I must be on a bread making kick lately. I absolutely adore this bread. I have loved it since the first time my mom made it for us. If you have never heard of this bread will give you the brief story straight from Wikipedia:
Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use. The sweet, cake-like Amish Cinnamon Bread is a common bread that is made from this starter; it is a simple, stirred quick bread that includes a substantial amount of sugar and vegetable oil, with a mild cinnamon flavor. The recipe for Amish Cinnamon Bread may have first been posted to the internet in 1990, but the recipe itself is several decades old.
I'll be honest I'm not a fan of chain letters or any such thing. I'm sure some people love them, but I'm not one of those people. For this reason I found a way to get around this. Instead of making 4 batches of bread (8 loaves) every time I want this bread I realized that the starter is the same on the day that you get it or on day 10. So every once and a while I will go through the 10 day process of multiplying the starter. On day 10 instead of giving them away with a chain letter I stick them in the freezer. Then whenever I want some fresh cinnamon bread I pull out a bag and make the bread.
If you have never tried this bread I do feel that it is worth the time and effort it takes to make a start and make this bread. I love the sweet cinnamony flavor and the unique flavor that the start brings. If you are someone that likes the challenge of finding someone new to give this bread and starter to then feel free to be a good person and share this bread with friends and family, they will be glad you did!
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon.
Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
**Note: Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.
Amish Friendship Bread
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts (optional)
Grease 2 bread pans well. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar into each bread pan and tip side to side to coat the bottom and edges (kind of like you are flouring your pans but using cinnamon sugar). In a small bowl combine oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate large bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and cinnamon sugared bread pans. If you want even more cinnamon sugary goodness you can sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top of the loaf prior to baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.
Recipe Source: Allrecipes