Thursday, January 8, 2009

Take Control of Your Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Do you know how this story goes? 


A friend smiles sweetly as she hands you a gallon bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter. She informs you that the bread is delicious and your family will love it. It sounds like a great idea so you gladly take the bag and the sheet of instructions that go with it. 

Dutifully, you mush the bag daily, and on the sixth day feed your starter the recommended amount of flour, sugar, and milk. You continue on, caring daily for your starter, and on day ten are rewarded with two delicious loaves of bread and four bags of starter. 

Your family loves the bread and your friends take the starter. It is  Amish Bread bliss.

Ten days later you have two loaves of bread. Your family still loves them, but what to do with four more starters? You already passed the starter on to your friends who now also have four bags of starter to deal with. Soon everyone is sick of dealing with Amish Bread starter and the mere mention of it sends people running away. Yet, your family is asking when the next loaves will be ready. What to do?

It is simple, take control of your Amish Friendship Bread. 

Despite what the  instructions say, your dough will survive if it is not mushed everyday. It will survive if you don't feed it on day six or bake it on day ten. It really isn't that fragile. The first thing you need to do to take control of your Amish Friendship Bread starter is to put it on a diet. 

Hey! It is the new year and half the world is on a diet. Why not your starter? Simply cut the food in half when you feed it on day six (or whatever day you get it fed) and day ten (or there abouts) before baking.  This will create enough starter for you to take out one cup to keep as starter and to bake 1 and 1/2  of the original recipe. So, to put it in instructional form: 

Day 1: Do nothing.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: Mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of milk. Mush the bag.
Day 7: Mush the bag.
Day 8: Mush the bag. 
Day 9: Mush the bag.
Day 10: 
Add 3/4  cup of milk, flour and sugar. Mix well. Remove 1 cup of the batter into a new bag. 
To the remaining batter add:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil (or use 1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce)
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding. 

This will make three smaller loaves or two large loaves, or you can make muffins. Grease the bottom of the pans and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Pour batter into pans and sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 325 about and hour for bread loaves or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool until the bread loosens from the pan easily. 

If you want to take a break from the bread for awhile, freeze your starter. If you want extra starter to give away or make a lot of bread, just go back to the original instructions. 

I've had my starter for over a year now. I don't keep it in gallon bags, but use recycled sour cream or other type containers. I rarely "mush" the starter. If I think about it I might give the container a little shake. I don't worry about the days either. I feed the starter when I think about it, and do the day ten steps when I have the time.  

The taste of the bread can be changed simply by using different flavored puddings and adding different ingredients. Some that I've posted previously: Chocolate Banana, Pumpkin Cranberry, Apple Spice

Other helpful links: 

187 comments:

  1. I was visiting your blog, you have some great ideas for the starter bread! I enjoyed reading things on your blog as well & look forward to reading it.

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  2. I posted the Homestead Carnival #78 today. Thanks for entering your post. And I wish I'd had this article a few months ago! I did freeze some starter, but need to get it out and start it up again.

    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ElCloud/643196/

    April E.

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  3. I learned that it can be frozen and have shared that tip with others. I also have found that the days don't matter that much. I bake it for farmers market all summer, so finally I started stretching it to 14 days so I could bake it every Friday with two different batches going all the time.
    I have read of people making other things out of it too, do you know about any ideas for that?
    The bread sure is good!
    Thanks for sharing, I got here from the Carnival this morning.

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  4. Thanks so much for this posting. It has helped a lot.

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  5. It's great that it is so versatile. I'm currently on day five of the starter.

    LOVE IT!!!

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  6. I have made several versions of bread. I currently have a Coconut bread with mini vanilla chips in the oven. I call it Macaroon Bread. I have also made Banana with mini Chocolate Chips, Lemon Poppyseed, a Tropical Bread (with Pineapple, Banana, and Coconut), and a Chocolate Banana with mini Chocolate chips. One more, a Pumpkin with mini Butterscotch chips.

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  7. i have already went passed day 6 and have added the 1cup each of sugar,flour and milk,can i still follow the recipe above and cut my starters out completely.

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  8. Annon.
    I've never tried it that way, but I think that would work. Good luck.

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  9. Thank you for posting this! I got to day 10 and didn't have enough of a couple of the ingredients. It's nice to be reassured that I can wait until tomorrow to run to the grocery store to finish this. And wonderful to know how to make it without burdening my friends.

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  10. I AM ON DAY 10 AND NEED TO BAKE MY BREAD BUT I DON'T WANT ANYMORE STARTERS.I HAVE 4 STARTERS IN THE FREEZER AND DON'T NEED ANYMORE.I NEED TO KNOW WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE ALL THE DOUGH TO NOT HAVE ANYTHING LEFT.COULD SOMEBODY GIVE ME SOME IDEA ON WHAT TO DO....PLEASE I'M DESPERATE!!!THANKS

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  11. Annon.
    You can just bake it all. I've not tried this, but I think if you double the original recipe you can use up all the starter and makefour loaves of bread.

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  12. Oh! Thanks for this info. I found your site by doing a search on Amish Friendship Bread Starter.
    I have some starter in my deep freezer & was thinking about doing it again. There's the excitment of this great bread, but also the rememberance of all those starters...
    This really helps me to know that I can cut back on the recipe to get rid of the extra starters but still have bread.
    Thanks!

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  13. How do you thaw the frozen starter?

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  14. Can someone tell me if there are any steps I need to know on how to thaw the starter?

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  15. Jane,
    Yes handling the starter this way lets you enjoy it with out being overwhelmed by all the starter.

    Amy,
    I just thaw mine on the counter.

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  16. I was given a starter and got to day ten, following the instructions, but when I went to split it into four bags, there was really only enough batter for three, and nothing left in my bowl! Did I do something wrong? I am thinking about keeping around a cup of the starter and using it to bake my loaves. Is that the right amount to bake it with?

