My family really loves Amish Friendship Bread. I was wanting to cook some yesterday but I couldn’t because making the bread is a ten day process. So I started it yesterday and in a few days we’ll have bread! There are many places to find recipes for Friendship Bread, some websites even sell the starters, and will try to convince you that you must have a starter in order to make the bread. This is not true. You can make your own starter. Simply mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk in a glass or plastic container. Never in a metal container and never use metal to stir your starter, I’m not exactly sure why, but apparently coming into contact with metal ruins it somehow. I use a 1 quart, wide mouth mason jar, (I also make less starter, see below) it’s important for air to get to the starter, so instead of using the traditional lid and ring for the jar I put a piece of fabric over the top and secure it with the ring, it looks nice and bugs and dust stay out of it but it still gets air.
I mentioned before that this is a ten day process.
Day 1: Mix 1cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1cup milk in a plastic or glass container (If you already have a starter you would just stir it on Day 1)
Day 2: Stir
Day 3: Stir
Day 4: Stir
Day 5: Add 1 cup flour, 1cup sugar, 1 cup milk and mix
Day 6: Stir
Day 7: Stir
Day 8: Stir
Day 9: Stir
Day 10: Baking day!
On baking day you use 1 cup of the starter, mixed with other ingredients to make your bread. The reason it’s called Friendship Bread is because you then take 3 cups of the starter and give 1 cup of it to each of three friends along with the instructions and the recipe so they can make their own bread in 10 days. Then you save the remaining starter for yourself. People often get turned off to Friendship Bread because they end up with so much starter, and no friends left to give it too. There are a couple of ways to solve this problem:
1. Quadruple your recipe and use all 4 cups of starter instead of just 1. This is great if you have a party or get together planned and you want to stock up.
2. Don’t make so much starter. Instead of adding 1 cup of everything just add 1/2 cup. That way on baking day you have just enough to take one cup out to bake and leave some starter to start the 10 day process again.
3. Starter can be kept in the fridge for a while if you want to take a break, but still have some starter left. I’ve kept it in the fridge for as long as two months. (I try to remember to stir it once a week and occasionally add a tablespoon or so of flour, sugar and milk, just to keep the starter active.)
4. This works well with whole wheat flour. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour, the starter works better this way, and the bread is still delicious.
I like to add raisins, my husband really likes to add chocolate chips, and my mother-in-law adds grated carrots. All variations taste good, and it’s great with frosting too. Friendship Bread is great to slice up and serve at parties. I usually keep some in the freezer for unexpected company. It freezes beautifully and even tastes good straight from the freezer.
P.S. I have discovered that this works well in the bread maker, I put mine on the ‘Sweet Breads’ setting, set the crust to medium, put everything in and turn it on, the recipe makes 2 loaves, but when I use the breadmaker I put all of it in and make one bigger loaf. This works well on the days that I need to make bread but don’t want to heat up the whole house, or just don’t have the time. If you’re doing it in the bread maker though, you might want to leave out the chocolate chips and other additions, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t cook right with the extras added.