June 9, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread

When I was young, I would often watch my mother make bread.  I was particularly fascinated by the weird bubbly yeast - even more so when my mom told me the yeast was "alive".  She told me we needed to feed the yeast with sugar and make sure the water wasn't too hot so that we didn't kill it.  I became very concerned for the welfare of these little yeast creatures (especially because I knew they eventually ended up in the oven), so I asked my mom if I could keep some yeast as a pet.  I think I watched my yeast pets do absolutely nothing in a bowl for a little while, and occasionally fed  them sugar, but I eventually grew pretty bored with them.

They wouldn't play fetch...or do anything else.

Several weeks ago, a friend offered me some starter for Amish Friendship Bread (which doesn't really have any connection to the Amish people).  Since then, I have been feeding it, stirring it, and occasionally baking it.  The starter is kind of like a little pet, much like the yeast pets I briefly kept as a child.  Maybe that's why I like this bread so much.

My kitchen pet.

The starter is a sourdough starter.  Once it's ready to be baked, the process is very quick and simple and the bread is very nutty, sweet, and moist.  There are tons of variations that you can try, but I mostly stick with the original.

The recipe makes enough so that you can give your friends some starter (kind of like a chain letter - remember those?).  You don't need to do this, you can basically just feed the starter once, and then keep some for yourself (approximately 1 cup) and use 1 cup of the rest to make the bread.

Pecan goodness.

Amish Friendship Bread
I followed the recipe my friend gave me, which comes from this old-school-looking website.

Amish Friendship Bread Starter
If you don't have a super awesome friend to give you the starter, you can make it yourself.  Allrecipes has a recipe.

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