As much as I love to bake, I have never baked a loaf of bread before. The thought of yeast-proofing, dough-kneading, and dough-rising seemed pretty intimidating. Then on one fateful day, I came across the perfect opportunity to bake bread for the first time ever.
My friend recently passed the Amish Friendship Bread starter kit to me: about a cup-size amount of liquid batter stored inside a ziploc gallon bag, and a sheet of instructions. Similar to a chain letter, once a friend passes the bag to you, it’s your turn to add to it and then pass it on to more friends in order to continue the chain (you won’t get “bad luck” if you don’t continue). The bag sure looked pretty gross, but it definitely has the possibility to turn into wonder bread (pun intended). There’s no yeast-proofing, dough-kneading, or dough-rising involved. You can even make your own starter kit.
Pre-baking directions*: Mash the ziploc bag everyday for 10 days and make sure no air gets inside. Day 1 is the date labeled on the bag.
*If you want to give starters to 4 friends… On Day 6, add 1 Cup flour + 1 Cup sugar + 1 Cup milk. Mash the bag everyday. Then on Day 10, add 1.5 Cups flour + 1.5 Cups sugar + 1.5 Cups milk. Measure out 1 Cup batter and pour each 1-Cup serving into 4 separate ziploc gallon bags and label with the date; include a copy of instructions. Now, you have 4 starter kits to give to friends, or keep however many for yourself. Follow baking directions below for the remaining batch that’s not part of the 4 starters.
My first attempt didn’t go so well. I completely forgot to add ingredients on Day 6 as directed, and I didn’t have time to bake on Day 10 when the batter was finally ready. I ended up tossing the ziploc bag away, thinking there was no way I could have salvaged my mistakes. Fortunately, my friend forgave me and gifted me with another starter kit! I also learned that both of my mistakes were not mistakes after all… The initial batter can last up to 15 days in the ziploc bag, and longer if stored in the freezer. Meanwhile, forgetting to add ingredients on Day 6 just means the chain ends with you, but you’ll still be able to bake two loaves for yourself (or friends) with the initial starter.
Second time around, I jumped straight to the baking instructions and baked on Day 13 when I had some free time. I browsed online for different variations and finally decided on the Strawberry Amish Friendship Bread recipe. I did make a real mistake this time; I forgot to add the oil! Normally, this would dry the bread out faster, but somehow my bread turned out just fine, and tasty too! The bread was pink-colored – very appropriate for breast cancer awareness pink theme!
Strawberry Amish Friendship Bread recipe (yields 2 loaves or 2 cake layers)
- 1 Cup Amish Friendship Bread starter (on Day 10)
- 3 eggs
- 1 Cup oil
- 1/2 Cup milk
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Cups flour
- 1 small box of strawberry JELL-O gelatin powder
- 1-1/2 Cups fresh strawberries, diced
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients as listed
- Grease 2 loaf (or cake) pans
- Dust the greased pans with granulated sugar
- Pour the batter evenly into pans (3/4 full)
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until the bread loosens evenly from the sides, and it passes the toothpick test (toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
- Using non-metal materials for the mixing bowl & utensils will yield best results because metal tends to affect the reactive yeast in the starter mix.
- It is perfectly okay if you forgot to bake on Day 10 (like I did). The starter bag can last until Day 15, as long as it doesn’t smell bad.
- Feel free to use any type of baking pan (loaf, cake, or muffin).
- Add a scoop of ice cream and serve it for dessert.
- For more friendship bread variations, see here.
- This bread is perfect for homemade holiday gifts!
Have you baked Amish friendship bread before? What’s your favorite variation?