Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

This isn't a bread, per se, but much more like a moist, sweet cake. You certainly wouldn't make a sandwich from this "bread".

General Guidelines

Do not refrigerate your mix. Below room-temperatures will retard yeast growth, perhaps even kill the yeast.

If air gets into the bag, let it out. Some "air" which will inflate the bag (if the yeast is growing properly) is really carbon dioxide, a natural by-product of yeast growth (also known as "fermentation"). So this "air" is perfectly normal and, indeed, should accumulate. That is, you should see bubbles forming in the mixture if the yeast is growing properly. Let this carbon dioxide out of the bag as needed to prevent the bag from over-inflating. At the same time, keep the bag closed otherwise to prevent ambient air from the room from coming into contact with the yeast mixture.

Below, where the instructions say "mush the bag", this simply means that you should squeeze and massage the yeast mixture through the bag, in effect, to stir it up.

Instructions

  • Day 1: This is the date on the bag. You don't need to do anything this day other than put the bag in a place of moderate (room) temperature and where you'll notice it tomorrow and succeeding days.
  • Day 2: Mush the bag.
  • Day 3: Mush the bag.
  • Day 4: Mush the bag.
  • Day 5: Mush the bag.
  • Day 6: Add to the bag 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, then mush the bag.
  • Day 7: Mush the bag.
  • Day 8: Mush the bag.
  • Day 9: Mush the bag.
  • Day 10: Baking day. Follow the instructions below:
    • Pour the contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.
    • Add 1½ cups flour, 1½ cups sugar, and 1½ milk.
    • Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 4 1-gallon Ziploc™ bags. Keep a yeast starter for yourself (if you choose) and give the other 3 along with copies of this recipe to friends. Write today's date on each bag so your friends will know what to designate as Day 1.
    • Preheat the oven to 325°.
    • To the remaining yeast mixture in the bowl add the following:
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 cup oil
      • ½ cup milk
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 tsp. cinnamon
      • ½ tsp. vanilla
      • 1½ tsp. baking powder
      • ½ tsp. baking soda
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • 2 cups flour (sifted if you wish)
      • 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
    • Grease or oil 2 large loaf pans.
    • Mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pan with half of this mixture.
    • Pour the batter evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.
    • Bake one hour.
    • Allow the loaves to cool (about 10 minutes) until they loosen easily from the pans. Turn onto a serving dish.

If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every ten days. Only the Amish know how to create the starter yeast, so if you give all of yours away, you'll have to wait until someone gives one back to you. On the other hand, if you don't give any away, then you won't have anyone to go to if you lose yours. In any event, you can always find the bread recipe here.

60 comments:

SugarSwoogie said...

The Amish aren't the only ones to know how to make the starter. The starter is easy. Combine 1/4 cup warm water with a package of dry yeast. When it begins to bubble add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. There you have it. Now you can begin on day 1 as the recipe goes.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't add the 6th day's ingredients until the 10th day, can the starter still be used or should it be tossed out? It's now the 14th and I don't know if I should continue with the recipe or toss it out.

Kenneth Fisler said...

The delay could affect the health of the yeast, but this depends on a lot of conditions, the temperature, for instance. If the mixture continued bubbling and the bag expanding after you added the Day 6 ingredients, then the yeast is still good. And even if the yeast is no longer good, you can still use it to make the bread (cake). You just won't be able to spawn a new batch of yeast... probably. Yeast can be remarkably resilient, going dormant even for decades and then coming back to life.

Anonymous said...

this is not vegan, it has eggs and milk in it.

Kenneth Fisler said...

Thanks for pointing that out. Perhaps it could be made vegan by substituting lecithin for eggs (1 tablespoon per egg, approximately) and soy milk for milk. I've done this for other recipes with success. But I don't know the effect it would have on the yeast, if any. Should anyone know, please share. Thanks again.

J***** said...

what if 1 eff was added by mistake during day 6 add of ingriedients?

Kenneth Fisler said...

I'm assuming you meant to type "egg" rather than "eff". That's a much smaller and uneventful mistake than putting the egg in your yeast. Eggs can contain salmonella, a serious food-borne toxin. So in effect you may have contaminated the yeast. If it were me, I'd throw out the yeast and start again from scratch with a fresh batch.

HerodotusUkelele said...

