Amish Friendship Bread Tutorial

Amish Friendship Bread Tutorial | The Vintage Homemaker

Note: This post is an updated version of my original tutorial.

Q: Melissa…my family loves the sweet sour dough bread, we use it for so many things. I used to have the Amish Starter but it died when we went out of town, can you tell me how to make a new starter?? My family loved that bread!!!
- Heather

A: I love my Amish Friendship Bread Starter. It is extremely versatile. However, most people who have heard of Amish Friendship Bread are only familiar with the Sweet Cinnamon Bread that is typically made with the starter. You can do so much more! I have been making this bread off and on for years. I like to make small loves of the Cinnamon Bread to give to friends and church members. It is often requested by those who have received a loaf! A recent favorite is my Blueberry Muffin recipe. My daughter Laura loves these muffins! I make a number of different recipes with the starter and I will be sharing some of these recipes with you during the upcoming weeks – so stay tuned!

I received my first batch of the starter several years ago from a lady in town who had been making the bread. I had tasted it and requested the starter. Typically, if you receive the starter from a friend, you will get your starter in a gallon size baggie along with a piece of paper with the instructions for maintaining your starter by feeding it every 5 days and the recipe for making the bread every 10 days.

Since that first batch I have experimented quite a bit with the recipe and the starter and have learned a lot about Amish Friendship Bread that your friends will never tell you – because they don’t know!

First of all, sourdough starters are very forgiving. If you forget to feed your starter on day 5 (according to the instructions) don’t fret! Your starter is not doomed for failure. Just go ahead and feed the starter and keep going.

Many times, as in Heather’s case, a starter dies out because you go on vacation or you are simply tired of making the bread and want to take a break. This does not need to happen! Simply write on your baggie the date and the day you were on (i.e. Day 6) and put it in the freezer. Pick up where you left off when you thaw it out.

I bake with my Amish Friendship Bread on Sundays and Thursdays because those are my baking days. You’ll notice that that is only every nine days instead of the ten days stated in the instructions. It still works beautifully and I am able to bake bread on my schedule.

In order to make each of the recipes I will be sharing over the next few weeks, you will need to keep the following starter alive by feeding and nurturing it. Feeding the starter is a 10 day process and takes very little time each day. Here are the instructions:

Amish Friendship Bread Sourdough Starter

1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 oz. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and stir until mixture is creamy. This can be a covered bowl or a gallon size zipper bag. You can cover your bowl with plastic wrap or with a tea towel like I did.

  • If you are using a zipper bag you will mush the ingredients around instead of stirring. Also, if the bag gets air in it, please let the air out or it will eventually pop.

Let the mixture stand in a warm place to ferment for 2 days. It will bubble and have a pleasant sour odor. After the second day, you start your Friendship Bread. You should have 1 cup of starter.

Do not refrigerate the starter; you want to leave it out on the kitchen counter. Keeping it in the fridge will slow down the growth of yeast and you will not get the desired results from this starter. However, if you need to take a break from the starter (i.e. your going on vacation) you can freeze the starter. Thaw and start over where you left off.

  • Remember, do not use a metal bowl or spoon at anytime during this process or on baking day.

Take your 1 cup of starter: Day 1, 2, 3, and 4 – stir each day.


Day 5, add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir well.

Day 6,7,8, and 9 – stir each day. On day 10 add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir and put 1 cup of mixture in another container. This will be your starter that you keep going. Tomorrow you will begin this process over. Put a lid on the container or use a gallon size zipper bag.

  • If you have two friends to give some of the starter, take 1 cup each and put into gallon size zipper bags to give away.
  • If you only take out 1 cup of starter to save for the next batch, you will have enough starter left to make 4 loaves of the basic Sweet Cinnamon Bread.
  • If you take out your starter and the two starters for your friends, you will only have enough left over to make 2 loaves of your quick sweet bread.

Should you forget to feed the starter or miss a day or two because you weren’t able to bake the bread on day 10, don’t fret! I have actually gone several days without baking the bread and it works fine. My hectic schedule does not always permit me to bake bread “on schedule.” If you do not have a friend to share the starter with, bake a double batch of bread or other sourdough recipes (more to come here!), or throw the starter out, or place it in the freezer to use at a later date. Don’t feel like you have the keep three starters going. There is no way to keep up with that much starter and baking!