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  17. Ariell,
    Did you feed it on day 6 and day 10? That is the only thing I can think of that would cause a shortage. If you keep one cup for your next starter the remainder you described should be about right for baking bread.

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  18. Stephanie, you're right. I didn't read it right and skipped the part about feeding it, then dividing into the parts. OOPS! Hopefully my friend has another starter to share. The bread still turned out good enough for my kids to like. :)

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  19. Questions, questions, questions...lol. You say that this will create enough for me to keep 1 cup as my starter and bake 1 1/2 of the original recipe. Is that why to the "remaining batter" I add so much more in ingedients than my original Amish Bread recipe called for? My original starter directions indicate on day 10 to add 3 eggs (yours says 4), 1 cup oil (yours says 1 1/2 cups), 1/2 cup milk (yours says 3/4 cup), etc, etc. If so, and I keep 1 cup starter, does that mean that when I make my next batch that I revert back to the original measurements for 1 cup of starter?

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  20. Questions, questions, questions...lol. You say that this will create enough for me to keep 1 cup as my starter and bake 1 1/2 of the original recipe. Is that why to the "remaining batter" I add so much more in ingedients than my original Amish Bread recipe called for? My original starter directions indicate on day 10 to add 3 eggs (yours says 4), 1 cup oil (yours says 1 1/2 cups), 1/2 cup milk (yours says 3/4 cup), etc, etc. If so, and I keep 1 cup starter, does that mean that when I make my next batch that I revert back to the original measurements for 1 cup of starter?

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  21. kdnasmaage,
    The above instructions have you feed your starter 1/2 of the original recipe and creates 1 1/2 of the original. So when you keep your 1 cup of starter following these instructions at day ten you will have 1 cup of starter to keep and enough batter for 3 loaves (or two large ones) of bread. Then you can just keep up the cycle using these instructions. If you revert back to the original instructions you can create extra starters if you need them. Does that make sense?

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Hello,

    I noticed this question was asked before but never saw a clear answer. I am on day 10 due to bake today, however I have been making this bread for a while now and have no one to give the culture to. What would I do to use up all of my culture without doubling the recipe and ending up with double the amount of loaves? Alternatively how would I proceed to reserve a cup for myself to freeze and use up the rest (ie what are the measurement changes on the recipe if I do this at this stage in the game)?

    THanks!

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  24. Gaby,
    1) You can freeze all the starters to use at a later date. I freeze mine in old sour cream containers. When you pull the starter out you can grow it to bake. I've also seen people suggest that you can just mix up the batter from starter pulled out of the freezer, but I've not tried that personally.

    2) I know you said you didn't want to double the recipe for more loaves, but if you did the loaves themselves also freeze well.

    3) Make the original two loaf recipe. Freeze the one cup of starter you want to keep. Throw away, compost or feed the remaining starter to your animals. (if you have any)

    4) Use the starters to make other things besides bread. http://www.armchair.com/recipe/amish/amish.html
    This site has recipes for pancakes and waffles.

    Once you have only one starter you can follow the instructions above to keep making the bread and only produce one starter from each batch. Hope that helps.

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  25. Thanks Stephanie!

    I would double the recipe and freeze them but there's no room in my freezer! I think I will either freeze my starter and not bake today or I will make the original 2 loaf recipe. A couple of questions though to clarify. Do I still have to feed the starter before following the recipe? How much starter do I need to measure out from what I have to do the two loaf recipe?

    Thank you again!

    Gaby

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. Yes, whether you are going to bake or freeze you need to do the day 10 feeding first.

    I'm not exactly sure how much the "remaining batter" is after the starters are removed. I would guess it is more than a cup, but I think your bread would turn out fine beginning with 1 cup of starter.

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  28. Sorry...Guess I'm still confused.....what I was referring to was only the last portion of the instructions...Why wouldn't I only use 3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 1/2 cup milk etc on day 10...(after I have already taken out my 1 cup for the next starter) since that is just the baking ingredients for the loaves I am making. I understand that to the first and second part of the instructions I am using smaller portions/ingredients so that I don't end up with so many starters, but to the baking ingredients they are increased?

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  29. Oh now I understand what you were asking. The original recipe creates 5 starters, four you keep and one you bake with.

    The logic I used is that by feeding it half I was making half of the original, or 2 1/2 starters. Take out one starter for the next round and you are left with 1 1/2 to bake with which is why my recipe is for three loaves (or I often just make two very large ones) and the ingredients for baking the bread are 1 1/2 of the original recipe.

    This works out very well for me, but there may be other ways to do it.

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  30. So, each time that I take out one cup for the next starter, I will still end up with 1 1/2 to bake at the end based on the ingredients added on day 6 and initially on day 10...right? Thanks again!

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  31. Ahah...Got it....Thank you, Stephanie!! I do have one other question though. To clarify one of your previous posts, am I understanding that when you freeze the starter you do so before you feed it, rather than after feeding it on day 6 and the initial feeding on day 10? I'm just so happy that I don't have extra starters to pass out that I can't wait to make my next batch!
    Dianne

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  32. I freeze mine on day ten after feeding. Then when you pull it out of the freezer that is day one and you can start from there.

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  33. So....you only freeze the one cup?

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  34. So....you only freeze the one cup of starter that you divide out (starting it as day one when you thaw it)? Can you also freeze the 1 1/2 batter (and then add just the remaining ingredients after thawing and then bake)?

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  35. kdnasmaage,
    I've only ever frozen the 1 cup of new starter, but I don't see any reason why you could freeze that batter starter too to make bread late. I haven't tried doing so though.