Who said it needs to be vegan? Anyway, the part I find funny is the large box of vanilla pudding. Nothing to me quite says "Amish" like instant pudding (not). However, if you look around on the net you will find that many recipes omit this, or mark it as optional. I have tried it without and it was quite good. You can also use butter in place of vegetable oil, for an even less vegan thrill.

michelle said...

adding a box of vanilla pudding mix to any kind of recipe -, especially cookies or breads just make it more fluffy and moist. It's a great strategy for sugar cookies.

zookeeper said...

I just messed up & added 1 1/2 cups each of flour, sugar, & milk on day 6. Any idea if I can fix this? Should I try proceeding as usual? Or, can I try decreasing the amount of each by a 1/2 cup on day 10?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Zookeeper, I'd think it would be okay to continue, reducing the amounts on Day 10, like you said, so you have the correct total amount of ingredients at the end. Having the same total amount of ingredients at the end will mean that you don't have increase the baking time. Cooking and baking should be fun activities. Sure, when you alter a recipe, you're going to get something a little different. But you discover something even better.

Anonymous said...

I saw somewhere a while ago instructions for making only one extra starter to have a continuous supply without having to give away extra or freeze. Now I can't find that- and would love to know how- I love the bread and would love to bake it every ten days, but not have to search for people to give it away to. I'll give finished loaves instead. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

after adding the 1-1/2 cups of sugar flour and milk, take out a 1 cup starter to keep for yourself. Then divide the remaining mixture in two (will be 3 cups each). Double the remaining ingredients in the recipe and you will get four loaves of bread.

Anonymous said...

Okay...where did the Amish get the instant pudding? I mean really!lol
It isn't bad...but not great this way either...

Kenneth Fisler said...

Frankly, I don't know the origin of this recipe. Many recipes are like that: no one knows who first came up with them. And many recipes are transformed as they are passed around, an ingredient or two are added, others changed. Perhaps the Amish had some ingredient in the original recipe which some non-Amish baker coming after did not have, something like dried, ground tapioca root. The non-Amish baker would have had to substitute that with the instant pudding.

Anonymous said...

It's day 8 and I realized that I missed day 6. Unfortunately, I did not have any flour so I used Krusteaz Pancake Mix.
1. Can I still use the starter mix or is it ruined?
2. If the mix is still good, what day should I proceed with day 7 or day 9?
3. Once I begin to add ingredients, should I continue to use the pancake mix or switch to all purpose flour?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Sorry, but I know nothing about Krusteaz Pancake Mix. So I don't know what its ingredients are or what effects they might have on the bread you're making. Yet I would guess that the starter is still good... unless the pancake mix has too much preservative in it, so much that it kills the yeast. The only way to know this for certain is to go ahead with the recipe and see if the next batch of yeast grows as expected.

As far as baking with the yeast you have now... well, this is complicated. Pancake mix generally has some ingredient in it to make the pancake rise in the pan. So if you follow the Amish Friendship Bread recipe, it's quite possible that your bread is going to rise more than it's supposed to. If this is the case, you'll probably want to leave out the ½ tsp. baking soda contained in the AFB recipe... unless the pancake recipe says to use baking soda. In brief, you're going to have to do some guessing based on the pancake recipe. For example, if the pancake mix contains powdered eggs (which some do) you will probably not want to add in more eggs when mixing up the bread you're going to bake.

Part of the fun of cooking is trying new things and seeing what can be made of accidents. I've gotten some really good dishes, and new recipes, from accidents and mistakes. So go ahead with Day 10 using your best judgment and with a light heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be out of town on Days 7-10 of this process (w/add Day 6 ingredients and return home late on Day 10 to bake that day or maybe the next morning). My question is, how important is the "mushing" during that time? Will the starter be ok just sitting on the counter without mushing or shall I put it in the freezer to hold it until I get back?

Kenneth Fisler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenneth Fisler said...

Dear Anonymous,

Since I haven't tried not following the directions in the way you're faced with, I can't speak from first-hand experience. So this is just a guess as to what might happen and what you can do.

The purpose in "mushing" the bag is to mix the contents of the bag so that heavier ingredients don't settle to the bottom and lighter ingredients don't rise to the surface. In addition, the yeast won't grow optimally if it forms into pockets of growth and no growth and/or lesser growth. So if you don't mix the ingredients daily, you can expect one or the other or all of these conditions when you come home on Day 10.

