Although it's really counts as a sweet dessert bread, Amish Friendship Bread is also a sourdough bread. It's too sweet to have the traditional “sour” bread flavor, but it uses natural fermentation processes to leaven to dough, just like other sourdough breads do.
Amish Friendship Bread is makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create a starter, so if you give them all away you’ll have to wait until someone gives you a starter back. Should this batter not be passed on to a friend the first day, be certain to tell the friend which day the batter is at when it is presented to them.
As with all sourdough breads, it begins with a “starter.” This starter takes ten days to make, so be patient, but diligent.
1 package active dry yeast (about two teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
3 cups of milk
You'll only need one cup of flour, one cup of sugar, and one cup of milk on any given day, so there's no point in measuring them before hand.
On the first day, place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it stand for ten minutes and stir with a wooden or plastic (NOT METAL) spoon to dissolve.
In a 2 quart glass or plastic container (NOT METAL), combine 1 cup of the flour and 1 cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly. Slowly stir in one cup of milk and the dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover and let stand until bubbly. Leave it loosely covered at room temperature.
One the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days, stir the starter with a wooden or plastic spoon.
On the 5th day stir in one cup of flour, one cup of sugar, and one cup of milk.
On the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th days, stir the starter with a wooden or plastic spoon
On the the 10th day, stir in the last cup of flour, cup of sugar, and cup of milk. You will have about 4 cups of starter. Remove one cup to make your bread with. Give one cup away to two friends, and store the remaining cup in the refrigerator, or start the ten day process again, starting on day 2.
You can free the starter in one cup measures for later use, if you like. Let the frozen starter thaw for at least 3 or 4 hours to bring it up to room temperature before using.
Next time, I'll show you how to make the Amish Friendship Bread.