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  36. ok. the whole discussion has me confused too. Can I use all of my starter on the 10th day WITHOUT feeding it or dividing it into other 3, to make bread? I do not mind having extra loaves,as my family gobbles it up. I am sick of hoarding up starters in my freezer.And it is an expensive process, adding flour, milk, sugar, in the quantities mentioned.

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  37. Right-er
    The starter is so flexible. I have always fed my dough before mixing and baking, but It may work just as well without feeding it. I'm not sure. If you give it a try won't you come back and let us know how it turns out?

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  38. Wow, Amost TMI but helpful. Haven't had a starter for..over 10 years but am on day 10 now. Pleased to learn of freedom and options. 1? In your opion, what's the freezer shelf life? weeks, months... thx

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  39. Deb,
    I know. This post has kind of taken a life of its own! :)

    I'd guess the starter could be frozen for up to six months, maybe longer. Just a guess though.

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  40. I am just wondering when I would add a pudding mix?

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  41. I usually add all the wet ingredients first then all the dry ingredients. Pudding mix can go in with the dry ingredients.

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  42. Oh thank God you just saved me from a lifetime of constant baking! I just finished my first "round" and noticed that I loved the bread, but didn't have enough friends to continually pass out starters too. I was *this close* to starting a wave of "drive by friendships," where I toss a starter into the back seat of someone's car at a red light....

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  43. I don't know, drive by friendships sound like they could be interesting. Especially if someone decided to bake with the strange smelly concotion from a stranger. *grins* gave me a laugh to think about it.

    I also wanted to say thanks for posting this. I did this years back and loved the bread, but stopped due to having too much starter and never keeping up with the days. Knowing that I can fix both those problems has made me very happy.

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  44. Is there any way to avoid using the box of pudding mix? Last time I looked, that stuff is full of artificial this and chemical that . . .

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  45. Julz,
    Yes there are recipes out there that don't use pudding.

    A google search "amish bread no pudding" yielded lots of pages. The top one http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7418/amish-friendship-bread-recipe-deviation-puddingless has a good discussion about it and several recipes and links.

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  46. yikes! this was a very helpful , albeit LOOONG post. I just got a bag of starter about 6 days ago. my favorite comment on the instructions that came with the bag was "if you give all your starters away, you'll have to wait til a friend gives you some more, because the only people who have the recipe for the starter are the Amish." HUH!?!?!
    ROFL!!!

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  47. I'm on day 7, so I fed my starter yesterday. Is there anything I can do from this point to not have any starters? I'm assuming it is too late to half the ingredients on day 10 because I did full ingredients on day 6.

    Thanks for the post, very helpful. I haven't done this in so many years...

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  48. Whispah,
    I haven't tried anything from that point, but this bread is incredibly flexible. you could probably 1/2 the ingredients at the next feed, but I'm not sure what proportions of ingredients you'd need to use for the bread then. I'd probably just go with the original instructions and freeze any starters you can't give away! :)

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  49. In your original post you said that you have had your starter for over a year and just shake it when you think about it. This may be a dumb question but.....have you been keeping that starter in the fridge or on the counter?
    Thanks

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  50. The current starter I keep on the counter. if i have any extras I freeze.

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  51. I have a starter that I was supposed to bake last week but have been unable to get the time. But I have mashed the bag everyday. Do you think this would still be good to bake and safe for my family? I hate to throw it out.

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  52. Yes, it should be just fine! Enjoy your bread!

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  53. to Julz and anyone else concerned...

    i just made a loaf last night and completely omitted the pudding. i didn't replace it with anything...and it turned out just fine. it was actually yum!

    also, anyone interested, for the oil portion i used 1/2 oil and 1/2 sour cream...yes, sour cream :) it turned out great!

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  54. can you bake this earlier without going the full 10 days, I forgot to take mine out before the time I would have to make it for Thanksgiving??

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  55. dkmc529
    I've never tried to bake it early, always late. I think though it should be fine to go ahead and bake early.

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  56. When I am "tired" of making it for awhile I freeze 1 cup after feeding & make all the rest of the loafs - I have friends that work at a family shelter and donate my extra Christmas goodies to them.

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  57. Hi, ok I messed up on adding the ingredients on day 6, I added them on day 8. Does this ruin the whole thing or do I just wait 2 extra days to bake and give to friends.
    Thanks

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  58. Nope not ruined, and you don't need to wait two extra days. you can bake on day ten or sometime a few days after

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  59. Hello there !!

    A really nice post on the Amish Bread starter... I just got some from a friend..

    Good to know I can freeze it :)

    The question I had was.. what kind of vanilla pudding to use and how much volume is one box ?

    I would really appreciate your help with this one...

    Many thanks !

    Mala

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  60. you need to use instant pudding. Vanilla for the cinnamon bread, but other flavors can be used when making variations of the bread. The box is 3.5 ounces.

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  61. Hey Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for your suggestion. Will do :)

    Happy New year !

    Mala

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  62. I forgot to feed my starter on day 6... it's now day 10... do I need to wait to bake?

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  63. Thanks for all the know-how. I didn't want to use the pudding, and being a diabetic, not sure for just the two of us how much I wanted to bake. But I can always give the goodies away. I plan to give daughter a starter with this site for her to use as she sees fit. I guess I don't have that many friends to give to, (BooHoo), but hey, that's ok. I was just expecting a loaf from a 'friend', not the starter and the whole bit. Did I mention that I hate to be put on a schedule like this? I am retired, and am busier than when I was working. LOL
    Nice to know I can freeze, but plan to make three loaves and keep one starter for myself, if I read everything here correctly. The bread is easier to give away than the starter, I'm thinkin'. And, I know a lot of people that would appreciate just a loaf of bread....minus the pudding. As a diabetic, I don't keep pudding on hand. Thanks for the note on the oil and sour cream....those two I seem to have on hand all the time. But I have applesauce and some apples that need to be used.
    dragonflycait

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  64. Just as a p.s
    Discovered I don't have any gallon bags for my next starter, but have a bunch of quart size.
    I do have a gallon bag with the 'slider' and have found that those do not hold liquids well.
    I have, however, seen on another site, that you can put it in a glass bowl, stir with a wood spoon instead of mashing in a plastic bag. Then cover with a tea towel for the remaining days. Would this work?