I'd definitely advise against putting the mixture in the freezer or even in the refrigerator. Yeast generally doesn't like sudden changes in temperature, even changes of just a few degrees, and could react by going dormant. "Waking" yeast up again out of its dormant state isn't something I've ever been very successful doing.

One other factor to consider is that healthy, growing yeast produces carbon dioxide. Since you'll be gone, you won't be able to open the bag a bit occasionally to allow the carbon dioxide to escape. During the several days you'll be gone the carbon dioxide could build up so much that it will pop the bag open, create a mess, and cause you to lose the mix to the countertop and floor.

So I'd suggest, just before you go, move the mix to a wooden or plastic bowl and lightly seal the top of the bowl with plastic wrap to minimize exposure to the air, but which will allow the expanding carbon dioxide to escape on its own. When you get back, check the mix. You should see bubbles and you might see separation of the mix. Smell the mix too, to see if it still smells good. If it does, transfer the mix back to a very clean bag and continue with the recipe as normal.

Baking never carries guarantees. Since you'll be varying the instructions a little, there's really no telling what the outcome will be. The hazards are that (1) not mushing the bag for several days will make it difficult to get the smooth consistency back, and (2) exposing the mix to the air (when you transfer to the bowl and then back to the bag) opens the possibility that a wild yeast will find its way into your mix. The first hazard might be remediable by mushing the bag a few times a day and more thoroughly when you get back home and perhaps by giving the yeast an extra day to grow before proceeding to Day 11. All you can do against the second hazard is to make sure the bowl and the second bag are both as clean as possible, perhaps even sterilized by immersion in scalding hot water for several minutes right before using. Of course you don't want to leave the mix exposed to the air (containing wild yeast) any longer than is absolutely necessary.

All I can say is, give this a try and see if it works. What have you got to lose? I'd guess that it should work, but I really can't know for sure. Maybe you could come back with another comment here after baking and let us know how things went.

Anonymous said...

I've been making this for a while and have had great success freezing the starter, both on day 1 and day 10.

Also, I have never used yeast in making the starter. It doesn't bubbled much in the first 10 days, but still cooks up great. The 2nd+ generation(s) of starter bubble up as usual.

Anonymous said...

This is not a comment.Sorry guys.Just paniced.I started with the yeastnetc.Day 2 my bag seems kind of flat,no bubbles,no air to let out.Was i suppose to stir the yeast n water in bowl when i first began?Iput in baggie right away.PLEASE HELP.

Diane said...

My original recipe calls for 1/2 c milk after separation to prepare for baking on day 10. Other recipe I found calls for 1 cup milk after separation for baking on day 10. Which one should I use? All the other directions and ingredients are the same...

Diane Again said...

I added the warm milk and warm water to the starter batch without soaking the yeast in the warm water first. Did i mess it up for good ? Should I start over?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Diane,

Are you using the recipe from the top of this page? If not, I can't say what you should do. In general though, how you handle the yeast is crucial. It's not just one ingredient; rather it's the ingredient which causes the mixture of all the other ingredients to rise and bind together. Soaking the yeast in warm water first is what starts the yeast growing. If you miss this step and put the yeast in later, then you're bringing the yeast into the process late. Then some other "wild yeast" (which is always present in the air around us) could get the jump on your yeast and take over the mixture, producing something unpleasant. There are too many factors involved here to predict what will happen to your mixture. I would say, if after a few days your mixture is bubbling like it should, and if the mixture smells good, then there is still a chance for success. Otherwise, the mixture may be spoiled.

Diane said...

Thanks for your help! I started a new one!

Anonymous said...

I have three bags started on 12-11 it is now 12-19, I forgot to add the day 6 ingredients. The bags are a little inflated and the mixture has bubbles in it, also it wasn't mushed...Can I make them on tomorrow day 10 and just double the flour, sugar milk? Or should I add the other ingredients and wait a couple of days? or are my bags a complete loss? I was going to prepare them as Christmas gifts...

Kenneth Fisler said...

Dear Anonymous,

Since I've never done what you've done before, I'm guessing about what would be best. Since, as you say, there are bubbles in the mixture, it would seem that it's still alive. So I would think it's okay to add in the ingredients of Day Six today and then continue on with the recipe as if today were Day Six. Before you give these gifts to people, open each bag just a bit and very quickly and smell it to make sure that it still smells good. If it doesn't, obviously you don't want to give them as gifts. If the mixture smells clean and yeasty, it should be fine.

