June 17, 2010

Cinnamon Amish Friendship Bread (Cake)

I've heard about Amish Friendship Bread for years, but never had the opportunity to try it until now. Alex's aunt gave me a bag of starter at a family party and I was so excited. It's called Amish Friendship Bread because after you've fed the starter and taken care of it for a week, you divide it up into 4 more bags and pass it along to friends.

Taking care of, and feeding, the starter is quite simple. You mush the bag around for a few days, eventually dumping in some milk, flour and sugar. Then you mush it around for a few more days, and turn it into a lovely batter on day 10.

Now, to be fair, it is more similar to a cake than a bread - with a tender crumb, sweet flavor and cinnamon sugar toping. However, in keeping with tradition, I can call it bread if that makes the Amish happy. But, they probably aren't even reading this anyways...

I've typed out the whole recipe that I was given, but I made a few observances/changes along the way.

Cinnamon Amish Friendship Bread
Things to note:
- Do not use any type of metal utensil - bowl, spoon, or pan (I only had a metal loaf pan, and it didn't affect the cake in any way/shape/form.)
- Do not refrigerate
- If there is air in the bag at anytime, let it out
- It's normal for the batter to rise, bubble and ferment

Starter Instructions:
Day 1: Do nothing! This is the day you're given the starter
Day 2: Mush the bag
Day 3: Mush
Day 4: Mush
Day 5: Mush
Day 6: Add to the bag:
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
Day 7: Mush the bag
Day 8: Mush
Day 9: Mush
Day 10: Pour the entire contents of the bag into a large non-metal bowl. Add to the bowl:
1.5 cup milk
1.5 cup flour
1.5 cup sugar (I cut back on this)
Mix well with a non-metal spoon. Label 4 large ziploc bags with "Day 1" and the date. Pour one cup of the mixture into each bag and give to your friends, along with these directions.

Baking Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350
Add the following and mix well by hand
3 eggs
1 cup oil (or applesauce for lower fat)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar (I cut back on this)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 package of instant vanilla pudding mix
Optional: any nuts, dried fruit, etc. I added in KAF Cinnamon Chips because they are awesome.

Pan Dusting:
1/2 cup sugar (could reduce easily)
1.5 tsp cinnamon

Grease bottom and sides of 1-2 loaf pans. (The original recipe called for 2 loaf pans, but I had just enough batter for one full one, and about 1/4 inch of a second. If you do 2 pans, fill each only halfway.)

Dust pan with cinnamon/sugar mixture, and tap out excess back into the bowl. Pour batter evenly into both pans, or into just one, and dust the top with extra cinn/sugar mixture. Bake for approx. 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then carefully remove from a pan. Let it come to room temperature on a cooling rack.