It’s been a week of exciting food projects over here in my burrow. Along with the lavender ice cream and home made chai, the garden has begun producing. The first cherry tomatoes are ripening on the vine, the chard and greens are in abundance, and this week, we even harvested our first zucchini. There’s really nothing better than veggies from the garden, and the best part is that the excitement isn’t just mine. The postman told Ashleigh the other day that he’s been rooting for our veggies and watching their progress every day. “I never thought they’d grow so well when you started,” he said. “But look at them now!”
Today also marked the harvesting day for another long-cultivated food project… Amish Friendship Bread!
The idea was pitched and instigated by my wonderful cousin Louise. She made some bread, and gave the extra starter to Chris, who made some bread and gave the extra starter to me. It’s sort of like sourdough starter meets an epic chain letter, with delicious cake as the outcome.
The funny part, though, is that it takes 10 whole days of love and attention (in the form of mushing and burping a zip-lock bag) in order to prep the starter for baking. Being the hot week that it was, I was pretty worried that the starter was going to go bad. But, apparently not!
In any case, enough rambling. Let’s get down to the details.
Amish Friendship Bread
For starters, you need a starter! Anyone in Toronto that wants to try this can have some from me. I have 3 extra starters, and each of them, in 10 days, will produce 3 more. So holler up and I’ll pass some along. Also, I should mention that apparently it’s very important to not use any kind of metal bowl or spoon in the mixing (no clue why), and the starter does not need to be refrigerated.
Those caveats aside, once you have your starter, the process goes something like this:
- Day 1 – Do nothing.
- Day 2 – Mush the bag.
- Day 3 – Keep on mushing. If there is air in the bag, burp it and allow the air out.
- Day 4 – Mush n’ Burp.
- Day 5 – Mush n’ Burp (wouldn’t that make a great pub name?)
- Day 6 – Add to the bag 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. milk. Then… you guessed it! Mush n’ Burp!
- Day 7 – Mush n’ Burp.
- Day 8 – If all else fails you can… mush n’ burp!
- Day 9 – Ditto.
- Day 10 – Make your bread!
1) Preheat the oven to 325 F. Pour the starter into a non-metal bowl and add 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 1/2 c. milk. Stir it up!
2) Measure 1 c. of batter into each of four 1 gallon zip lock bags. Don’t get stingy on the size of bag. Chris did, and the first bag of batter I got exploded all over the counter in the middle of the night. It was not a pretty sight!
3) Keep one bag of the starter for yourself, and give the others away (and make friends while doing it!) along with the instructions.
4) To the remaining batter, add: 3 eggs, 1 c. oil, 1/2 c. milk, 1 c. sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 c. flour, 1 large package instant vanilla pudding mix. If you’re me, this is when you pause and think “would the amish really use instant pudding mix?” or if you’re my dad, “would the amish really use ziplock bags?” but hey… it makes a great loaf!
5) Grease 2 loaf pans. Pour the batter in and top it with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour, let cool 10 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack.
6) Eat, enjoy, and make friends!
The speed in which the loaves were consumed speaks to the delicious factor… it’s been less than 12 hours and both are gone!