We have a lot of Amish families out by us. In fact, our family is quite close to one of them that runs a greenhouse. They are just wonderful. They have 5 children, and we have even had them to our home for dinner.
I guess I would say they are a more progressive Amish family, if there is such a thing. The mother is quite "modern" yet still very true to her beliefs. However, when her second youngest child became ill one year, she took him to Indiana to seek medical attention. I remember her telling me about staying in the hotel, and how the three children that traveled with her, loved to watch the TV. Funny.
Anyway, I thought I would share a recipe for Amish Friendship Bread Starter. I absolutely love this recipe! I know some people roll their eyes and make faces when they are asked if they would like some "Friendship Bread"... but it really does make great, moist baked goods. I use it to make bread, coffee cake, nut breads, etc. I even make pancakes with it. It is actually quite versatile when you just get creative with it.
It is so simple to start!! All you need is...
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
** Do not use metal utensils or containers **
On days 2 through 4; stir starter with a spoon.
Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
Days 6 through 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
The mixture can be frozen for later use in one cup measures. Frozen Starter will take up to 3 hours to defrost at room temperature.
Make sure you mark the outside of the bag with dates too.
Amish Friendship Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9x5 inch) loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine the Amish bread starter with oil, eggs, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into prepared loaf pans.Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
I like to add pistachios, pecans, etc for extra flavor.