Monday, November 22, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Amish Friendship Bread is my one "go to" bread that I make for neighbors, holidays, teachers, friends, gifts, whenever!  I have not met a single person in 12 years that has not liked this bread.  

It also by far, makes the best banana bread EVER, hands down.  I know many of you will disagree and think you have the best.  But I am here to tell you that THIS bread is the best!

This starter recipe is very easy.  However with that said.... 

it does take time.....
it takes patience.....

and it takes a little work.  

1 cup milk (no less than 2%)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a zip loc bag, release ALL air from the bag and seal.

Squeeze the contents until they are well mixed.  Let out any additional air.

Now leave it on your counter for the next 10 days.  You heard me, leave it on your room temperature counter for 10 days but do the following each day:

Day 1 - this is the day you made/received the starter.  Do nothing else today!
Day 2 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 3 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 4 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 5 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 6 - Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk.  Release the air and squeeze the mixture inside til blended.
Day 7 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 8 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 9 - Squeeze the bag, let out the air.  Let it rest, leave it alone.
Day 10 - Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and mix well in a plastic or glass container with a wooden spoon or plastic utensils.  Do NOT use metal.  Pour 1 cup starters into (4) 1 gallon ziploc bags.  Keep one starter for yourself and give the other 3 away to friends along with these instructions.  

I have successfully frozen these bags of starter.  Because if you don't have many friends, it can multiply like bunnies.  Just sayin'.  Let it come to room temperature and follow the above instructions.

Another sidenote - I have also been known to toss the plastic ziploc bag after the 2nd 10-day cycle and currently leave my starter in a large rubbermaid container.  I stir it and feed it every few days and release the air.  The longest I had my starter going in this method just sitting on my counter in the container has been over 2 years.  I even forgot to feed it for over a week.  It survived!

The one catch - you CANNOT begin the starter in a rubbermaid container, you must start it air-free in the ziploc bags for at least 2 10-day cycles!
When you finally get to the point your starter is all yeasty, growing and A-L-I-V-E....and it's in the plastic bowl living on your counter......it may sometimes separate and look like this.  Don't throw it away!!!!  It is still good, it is still living, I promise.  It is just telling you that it needs some love and some more food!  It got to this point because I neglected to feed it for over a week.  So see it is hearty starter and if it can survive ME, it can survive you!

This is what the inside of the starter looks like.  Growing, bubbly and yeasty!



The three above photos are adding the 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.  That's it.  Every 5-10 days.  You should probably make some bread every 10 days or so as well.  Your friends will love you and beg for more.

All the food, now stir.

And stir.  With a wooden spoon, not metal.
Other than that, it is a hearty starter and will survive most anything, the fridge, the freezer, being unfed for over a week........you get the point.
This is what it will look like.  Don't try to stir out all the clumps, you'll be there all day.  The starter will feed on those clumps and they'll all be gone by tomorrow.  You'll see.  And no, the milk won't spoil.
Contact me if you need help.  More yummy recipes to follow in the breads section soon!

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