Sunday, October 12, 2008

The (Un)Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is perhaps the best bread in the world. It is absolutely delicious and full of sweet, cinnamonny, sugary, goodness. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then let me explain the basics to you: it all starts with one of your friends handing you a recipe for the Amish Friendship Bread along with a Ziploc bag filled with a cup of this runny, stinky, starter. The recipe tells you that you have to wait 10 days before you can actually bake the bread. Along the way, however, you have to mush the bag and add some more ingredients to it. Long story short, once you get to the 10th day you end up with not only 2 delicious loaves of bread but 4 bags of starter; you keep one bag for yourself and the other three you pass along to friends. The recipe then ends by saying, "Only the Amish know how to make the starter so if you give them all away, you'll have to wait until someone gives you one back." Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you, "That is sooooooo not true!"

Before I tell you the secret to the (Un)Amish Friendship Bread or as I like to call it F.T.'s Friendship Bread, I should tell you how I uncovered the Amish secrets. Tiffany and I both received our little baggies filled with starter around the same time, at the beginning of summer, I believe. I was only able to do two 10 day cycles before I was like, "Yeah, OK, this sucks," and threw away my remaining starter. (Hey, I can't help it ... I'm a product of my culture, I need things NOW!) Not only did I not like that the bread took 10 long, stinkin', days before I could bake it and eat it, I also hated trying to give away the starters. Well, I should say that I actually kinda enjoyed giving them away, because I knew people really didn't want to take it, but felt obligated to because it's "friendship" bread. Ha! So, anyway, I gave up on the bread and the starters. Tiffany, however, was a faithful, Amish Friendship Bread (AFB) baking machine! She consistently made the bread and gave away the starters! Amazing!

One day, Tiffany and I were talking on the phone and we started talking about AFB and I said "I wish I would have saved a starter because I really want some of that bread right now!" And then Tiffany says, "I think the starter is just milk, flour, and sugar. I don't think there's any yeast in it." So the more we talked about it, we realized that as many times as she has made the recipe and divided her original starter there's no way that there could still be any yeast in it even if there was to begin with. We also knew that the original ingredients had to be milk, flour, and sugar because, as you can see below, on day 6 you add 1 cup each of milk, flour, and sugar and then on day 10 you add 1 1/2 cups each of milk, flour, and sugar and then you divide up the starters before you add the remaining ingredients to the starter that you are going to bake with. Got it? ANYWAY, Tiffany came up with the idea of trying to make AFB by putting 1/3 cup each of milk, flour, and sugar (which would be equivalent to the starter divied out in the original recipe) in a Ziploc bag and then just following the original instructions on the recipe. So, I tried it ......... and ..... IT WORKED!!!!!!!! THE AMISH SECRETS WERE UNCOVERED!!!

After I got over my initial excitement, I realized that none of my other problems were really solved. Sure I got to eat the bread again (without knowing an Amish person mind you) but I still had to wait 10 days to eat it and I still had all of these Ziploc bags full of starter that I either had to give away or throw away. So, I started doing some research online and mentioned that you could do a 5 day bread cycle instead of the normal 10 days. The site didn't give the specifics of how you would do it though, so again Tiffany and I put our giant brains together and figured out that if you bake on a 5 day cycle you will only have enough starter for 2 loaves of bread, but not for the additional starters. PERFECTO! The 10 day cycle is only needed if you want the additional starters, which is why you add the extra milk, flour and sugar on day 6 ... it needs an extra 5 days to ferment.

Now that we figured out the 5 day cycle we had to figure out the recipe specifics since the recipe we had was based off of the 10 day cycle. Tiffany did the complicated mathematics and below you will find F.T.'s friendship bread or the (Un)Amish Friendship Bread recipe:

To make the starter add 1/3 cup each of milk, flour, and sugar to a Ziploc bag. (Do not refrigerate)

Day 1: Mush the bag

Day 2: Mush the bag

Day 3: Mush the bag

Day 4: Mush the bag

Day 5: Pour everything into a non-metal bowl and add the following ingredients:

3 eggs

1 cup Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Milk

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Sugar

1 large Vanilla Pudding Mix (Instant)

2 teaspoons Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

3 cups + 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Flour

Grease 2 pans. Mix 1tsp Cinnamon and 1/2 cup Sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle into bottom of pans. Add batter, sprinkle rest of sugar mixture over tops. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (mine always takes longer than an hour) or until bread loosens from pan. Run a knife around edges of bread, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Figures the Amish would try to take credit for something that's not theirs. Selfish bastards. Haha! I'm kidding!! I'd apologize in case I offended someone who's Amish, but they don't use computers, so nananana!!!

Our big brains are gonna get us rich one day. Some day.