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Amish Friendship Bread requires starter


Doris Bell of Baltimore was looking for a recipe for an Amish Friendship Bread. Typically, one would be given a "starter" for the bread and then it would take 10 days to complete.

Based upon the number of responses I received for her request, this bread is popular with many people all across the country. It works somewhat like a chain letter in that once you receive a starter portion, you are encouraged to keep it going by following the instructions for making the bread and passing along additional starters to others and they in turn pass some on and so it goes on and on.

Joyce Barnard of Knoxville, Tenn., has had her original starter for more than 10 years. I have combined the information from a number of recipes that were submitted to come up with the basic recipe for the bread and the instructions for creating the starter from scratch.

The bread itself is very simple and allows for many variations. I have suggested several additions to the basic recipe but feel free to experiment with any fruit and flavor combinations you like.

Recipe requests

Carolyn Wilkinson of Lutherville would like the recipe for the green peppercorn sauce from Rudys' 2900 in Finksburg.

Patricia Hossner of Salem, Ore., would love to find a recipe for a mayonnaise cranberry spice cake. She cannot recall if it used dried or fresh cranberries.

If you are looking for a hard-to-find recipe or can answer a request for a recipe, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. Letters may be edited.

Friendship Bread

Makes 2 loaves, 8 to 10 servings each

about 2 cups starter (see recipe below)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

2/3 cup oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

possible additions: nuts, raisins, dates, chopped apples, pineapples, berries, mashed bananas, maraschino cherries, coconut, chocolate chips or other spices of your choice, if desired

butter or oil for greasing pan

flour or confectioners' sugar for dusting pan

Stir first 10 ingredients until smooth. Add fruit, nuts, spices of your choice, if desired. Pour into 2 well-greased loaf pans dusted with confectioners' sugar or flour.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Insert a toothpick in bread and see if it comes out clean. Bread may need to bake much longer depending on the additions. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing.

Note: Bread also may be baked in muffin tins or 4 smaller loaf pans or a bundt pan.

Per serving (based on 20 servings): 241 calories; 3.5 grams protein; 8.4 grams fat; 1.4 grams saturated fat; 38 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 33 milligrams cholesterol; 144 milligrams sodium

Friendship Bread Starter

Makes 5 cups

3 cups flour

3 cups granulated sugar

3 cups milk

Day 1: Mix 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of warm milk in a very large glass bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set on countertop. Do not refrigerate. Stir mixture once a day for the next 9 days, with a wooden spoon. Do not use any metal utensils.

Day 9: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir well and cover. For 4 more days stir and re-cover. It is probably best to do this at about the same time every day.

Day 14: Again add 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Divide 3 cups of the starter equally among 3 one-gallon zip-lock bags. Give 2 away to friends (with copies of the following instructions) and keep 1 cup for yourself to start a new batch. (Several readers mentioned that the starter can be frozen almost indefinitely. It will not, however, keep in the refrigerator. If you do freeze it, when ready to use, simply allow to come to room temperature on the counter and proceed.) Use the remaining starter, about 2 cups, to make the bread.

Instructions to accompany starter

Important tips:

Do not use a metal bowl or spoon for mixture.

Do not refrigerate.

When air gets in bag, let it out.

It is normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment.

Day 1: You receive the starter. Do nothing. Store it on kitchen counter.

Days 2, 3 and 4: Squeeze bag several times.

Day 5: Add 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Squeeze bag several times to mix.

Days 6, 7, 8 and 9: Squeeze bag several times.

Day 10: The day you will bake the bread. First add to the starter 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk. You will have 5 cups of the starter. Now separate it. Give 2 starters away to friends, 1 cup is your starter to keep the mixture going and the rest goes into the bread.

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