Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chain Bread

About a week and a half ago, a co-worker of mine brought in a loaf of Amish Friendship Bread (which was delicious) and a bag of Amish Friendship Bread Starter, which he gave to me.

I'd never heard of Amish Friendship Bread, so I looked up the story behind it.   This is what Wikipedia had to say:  “Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use."

The starter is a sourdough starter, a yeast-based starter with a lactobacillus culture. Because there’s so much sugar in most Amish Friendship Bread recipes, the result is sweet, rather than sour, but if you have a discriminating palate you may be able to pick up a tangy twist. Like most sourdough starters, Amish Friendship Bread can literally be passed around indefinitely; in fact, the longer its been around, the better.

How it works?  Someone gives you a bag of starter, you take care of it for 10 days, divide it into 4 portions, give 3 away and keep one for yourself, baking some delicious Amish Friendship Bread.  When I showed it the The Mr, he said: "It's Chain Bread!"

This is the starter care instructions that I received with my starter.

Amish Friendship Bread

Day 1:  Do nothing. This is the date on which you receive the bag. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 2:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 3:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 4:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 5:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 6:   Add to the bag 1 C. flour, 1 C. sugar, 1 C. milk. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 7:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 8:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 9:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 10: BAKING DAY! Mix and divide the starter as follows:

Pour entire contents of bag into large non-metal bowl and add: 1½ cup flour, 1½ cup sugar, 1½ cup milk. 

Measure out 4 separate batches of the starter batter, 1 cup each, into 4 separate Ziplock bags (one gallon size). Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of the recipe/instructions.




And then it was time to bake!  I enlisted The Boy to help me.  We decided to make variations of the traditional recipe - he made Lemon Poppy Seed and I made Chocolate.



And the results?

Um, yum!!

Here are the recipes for both varieties:

Lemon Poppy Seed Amish Friendship Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup poppy seeds
2 (3 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. In a large mixing bowl blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, poppy seeds, and lemon pudding mix. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the Amish starter, eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Add to dry ingredients and blend until just combined. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.
3. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F(165 degrees C) oven for one hour. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan.

Amish Friendship Chocolate Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate pudding. Make a well in the center of this mixture. Add Amish friendship bread starter, vegetable oil, milk, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Both varieties were  wonderful.  We are "growing" more starter and I am thinking about some savory versions for our next round.  What would you add?



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  1. I remember when that stuff made the rounds here years ago--and I haven't heard about it in ages!

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