Thursday, May 24, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread - the pyramid scheme of the baking world

As soon as I got back from drupa, Aprile gave me some Amish Friendship Bread starter. It comes with instructions for ten days and a bread recipe. Ten days of "mush the bag", "mush the bag", "mush the bag"... After awhile it starts to ferment and sits in it's ziploc bag gurgling and bubbling away. Burbling! I looked that up. It's a real word.

When I opened the bag to start baking it smelled like beer. You can't think too much about it. There is milk in there and it's sitting out. I wonder how old this starter is? How many times has it been passed along? Ahh, you bake it for an hour! Don't worry about it!

The bread is a sweet bread... very tasty! Aprille thought the recipe didn't sound very Amish cause it has instant vanilla pudding in it. Having grown up in Amish country I let her know that doesn't matter. We are talking about the folks that invented whoopie pies!

There are some points that do ring true - the whole "don't use a metal bowl or spoon" deal. Sounds like a lot of Amish recipes in my grandmother's cookbooks that say things like "butter the size of an egg" or "add a sllver spoon to keep the glass from cracking".

The friendship part comes in when you divy up the leftover starter into four bags. One for you to start all over again and three to share with friends. I happily passed burbling bags along to Mary-Irene, Gretchen and Cathy.

It's like a pastry version of a pyramid scheme crossed with gremlins. It just keeps multiplying and you just keep passing it on to friends - growing exponentially.

There is even a book called Friendship Bread where a batch of starter travels through town changing peoples lives. I think I need to read that.

Someone on instagram said you can make other things from the starter like cinnamon rolls! I want to try that next!


  1. This post makes me want to find someone with a starter! I've made the bread, but want to do cinnamon rolls!

  2. My friend did this last summer...It was a type of friendship bread like this but when it was time to cook...she would add a box of flavored jello pudding mix to the dough mixture...It was awesome!