Basic Sweet Cinnamon Bread

To the 2 cups of starter you will add the following:
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for 20 minutes and sprinkle the tops of the bread with cinnamon sugar generously. Continue baking for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown or until a cake tester comes out clean. If you have 4 cups of starter simply double the recipe.

Tips to Remember:
  • Do not use a metal bowl or spoon.
  • You can keep the starter in a gallon size baggie or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
  • Many recipes you’ll find online for this bread call for instant pudding. You do not have to use pudding. I rarely use it. I don’t think it’s very healthy and it doesn’t seem very “Amish” to me.
  • You can share the starter, or use the extra starter to make different recipes for your week’s bread supply.
  • If miss a day or two, it doesn’t really matter.
  • You can really bake the bread more often than every 10 days if you want. Just be sure to feed your starter before baking and leave enough starter {1 cup} in your bowl to feed for next time.
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Sweet Hawaiian Bread

Sweet Hawaiian Bread

This bread was easy to make, and tasted wonderful. The first loaf was gone within minutes of slicing into it! The bread was soft and tender. Really perfect!

Sweet Hawaiian Bread

7 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mashed potato flakes
2/3 cup sugar
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice (see note)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, potato flakes, sugar, yeast, salt and ginger. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and pineapple juice to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add eggs; beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place into  greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. When tapped, the bread should sound hollow. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves

Note: I didn’t have pineapple juice so I substituted what I had on hand – White Grape Peach Mango juice and it was just as delicious. I think that any light colored juice would work equally as well.

Fresh out of the oven!

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Tea Towel Biscuits

** I posted this recipe years ago, and somewhere a long the way, it got lost. A sweet lady emailed me today and asked me about it, so I decided to dig it out and post it again! **

Download the .pdf of this tutorial here.

Okay, Ladies. Every vintage homemaker needs to know how to whip up a feathery batch of homemade biscuits. As a Southern girl, myself, I grew up eating these delicious bits of bread, heaven in your hand, throughout the week. Biscuits compliment almost any meal, any time of the day – including snacking.

Ingredients:

3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup shortening or real butter
1 cup buttermilk

Method:

Step #1: In a large bowl, measure out 3 cups of self rising flour. I like to use King Arthur Self Rising Flour. White Lily is recommended as well. Alternatively, you can use 3 cups all-purpose flour and add 4 tsp. baking powder and ½ tsp. salt.

You want your flour to be fluffy, so be sure to sift it, or fluff it real well with a spoon and then carefully spoon the flour into your measuring cup. There is no need to scrape the top off with a knife. You do not want too much flour, else you will have heavy biscuits!

Step #2: Cut in 1/2 cup of real butter (my favorite) or vegetable shortening. I use my own red- handled, vintage pastry cutter for this, or you can use a fork, or even your fingers. You want the butter to turn into pea size bits.

Step #3: Now, add 1 cup of milk, butter milk, or plain yogurt. Stir with a fork just until combined – don’t overdo it.

Step #4: Lay out your Tea Towel and sprinkle lightly with flour in the center – as you would the counter. Place your ball of dough in the center of the towel.

Step #5: Now, simply fold the towel over the dough and knead once. Do this in each direction, three or four times. If the dough is a little wet, you can sprinkle a bit of flour over the top to prevent sticking. Too much kneading will make your biscuits heavy and tough. You just want to bring the dough together.

Step #6: Pat your dough out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.

Step #7: Use your vintage biscuit cutter or a glass to cut out your biscuits.

Step #8: Place each biscuit on your buttered baking sheet or in a well buttered cast iron skillet. This recipe make about 12 biscuits.

Step #9: Bake at 450° for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. You can brush the tops of each biscuit before baking with milk or melted butter for a glossy golden finish.

Step #10: Clean up is a snap, simply shake excess bits and flour into trash bin and toss the towel in the wash. The whole process, from start to pulling the biscuits out of the oven only takes 15 minutes!

While you are at it, make a double batch, and treat yourself to leftovers or tuck a biscuit with jam in your child’s lunch. Serve with gravy, sliced tomato, sautéed squash, eggs, jam, honey, or just about anything. They are scrumptious!

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