Please let us know if this altered recipe works for you. Hope it does.

Happy holidays.

Anonymous said...

I accidentally threw away the directions for my Amish Friendship bread, but in searching online, EVERY recipe calls for additional ingredients on either Day 5 or Day 6. My original recipe (I kept one bag for myself) said to do nothing for days 2-9, only adding ingredients on Day 10. It was delicious and I'd love to make that same recipe, especially since it is now Day 10 again and I have not added anything), but can't find how much flour/sugar/milk to add on Day 10. 1.5 cups of each sounds vaguely familiar. Can anyone confirm? Thanks! I was so pleased with the original loaf ... DEE-licious! :)

Boltonge said...

Hello, it has been awhile since I made this bread. I took out a bag of starter from the freezer but I mistakenly added the flour, etc. on the first day. Can I still add on the 6th or should I just wait until the 10th? The bad is still growing so I know the yeast is still active? I have been mushing...

Kenneth Fisler said...

Boltonge,

Since you wouldn't want to upset the proportions of the ingredients in your bread, I would say (and this is just an educated guess) that you would not want to add in that amount of flour which you mistakenly added in on the first day. Otherwise, your mix will have too much flour in it at baking time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, a friend gave me the start without the instructions and since I had just done it I thought I would remember until I needed to bake the bread. Well I forgot to add sugar each time I added stuff. I only added milk and flour. Will it still be okay if I just add it now when I am ready to bake?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Like many other cooking mistakes, it's hard to say, especially from this distance. If the mix smells okay, then I'd say, yes, add in the sugar now and continue on with the instructions.

Liz Robison said...

Hi, I finished day 10 today, and just realized that I used a metal spoon to scrape out the excess mix from the measuring cup. Will this ruin the entire mix, if it's only minimal exposure to metal?

Liz Robison said...

Hi, I just finished Day 10. I realized after dividing my mix into bags for friends that I had used a metal spoon to scrape the excess mix from the measuring cup I used. Will this exposure to metal still ruin the mix, even if it was very minimal exposure?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Liz,

Don't worry. You'll be fine. I've heard that about contact with metal is harmful to yeast, but I've found it not to be true. I've been making bread just about every month just for roughly fifteen years, have in this time always used a regular metal teaspoon to mix together the dry yeast and sugar and water, and never have had a problem with the yeast because of this. And I've left my metal teaspoon stand in this yeast starter for as long as twenty minutes while the yeast blossoms. So I'm sure you'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

It is day 12, will the bread turn out if i were to bake it today?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Anonymous,

If, as the recipe called for, you mixed in the eggs on Day 10, I would throw out the mixture and also very thoroughly clean or dispose of everything that has come in contact with your mixture since Day 11. It's generally a bad idea to leave a mixture containing raw egg out at room temperature for even just a day, let alone two or three days. The danger of salmonella is simply too great.

Anonymous said...

I really messed up! I added 3 cups flour, 3 cups sugar and 3 cups milk on the first day (today)....then I turned the page and actually read the recipe. Can I save it?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Essentially you jumped to Day 6 and then "decided" to make a triple batch. If it were me, I would try this: Pretend it's Day #1. Mush the bag every day for ten days. Don't add any more ingredients on Day 6. When Day 10 comes, triple all the ingredient amounts shown in the recipe. Instead of making the normal four batches, you'll have twelve. You might want to start asking friends and relatives now if they would want a starter batch when your Day 10 comes because you'll be wanting to give away ten or eleven batches.

Also, read the cautions and instructions in the recipe so you'll be aware of what you need to do during the first nine days.

shannon Stinson said...

So I a week ago Tuesday and on day 4 I added cup flour, sugar, and milk and got a head of myself on day 9 and added again and want to cook tomorrow day 10.... can I still go ahead?? And if so what would be my next step??? I also want to make. 3 loaves no cinnamon no pudding just bread and keep at least 1cup of starter for myself

Kenneth Fisler said...

Shannon,

It sounds like you've inadvertently made a double batch (sort of...). If it were me, on Day 10 I would double all the Day 10 ingredients.

Also, please understand that the box of pudding is an ingredient of the bread. You're not actually making pudding.

Anonymous said...