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  65. Fuego,
    I think I would feed it first and then wait a day or two to bake.

    Cait,
    yes it will work.I don't usually use the plastic bags, but keep mine in a repurposed plastic ice cream or cottage cheese type container

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  66. i have a question. my day 10 would have been 123009 and didn't do the day 10 until today(010410) - is my batter still okay? also, i don't have the ingredients to make the bread today, so i stuck the starters and my batter in the freezer - is this the right thing to do?

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  67. your batter should be fine. I've read that the batter will turn a pinkish color if it goes bad. I've never had any go bad. Freezing it is fine. Just make sure you get it to room temp again before using.

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  68. Ok, here's my question...it's probably already been answered, but I am confused! I received 2 bags of starter that had already been fed at day 6. I want to completely use one up, but don't know how much to multiply the recipe. I have 2 1/2 cups of starter. Do you think if I double the original recipe that would be fine? Has anyone measured how much is left in the bowl after you measure out the 4 1-cup starters? Thanks!!

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  69. If you feed it again as per the original instructions on day 10 you should have enough starter to make 5 times the recipe in the original instructions.

    If you don not feed it on day 10 I am not sure. The starter left is approx 1 cup. The batter is very flexible though. I think just doubling the recipe would work out well.

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  70. got sick and this new batter is way past day 6 feeding. Will do so tonight and go from there.
    Last batch used 1 cup raisins and no pudding and made one large loaf and 18 muffins. Hubby likes muffins and has been seen walking around with one in hand without my giving it to him.
    No pudding and addition of raisins is very good. Will up the raisins next time. I like a lot of raisins in my bread/muffins.

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  71. hi - i put my 4 bags in the freezer, but they didn't get completly frozen - is that how it should be?? Thanks! Great information!

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  72. Cookiegal,
    They should get frozen through. How long were they in there?

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  73. they were there for several weeks - I moved them to the inside, but they were still "squishy" I took one out today to make a bread out of it....should it be okay???

    Thanks!

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  74. I've never had starter go bad, but have read that it turns a pinkish color when it does. I've had starter on the counter for a couple weeks, so I imagine several weeks in the freezer and it would still be fine.

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  75. hmmmmm....Well, I will give it a try then, thanks!

    Nancy =)

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  76. well, here goes nothing! I will report back after it is baked! =)

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  77. it worked just fine!!! =) I did a few things "different" too - I used 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt, and two bananas. I also used slightly less than 1/2 cup sugar, and put a little honey in it too.

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  78. Using yogurt sounds like a great idea! So glad it turned out for you!

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  79. How long do you bake the muffins for? Obviously the hour is for the loafs and muffins will take less time. But if you have figured out the time, would you please post it here so I can do it without burning them? ;)

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  80. Stephanie: You have turned into an Amish bread guru! I just read this whole string of comments (and passed your URL on to another friend). I learned a lot!

    Thank you for your year-long dedication to answering questions for would-be Amish Friendship Bread bakers wandering in the wilderness.

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  81. Patrice, thanks and who would have imagined this post would be so popular? :)

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  82. I figured it out for those who don"t want to keep giving away or freezing the starter. After feeding on day 10, you are left with 6 cups of starter. That means you need 2 cups of starter to start your baking (6c minus 4c to give away). I just split it into 3 batches (2c each) and froze 2 of them. I defrosted one today and made bread from the recipe as if it was what I had left in the bowl. It came out fine.

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  83. This starter is VERY forgiving.... Here is my story: Well over a year ago my supervisor brought some starters in to work. I took one with apprehension because I had an inkling of the commitment involved with the project of caring for a sour dough starter (which is what this is, albeit a sweeter version). I'm pretty sure I followed the feeding schedule (it was a long time ago) and at day 10 I froze all 4 portions (it doesn't get rock hard, it stays very squishy but doesn't appear to grow in the freezer). Anyway, I finally got around to taking one bag out about 3 weeks ago and mistakenly fed it right away, well, actually, I didn't add the milk until the next day. Nothing happened for about 2 weeks. I kept opening it and it smelled sweet, not yeasty/fermented, but it wasn't pink so I figured it was ok. I wondered if I should feed it again but resisted. Was it ever going to do something? I wasn't sure if it needed to be in light or dark? Maybe my house was too cold (64-68 degrees)? Finally a few days ago it started to bubble and smell fermented but I didn't have milk and was/am still confused about if I should feed it THEN add the ingredients to bake it or just add the baking ingredients. I definitely DON'T want more starter with 3 still in the freezer. So I stuck it in the fridge yesterday because I wanted to slow it down, no time to bake, still haven't figured out what I want to do with it. My Dad makes a similar concoction for Russian pancakes called Blini. He uses water instead of milk, BTW.

    So, after reading way too much, getting confused and hung up on all the assorted amounts and days and variations (I even googled "science of friendship bread" - very interesting results*) I came up with this synopsis of the feeding/growing schedule (assuming you have the 1 cup of original starter - could be as little as 2 Tbls. even! ):

    Feed twice - the exact days don't matter so much. Stir/mush/burp the bag occasionally... At the second feeding, separate into 4 batches - bake/cook with it (yes, there are many recipes out there besides this sweet "bread") and/or give it away, freeze it, or begin again to grow the starter.

    Now I just have to get my mind around the correct amount of starter to use in any given recipe.

