A friend of mine, knowing how much I l-o-v-e fresh bread, gave me some Amish friendship bread starter. Thanks David and Loretta!! I've heard about this bread before but had never had any. It takes 10 days for the starter to grow and be ready for baking, but let me just tell you...It's so worth it!
I'm not really sure why they call it Amish bread, because it's not an Amish recipe. Maybe to make you think it's really healthy and all natural? But there again, the Amish are surprisingly not 'all natural.' I was really disappointed last year when we went to PA and Amish country. I know they can't use electricity and I know they can use gasoline generated things. But there is just something disturbing about seeing an Amish woman using a gas powered leaf blower. I digress. Back to the bread.
This sweet bread recipe is surprisingly not 100% natural raw ingredients. I'm used to bread being simple ingredients like yeast, flour, water, egg, milk, and oil. This recipe does have those things, but it also has a packet of instant pudding mix that gets tossed in. I'm not complaining because it's really good bread, but just not what I expected from Amish bread.
The pictures I took are actually a variation on the traditional recipe. I didn't have the vanilla instant pudding pack. I had a chocolate instant pudding pack. So I tossed that it and excluded the cinnamon. Chocolate bread. Yum.
And if you don't have a friend to give you a starter. You can make your own.
I would only caution you to be ready to work with this starter. If you follow the recipe every 10 days you will be baking two loaves of bread plus creating more starters. I don't know anyone who has enough friends to keep passing out starters at this rate. So to prevent your starter from getting out of control, you can freeze it or refrigerate it. Also you can feed it half the amount the recipe calls for on day 6. That will reduce the amount of extra starter you end up with. Worst case scenario, throw out the extra starter except for one so you can keep just enough for yourself.
If you have a starter or just made your own, here's the recipe I used to make my bread.
*Do not refrigerate during 10 day cycle.
*If you are keeping starting in a Ziplock bag, let out any air that builds up from fermentation.
*You can also keep starter in a glass jar with loose lid.
*You can go over by a day to feed or bake, but you CANNOT feed you starter or bake your bread early.
Day 1: Do nothing
Day 2: Do nothing
Day 3: Do nothing
Day 4: Do nothing
Day 5: Do nothing
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and stir well
Day 7: Do nothing
Day 8: Do nothing
Day 9: Do nothing
Day 10: Bake bread
- Pour starter into large bowl
- Add 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk. Mix well.
- Label 4 one gallon Ziplock bag with "Day1" and date. Fill each bag with 1 cup of starter. You can give this to friends or freeze for later use.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Add to remaining batter:
1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup chopped and/or 1 cup raisins
- Grease bottom and sides of 2 large loaf pans. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust the insides of the pans with the mixture. Make sure you cover the bottom well.
- Pour the batter mixture evenly in the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over the the top of the batter.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour and until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool until the bread loosens from the pan easily.