Even though it's called "Amish Friendship Bread" it has nothing to do with the Amish. The Amish use this sourdough starter to pass along to those who are sick or needy, but the rest of the recipe was elaborated (hence the use of pudding). You can change the flavor of the bread by changing up the pudding flavor and adding additional fruit/nuts. For example, use chocolate pudding and a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for chocolate bread. Hope this helps clarify the Amish/pudding debate.

LandLMom said...

Yesterday was day 10 - I messed up & added another cup of flour, sugar & milk instead of baking it. Can I bake it now or do I have to start fresh? Thanks!

Kenneth Fisler said...

Day Ten calls for first adding a cup-and-a-half of flour sugar, and milk, so you don't have a problem at all. Read again the instruction for Day Ten and you'll see you haven't added too much of anything. You should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I was baking my bread today, day 10, when I got my loaves in the oven, I looked back and saw that I forgot to put in the oil! Is the bread ruined? It has 15 minutes left on baking time......what should I do? Throw it out..... :(

Kenneth Fisler said...

Anonymous,

Hope your bread turned out. I should say that I'm sorry you didn't get a response sooner. But it's the nature of this technology that people generally aren't reading this web page on a minute-by-minute basis, so likely can't reply as quickly as you needed. I do hope everything turned out well.

Anonymous said...

On day 10, when I was adding the sugar, flour and milk, before dividing it up - I accidently added oil, instead of the milk. I had not stirred it yet, so I managed to pour most of the oil off. There was at most 1/4 cup left in the mixture. I just added the ingredients I was supposed to, and mixed it and divided it up. Will it hurt that it has oil in it?

Kenneth Fisler said...

I've never done this myself, so I can't say for certain, but I don't think the oil will bother anything. Just be sure to leave out the same amount of oil later so you don't end up with too much oil in the total mix.

Let us know how it turns out.

NoBrain! said...

I got myself mixed up and am not sure if I'm on Day 3 or Day 4 today...any suggestions as to whether I should add the flour/milk/sugar tomorrow or wait another day?

NoBrainLeft said...

I made some starter but have gotten my days mixed up and can't remember if I'm on Day 3 or 4. Should I go ahead and add the flour/milk/sugar tomorrow and just hope it's Day 5?

Kenneth Fisler said...

It would probably be better to add the flour, milk, and sugar too soon rather than too late.

Anonymous said...

I received my bread on 11/9 and I added my day 6 ingredients this morning very early before work and today is actually day 7. My dough still seems to be just fine. Should I bake as originally planned or wait til day 11 since I missed day 6 by a few hours?

Kenneth Fisler said...

A few hours will make no noticeable difference. You'll be fine.

Lady Rev. said...

I am on day 7 with 3 batches of starter. My plan is to make 3 loaves of bread. I already have too much starter to distribute from previous baking binges. Is there a way I can use all of my current 3 batches without setting aside starter?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Good question, Lady Rev. The Amish Friendship Bread recipe is unique-- as far as I'm aware-- in that it's designed to be shared. As you've discovered, it doesn't really work otherwise. (Too bad money doesn't work this way, right?) I took a hard look at the recipe and found no other obvious way for it to work. I'm sure it could be done somehow, but that would really be a completely different recipe.

Could I suggest giving your starters away on Freecycle or via some other social network? Freecycle is a mailing list kind of thing for people who wish to give things away... and also for people looking for free stuff. There are freecycle groups all over the world. So you could google for a freecycle group in your area, create an account there, and offer to give away your starters there. That's the best advice I have for you.

Anonymous said...

If I add day 6 ingredients on day 8 can I still bake on day 10? (batter looks and smells yeasty) I'm also wondering if I can bake on day 11, 12, 13, etc. It seems according to what I've been reading that this would be possible?

Kenneth Fisler said...

Anonymous,

It seems that you've been lucky. Recipes generally provide optimal instructions. This doesn't mean there can't be valid and workable variations. While I can't be there to give you a certain answer, from what you say it does sound like extending the recipe's schedule is working for you. Please come back and post for us how this worked out.

Anonymous said...

So we left on a trip and took the starter with us so we could do the mashing each day. One of the days the temperature got up between 60 - 70 degrees. We left the bag in the car in the heat, is it still good, or should we throw it out?

Kenneth Fisler said...

It's hard for me to know how hot the yeast got in your car. But that's okay. The most important thing is, do bubbles and still form, inflating the bag, and does it still smell good? If both are true, then most likely the yeast is still fine.

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