    My friends say I'm too analytical... its a curse. Thanks, Stephanie, I learned a lot from you and your readers. Sorry for the book. I needed to vent especially because my bag of starter is quite full and I really need to do something with it... eventually.

    *See: http://www.ehow.com/how_2091201_revive-sourdough-starter-gone-bad.html and

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  84. I love when others share their starter experiments. Thanks!

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  85. I am sure you are sick to death of answering questions on this subject, but here goes:) Can I feed my starter with water instead of milk? Letting milk sit on my counter just sounds like not the best idea, but it looks like everyone is doing it without any ill effect. So water or milk as a feeder?

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  86. Tracy,
    I have never tried to feed it water, but I don't think that it will work. You are feeding the yeast in the dough, and I think they'd prefer the milk. ;) Plus this is a sour dough recipe. You need the milk in it. Leaving milk sit on the counter goes against our modern thoughts of food safety, but people have been making sour dough for a very long time. It is safe. If you still don't feel comfortable, and try to make it with water, I'd love to hear the results.

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  87. When you store your extra in the sour cream containers(or ice cream containers) are you covering them with their own cover, with plastic wrap, with cheesecloth or what? =o)

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  88. Toni,
    I just use the recycled container cover. One thing you do need to watch though is that the containers are large enough when using them during the feeding process. I had one in a large cottage cheese container that I didn't burp or do anything with for several days. The top popped off and made a big ole mess.

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  89. I have not found this question addresed yet. I have a starter that is at day 9 tomorrow. There is no bubbling or activity in the mix as I've heard other posters mention. Does this mean that my starter is dead or is it still viable? An answer asap would be appreciated as I am quickly approaching day 10.

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  90. Tomorrow will be day 9 for my starter mix. There is no bubbling or activity evident as I've read from other posters. Does this mean that my starter is dead or could it be still viable? A response ASAP would be appreciated because I am almost at day 10.

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  91. Gwen,
    I've had batches that aren't super bubbly either and the bread has turned out fine. As long as the starter isn't turning pink you should be fine to proceed.

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  92. Thanks for the response Stephanie. I have absolutely no bubbles but I'll bake anyway tomorrow. Maybe I'll get lucky.

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  93. I got to day 10 and then before i could make the bread my dog got it and ripped the bag up and i had starter all over my house.

    how do i make new starter without having to give it to 4 friends???

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  94. What about adding 1/3 of the milk, sugar, and flour. wouldn't that leave you with 1 cup for a starter and the rest make to the recipe as listed?

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  95. Is there anyway to make the bread without creating more starters at all? I don't even want one starter left.

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  96. Yes just bake it all up. Use all the starter and double the recipe that was included with the original starter you received.

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  97. wow! i am SO happy i found this site! here is my question... oookay, just pulled out my "starter" from the freezer. date is jan. 2010... doesn't smell, and is not pinkish... so, my question is i want to start it again, do i have today as day 1, or do i just start making it? i know it is a stupid question, thanks for your help!

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  98. If you want more starters then start as day one. If you want to just bake a batch I think I'd let it sit a couple of days and then bake.

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  99. Once you get a starter, you can treat that as day 10. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Divide into 4 - 1 cup rations in freezer ziplock bags. Then make your bread by adding the other ingredients. Think about it. If you had already gone through the process and were taking out 1 cup for you to make bread and 3 more cups to give away, then any time you use a frozen version of the starter you can begin as if it was Day 10.

    When you want to make more bread a year from now, get it out, let it thaw on counter and start with Day 10. You get more starters to freeze or give away. I have been doing that for years now and tastes just as good as the first time I made it.

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  100. I have the starter that makes six cups but I plan on making only two loaves and freezing the other four starters I was wondering what size instant vanilla pudding box i should use because it doesn't tell which one to use on the recipe I was given?

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  101. i usually use the larger box, but it will work with either.

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  102. Stephanie, this is Sherri (Rice) Rodgers from Heidelberg! Looking for recipe on starter and just realized who this was. I do have a question...have you ever tried making the bread earlier, like on day 5?

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  103. Goodness! That is crazy. How have you been? Your in VA?

    I've never made it quite that early, but I'd think it would work. You may not have as much starter to work with and the flavor may not be quite the same, but I bet it would still be good.

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  104. I am on day 3 but didn't time it out correctly. I actually need to bake the bread on what would be day 7. Can I bake it early? Should I still "feed" the starter? If so, on which day? Thanks for your help! I've had the kits in my freezer for awhile and I usually don't make extra kits, I just don't "feed" it before baking it & it turns out fine. This is my first time needing to bake it early, though. I appreciate any input you have!

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  105. I would feed it on day 5 and bake early. It should be fine.

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  106. Thanks for all that you have posted here! I have made this and ended up with about 12 starters. All of them are in the freezer as I am "tired" of making this bread and have given the starters to my friends and family the first couple of times I have made this. Around Christmas was my 4th time making this.

    I actually found out that I could freeze the starters before this site, but around Christmas I made 4 loafs and had 8 starter bags. About 3 or 4 were already frozen!

    So thanks for posting this site. It took me a while to read all the post, but it was worth it! Now I know I can use 2 starter bags and pretend I'm at day 10 once they thaw out!

    Oh and also my very first 2 bags we left in the fridge seeing as we were taught not to drink warm milk. The bread turned out great still. I would mush the bag every couple of days and about 10 days later I made the bread. It turned out delicious!

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  107. OK, I have four bags of starter sitting on my counter that were supposed to be baked about 14 days ago (I know, but I've been busy!) I saw above that you say starter doesn't go bad unless you notice that it's pink. I didn't do the day 10 feeding and baking. Do you think I could still feed then bake it?

