Last week, I posted the knock off version of Amish Cinnamon Bread...today, the real thing!
You may have heard of this recipe before, perhaps you've even tried it. There are two major complaints that people often have about this bread starter. First is that you have to maintain it, which includes adding ingredients on certain days and mushing the bag contents together each day. The second complaint, and often the biggest is that every ten days you have 3-4 bags of starter to get rid of.
In my opinion, maintaining the starter is not that big of a deal. My concern is more that the bread has to be baked on specific days, and not necessarily on the days when I want it. I'm researching ideas of how to manipulate that...but so far, I haven't figured it out.
And as for the hassle of getting rid of the starter every ten days, I followed the advice of Make It From Scratch and put it on a diet. In essence, just cut back the ingredient quantities you add so the starter doesn't get as big. This gives me one starter to keep going, and enough to bake 2 loaves of bread. So far, its working great!
So, here's the recipe to maintain the starter.
Day 1 - Receive the bag, mush the bag.
Day 2 - Mush the bag.
Day 3 - Mush the bag.
Day 4 - Mush the bag.
Day 5 - Mush the bag.
Day 6 - Add 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and milk.
Day 7 - Mush the bag.
Day 8 - Mush the bag.
Day 9 - Mush the bag.
Day 10 - Add 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and milk. Into 4 gallon sized Ziploc bags, pour 1 cup of starter. Use the remaining starter to bake the bread. Give away 3 starters and keep one for yourself. This becomes Day 1 to start over.
So to put the starter on a diet, I only add 1/2 cup of each of the ingredients on both days 6 & 10.
Now, onto the good stuff...baking the bread!
Preheat the oven to 325°. Pour the remaining batter into a bowl. They make a really big deal about not using any metallic bowls or spoons with these recipes. Who knows if its really as important as they say, but I used a glass bowl and plastic spatula, just in case.
Add 3 eggs, 1 cup of oil, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt and stir together.
Also add 2 cups of flour and 1 large box instant vanilla pudding. There is no special order here, but I add everything except the flour and pudding and mix together first to make it a little easier.
The batter may be slightly lumpy, because you're mixing with a spatula...it doesn't seem to matter in the final product.
Grease two loaf pans. Alternately, this can be used to make muffins as well.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. I actually think this is more than you need, so I just use my regular cinnamon/sugar mixture that I use for toast so I don't have so much extra.
Dust the pans with this mixture (these are liberally dusted because I knew I would have so much).
Pour the batter into the loaf pans.
And top with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. The first time I thought the extra would be fine because it would absorb into the bread while it baked or melt and get caramelly...it doesn't.
The finished product! (see what I mean about the extra cinnamon sugar?)
So the real question...is it worth all the extra effort?
This stuff is good...really good! And one nice thing about the starter is that it forces me to bake once a week or so, which has pros and cons. But to be honest, the other bread is really just as good. So if you don't want the hassle, it's a good option.
I'm probably going to play with this for a while and try some variations. Just google Amish Friendship Bread and you will see that there are tons of different things to do with the starter. On my list are using chocolate pudding & chocolate chips, using banana cream pudding & fresh bananas and turning it into sourdough. So, stick around because I'm sure I'll post those as well.
When I get bored with this, I may switch to a regular sourdough starter, just to see if I like it. I have a friend who has one that is sort of famous, so when I can get my hands on it, I'll let you know.
In the meantime, if you want a starter of this, I'd be happy to grow mine a little fatter and share with you! (assuming of course that you live near me :)
Grace and love,