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Archive for the ‘Amish Friendship Bread’ Category

Yes, it was an impulse buy

Yes, it was an impulse buy

I had a strange craving this past week for banana bread (Amish Friendship Bread unrealized?), and all the bananas available at the market had that fresh green yellow hue so I was S.O.L. Little did I know, I had other means of scratching this itch, because I walked into Bierkraft in Brooklyn and saw this guy staring right at me. This is normally the type of beer that my purist-beer-appreciator bf would poo-poo. But he ain’t here! Mmmmuuwuuhaha.

I will tell you that it had a very fragrant banana scent that cupped my nose as I took my first sips. But then the scent kinda disappeared into the ether half-way down the mug. And it’s really no substitute for the whole banana bread experience, as in comforting banana-y satiety, but I half-knew that I was buying/buying into a gimmick. As I drained the mug (alone…while watching “In Treatment”… yes, please refer to my blog title), I heard my bf say in my head, “That serves you right.”

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As expected, no buttons

Psst, it wants to befriend your taste buds

My friend E. gave me a Ziploc bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter and a sheet of instructions a couple of weeks ago when we met for lunch. (A quick intro to bread lingo: a “starter” jumpstarts yeast fermentation and provides flavor to bread doughs.) I was very excited, having been a carb slut pretty much my whole life.

When she had first told me that she was making AFB and that there was a starter required, I thought it would be a hearty yeast bread, like a Balthazar pain de seigle, or a multigrain boule. But when I read the instructions, which is a little bit all-over-the-place with strict rulesĀ  (No fridge! No metal spoons! No buttons!), I found that the recipe is really a quick bread. I had never heard of a quick bread that requires a starter. Even more exciting.

Like friendships, the starter brings responsibility. The instructions say that the day you receive the starter is Day 1, and you’re supposed to follow a set schedule of “mushing” the bag’s contents from Days 2-5, then feed it more flour, sugar and milk on Day 6, and mush it again Days 7-9 to mix and bake on Day 10. But E. and I both found that you don’t have to follow the schedule to a tee. Between being sick and other goings-on last week, my mixing day—yesterday—ended up being Day 18. I cheated and stuck the bag in the fridge for a couple of days, thinking it would prevent the milk in it from going bad (though in hindsight, there’s probably enough sugar in it to prevent it from spoiling), and I knew from school that putting it in the fridge a couple of days won’t stop yeast growth, just slow it down a little. I don’t really know what all this cheating on my end says about friendships, though, hrm.

Mmm, goo

Mmm, goo

I’ve parsed the recipe here so that it makes more sense.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch loaf pans with soft butter. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar (a mixture of 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar) onto the bottom of the pans.

Combine the wet ingredients:

1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce for a lower-fat version)

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Add any spices or flavoring you want to the wet ingredients: The original recipe says 2 tsps cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 1 large packet of instant vanilla pudding mix. I omitted the pudding mix and kept the cinnamon and nutmeg, and would add next time 1 tbsp of grated orange zest (if you do add zest, toss with a little bit of flour first so it doesn’t sink to the bottom). Add this entire wet mixture to the starter.

Then mix together the dry:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar (I cut this down to 2/3 cup)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Then combine the two wet and dry mixtures. Mine was super lumpy, so I cheated yet again and used a wire whisk to smooth it a little. (I would make a very bad Amish person.) Pour the mixture into the pans so that it’s about 2/3 full. Bake for about 1 hour until the middle of the bread springs back to the touch. Run a knife along the edges of the bread to dislodge. Cool.

What you end up is two loaves of very fluffy and flavorful bread that reminded me of a cinnamon-spice zucchini bread. It should freeze well.

If you want to start the edible chain letter yourself, here’s the link to purchase the starter. Or I can pass on the cheer to you—yes, you, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you, friend. Call me.

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