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  108. Just fixing to start baking a starter that i froze a year ago on its 10th day...i fed it but didn't bake or divide up...now its ready to divided and bake upon thawing(2-3hrs).. will keep you posted on how it turns out...kellie

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  109. I'm wondering if my original recipe is different from yours. I'm trying to figure out if I feed my starter half as you recommend so as to not have a ton of starters, then how I should bake my remaining batter when I take out the 1 cup starter. My original recipe for baking the bread is as follows (the feeding directions are in keeping what your description) is as follows:

    1 cup oil (or use 1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce)
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    2 cups flour
    1 cups sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1 large box (5.9 oz)of instant vanilla pudding

    How do you figure out the changes to the recipe to accommodate the batter amount?

    Also, I've never measured my remaining batter after taking out my 4 starters before adding the ingredients for baking the bread. So, I'm not sure how much batter is left for the bread, but I know it's more than 1 cup. How much batter do you have remaining to bake the bread by feeding it 1/2?

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  110. Hi, I've decided to start this whole process again. I've baked Amish bread about 13yrs ago for 3 yrs when my kids were little and still fun and liked to eat. It was fun. After a while though my friends would run and hide when they saw me coming to church with a bag, as it usually had a few starter to hand out again. My "baking" recipe never included vanilla pudding though? It was very similar to the one right above my post, posted by "Christine" on April 5 2011. Why the vanilla pudding? And one more question since I can't find my recipe... What kind of milk are you using? whole? 2%? Skim? I haven't used any type of milk except 'skim' in years. Do you think that would work as well?

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  111. Christine, My recipe to limit your number starters assumes you start with one cup of starter. Then just follow the directions above.

    Charlynn, I use whatever milk I have. The recipe I was given included the pudding mix. You can make it without, but the pudding mix does seem to make it extra yummy.

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  112. I use skim milk and have also used 1% This is a very forgiving recipe and okay to omit vanilla pudding. I also no longer make starters unless I want them. Just skip the step on day 10 of addin 1 1/2 cups each of flour, sugar and milk. Enjoy!!!

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  113. thank you both for your quick answers! I'm getting ready to make my own starter the old fashion way. according to 'Olga' (second post in above link) no added yeast, just 1cup each sugar/flour/milk, wish me luck! I'll let you know if it starts to sour/bubble properly with skim milk.

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  114. Ok...now what do I do? Start over and make my own? I was given starter on 5/19 and I followed the directions up through the 10th day but I did not get to mix the recipe. I did keep squeezing the batter, but on the 11th or 12th day, (fortunately the bag was also resting in a bowl-the bag burst although the hole was in the bottom-perhaps a weak spot or tiny puncture?) I poured the starter into a new bag. Then we had a family crisis and with all the craziness and rushing around, all I have done since then is squeeze the mix. Ever since the burst-the batter has been thin-not growing any longer. It is not "pink" so I don't think it is spoiled. What should I do now?

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  115. I am puzzled by one thing though...if this is truly and "AMISH" starter, what the heck is "instant pudding" doing in the recipe? The Amish would not purchase instant anything--the whole point is to make food from "scratch"!

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  116. You should be able to go ahead and bake it. The batter is probably thin b/c it hasn't been fed. The pudding just makes it extra moist. It can be baked with out it.

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  117. Wow what an amazing post!! LOVE this bread and I am so happy to find out that I can freeze the start and not have to worry about bugging people if they want some. Thanks:)
    So I don't know if I missed any questions about too much bubbling and over expanding of the start? I am on day 10 and I have been letting air out of my bags like 4 or 5 times a day and it smells more sour than last time I did this (only 2nd time making it). I know you mentioned it will turn pink when bad but is this ok?
    Shannon

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  118. it is just good healthy starter. enjoy.

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  119. Hi, I didn't read all the comments, but I'm glad to see I was not the only one who modified my recipe to have only one starter. I made my changes in the cooking recipe instead (or the 10Th day feeding) and my starter grew stronger.

    It was a very "healthy" starter and when I would open the bag an alcohol smell would come to my nose. With a healthier starter the bread was amazingly good compare to the first one!

    If I didn't feed at day 6, I would feed it the next day and count it as 6, then cook on day 10...or 11 or 12 haha. My bad memory and laziness paid off by making me a good baker :D, well with the Amish bread at least.

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  120. I'm so glad to find a website that has recent comments! Thaks so much for keeping this site open and answering questions all this time.

    I used to have a starter, and loved making the bread. Then I moved and the starter didn't survive. I didn't want to "cheat" ad make a new starter using yeast. I recently bought a mix (that probably has store-bought yeast, but I'm turning a blind eye!). It says to mix it in a bowl but I've been using a gallon ziplock bag since that's what I used before. The problem is, I am past day 10 and it is barely bubbling.

    I wonder if maybe the mix was old (so the yeast wasn't active) or maybe it needed air to develop?

    I followed the 10-day instructions on the mix I bought, but I'm thinking maybe I should treat this as a first-time starter without yeast, and wait 27 days. What do you think?

    Also, should I move it from the bag to a bowl?

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  121. Kara, I've never started with new starter before. I think I'd just go ahead and bake. The starter is supposed to be better with age. So I bet your next batch will bubble more. Bag or bowl? I think both should work.

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  122. Ok I am trying here is my question...I have a bag of starter on my counter. I just fed it yesterday (day #6) and am planning to do some baking on day 10 with them. Can I add the flour sugar and milk to the bag and then divide them into the 4 separate batters and bake all of them?

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  123. can i use starter that has been frozen to restart my starter

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  124. During the summer I love to do canning--which usually I go overboard on and cannot help myself. Around October is when I start going full throttle with this bread. Instead of trying to find someone to pawn starters off on this year, I'm going to bake it. Then for Christmas, I'm going to take the baskets I've collected from yard sales all summer, dress them up with ribbons and fill them with Amish breads, canned jams and jellies, cookies, etc. Instead of breaking the bank on individual gifts, I'm doing family packages. I have figured out how to take care of my excess stock AND how to give my friends/family a stress free holiday. I won't worry about duplicating gifts and they won't worry about standing in long lines to exchange something. I can't wait to start!

