes blogger, a frequent do-it-yourselfer, and always fond of Cadbury Mini Eggs, Shantel can be found, most days, going 5 different directions, but usually ending up in her favorite place - at home.
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