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  125. I froze some starter and have recently got it out of the freezer to start the process again. I've already gone through one cycle with it and the bread turned out fine, but it just isn't bubbling like it did before I froze it. It still has a yeast smell, but not nearly as strong a smell as before, either. Is there anything I can do to perk it back up and get it bubbling again?

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  126. It will develop more just as you go through more cycles. Likely not all the yeast made it through the freezer.

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  127. I love this post. I have a fed starter (Day 7) and have already lined up takers for my upcoming starters, but it's nice to know that I can limit the amount of starters and control when I bake this bread!

    Quick question, when you thaw the starters, is it Day One?

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  128. I recently just made my first starter. It didn't get as bubbly as I expected. What happens if the yeast wasn't still active? Can I still bake with it or should it be thrown out? Thanks.

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  129. If the yeast wasn't active the bread will just be more dense. I bet your starter will get more bubbly as you go.

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  130. I am confused about the number of starters you get from the 1st starter. I end up with 4 1cup starters and 3/4 cup left in the bowl to bake. I freeze my starters. When I pull my starter from the freezer to bake, do I use the whole cup of starter to bake with the same amount of receipe ingredients?

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  131. I get 4 1cup starters and 3/4 of a cup left in the bowl to bake with. I freeze the starters. When I pull the starters from the freezer, do I use the whole cup of starter and add the original receipe ingredients to bake, or do I have to use only 3/4 of a cup of the starter for the receipe in order to bake. I love your blog. I have learned so much. Thanks

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  132. If you follow the original recipe given with the starter, you'll get 4 starters to share or freeze. I put the starter on the diet so I wouldn't have so many starters to deal with.

    If you pull out a starter to bake with and not to make a fresh batch, you can just follow the original baking directions.

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  133. I got a starter in a gallon bag about 2 weeks ago. It is not pink...I just forgot about it. It smells strong alcohol. Should I throw it out or can it be saved? :) thanks!

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  134. It shouldn't go bad in two weeks. It should smell yeasty, so in alcohol maybe like a beer. Is that the smell you have? Then it is fine. But if you think it is off, better safe than sorry.

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  135. I am not thinking its sour..its just way strong in smell. :) So, can I just make a cake with it now or should I go through the process and feed it like the 10 day schedule suggests? I am so far off I dont know whats best to do at this point. Just hate to loose it. Had too much going on the past few weeks when this was given to me. I appreciate this post so much!! Its wonderful!! :)

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  136. I think it would probably be alright either way. I think I'd feed it and start on day 6 instructions.

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  137. Ok so maybe I'm an idiot (definitely not a baker!) I want to make the bread and don't want to freeze any starter or give any away. I'm on day 1 having used the original starter recipe. Can I just keep a cup and throw the rest away, now? if I do, should I halve or quarter the amounts on day 6 and day 10? or do I just make the whole thing then pull a cup out on day 10 before feeding and the throw the rest away?

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  138. If you don't want to keep any starter, I'd just bake it now according to the original baking recipe.

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  139. I LOVE the title of this post!! I am sad to admit that I have recently become a victim of Amish bread taking over my life.... I am actually working on a blog post about how delicious, yet evil, this bread is! It tastes so delicious but they just keep multiplying and I cannot get rid of the starters fast enough!

    I am definitely putting my bag on a diet!! Thanks so much for this post. I hope you don't mind if I link back to your blog in my own Amish bread post. I will be posting it later this week! Thanks for the great post! :)

    Oh quick question, if you freeze the starter, when you take it out to thaw, where do you start in the directions? From Day 1?

    www.thecookiecounter.com

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  140. Link away! :)

    Yes, day one when you take it out of the freezer.

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  141. I LOVE THIS POST!!!! Sorry, just had to say it. And add my two cents. Ive done the starter thing, off and on, over the years. Just baked until I got tired of it, then waited til I found someone giving them away again. I knew most of this info, but loved reading the post and learning more new things and ideas and hearing everyone's stories. Now I will be able to bake at all my favorite holidays/celebrations/birthday, etc. without all the excess during the down times. Many thanks to you and all who posted!!!!

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  142. I'm SO EXCITED to read this!! THANK YOU!!!

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  143. For anyone that was curious on day six I did the original recipe of 1 cup each then I found this wonderful website. So I decided to just go ahead and follow this recipe for day ten and baking and it came out just fine and very yummy. I am planning on following this one from now on it wonderful only having one start. Thank you so much

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  144. THANK YOU! Love the bread, but 4 starters every 10 days is not realistic. I will be definitely be sharing this recipe.

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  145. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  146. Thank you!!! We just don't have that many friends!!! After a couple of weeks we would just have to throw a bunch away and we just didn't want to do that. You've been a huge budget saver.

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  147. Hi Stephanie, I started with a 1 cup of starter and followed your directions exactly for reducing the feedings amounts. But you don't end up with 2 1/2 cups of starter, you end up with 3 1/2 cups of starter...which is still too much for me. The original recipe makes way more than 5 cups of starter, so that's why you end up with more than 2 1/2 cups. The next time, I feed it 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, milk on both day 6 & day 10 hoping to get less starter and I ended up with 3 cups. Less but still too much, I would like to end up with only 2 cups...1 to use & 1 to continue process. So, I'm wondering if you know what the least amount of measurement of flour,sugar,milk you can feed the starter so that it will still work and be safe to use? I'm also thinking about extending the 10 day process to a 12 or 14 day process. That way, you would only have to bake 2 times a month instead of 3. I love the bread but I do like to bake/make other desserts too.

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    1. Following the reduced directions I use will yield you one cup of starter for the next batch and enough starter to bake three small (or two large loaves.) I haven't tried any further reductions, but this starter is very flexible. Extending your days should not be a problem. I rarely followed the exact 10 day schedule. You could try cutting the starter you save to 1/2 a cup instead of a full cup if you want to further reduce the batter. If you start with less starter then it will need fed less. Just keep experimenting until you find a plan that works for you. You can also freeze the starter if you want to take a break from the bread. Happy Amish Bread experimenting.

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  148. Help! Froze my last bag of starter & it 'died'...never bubbled. Is freezing not a good idea? (was a couple of mon. in the gal ziplock)

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    1. Freezing starter usually works fine. I usually freeze mine in a plastic container. It isn't always as bubbly as using it unfrozen, but if you think it has no life left in it, just start a new one. :)

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  149. Thank you so much for all the information! I have 8 starters on my counter and had no idea what I was going to do with them. One suggestion for those wanting to cut down on the sugar, I use sugar-free pudding and it comes out great. No one can tell a difference.
    :)

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  150. I'm taking the suggestion about the chocolate pudding instead of vanilla, and adding bananas. One my my boyfriend's crafty coworkers made regular bread with hers on her 2nd round. She gave us a loaf and my boyfriend loves it. Another of his coworkers wants his wife to try pumpkin.

    I'm curious, when you add things like this, do you ever reduce other ingredients, and if so, what?

    It looks like i'm going to be left with 3 this time, so I'll have plenty to experiment with!

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    Replies
    1. Depends on what your adding. Applesauce and pumpkin can be substituted for about 1/2 the oil and that is what I've done with the original recipe. The pumpkin works the same way. Other add ins don't usually take the place of anything. They are just extra.

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  151. This site is wonderful & full of info!!! When I make my bread since I watch my diet, I substitute items as follows: applesauce, csnned pumpkin or baby prunes; sugar substitute for the sugar; egg substitute for the 3 eggs; then I use brown sugar substitute for the sugar/cinnamon mixture; super skim milk only and sugar free instant pudding.

    With these substitutions, no one can tell the difference and everyone is asking when I'm baking again so they can get a piece. Maybe this info will help others on the same road.

    Thanks, Stephanie, for a well-informed site.

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  152. I went on vacation and didn't feed my starter on day 6. Today is day 10. Can I feed it and bake or freeze in 3 or 4 days?

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  153. THANK YOU so much for posting this blog and maintaining the responses! :) I'm a newbie at this and have loved reading all this great information and hearing all the fun baking adventures everyone's having. :)

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  154. Thank you for all the helpful info, so glad there are people who have experience with this... I'm on day 6 (fed it) and I'm going to be out of town for 7 days... should I leave on counter or freeze or give up?

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  155. So I'm using the instructions for the full starter. I misread my instructions and on day 6 I added 1 1/2 c of the ingredients instead of 1c. When I go to add the ingredients on Day 10 and separate, can I just add 1c instead of 1 1/2c?

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  156. Aloha Stephanie, you are right, in stating that this blog has taken a life of its own! I am loving it though! All the info is helpful to us Amish Bread novist! My issue is that I nurtured the starter as instructed on the recipe and my bread did not rise in the middle, in fact is sank, when baked. I baked it in a metal rectangle pan. Could that have done it or did my yeast die? Mahalo, Gina

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    1. Not sure about that one. The only time I've had it sink is when it was undercooked.

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  157. Thank you for posting this! I don't have anyone to give me a starter...any recomendations on what recipe to start it with? Also could i use a mason jar to keep it in...and if so what size would you recommend?

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    Replies
    1. There is a starter recipe on Allrecipes.com

      1/2 gallon? You need room to add ingredients and for it to grow.

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  158. I am so incredibly happy I found this site. I used to make friendship bread when I lived in Kentucky. I moved back to Nova Scotia in 1997 and have not seen a starter since! I was going through my recipes yesterday and found the original recipe given to me in 1994 and started wishing for a starter! Heading to the grocery for some yeast! Thanks alot for your information.

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  159. I had some starter in the freezer and took one out yesterday, let it thaw and then, following the instructions for baking the bread, made 2 loaves. The thing is, it didn't come out as big as it usually does, and it tastes no where near as good as I remember. Should I have done the "10 day mash and feed first", then separated and THEN proceeded to add ingredients to one batch to bake into loaves OR done a 10th day feed and then made it? I have tried reading all the previous posts but I can't seem to find that answer. Has anyone else had this problem? and if so how was it fixed? Thank you

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    1. The starter will be dormant in the freezer. It works to bake then, but it will be different. I usually use my frozen starters at day one, and take it through the process before baking.

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  160. When I take one out of the freezer I start at day 1 because it has to "wake" up and be fed. After that 10 days it bakes jisy like a fresh batch. Hope this helps.

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  161. Ok so I have read though most of these posts and let me first say thank you it has been very helpful. The one question I have and maybe I overlooked it is if you freeze a starter, when you take it out and want to start with day one do you store it in the fridge or is it ok to leave it out at room temp for the day 1 through day 10 process? I have heard of people doing the feeding process while storing in the fridge, I have always kept mine on the counter, but I have never used one out of the freezer. So I guess what I am saying is going from cold to room temp and keeping it out will it not spoil? Sorry that may be a silly question, but I am not a professional baker so I don't know how that works. Thank you!

    I would think it would have to stay on the counter so that its warm enough for the yeast to be active, but then that confuses me to the ones who do their starter in the fridge? and if on the counter how the milk in it doesn't make the batch go bad?(maybe that where the "sour" in sourdough comes from?

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  162. I always leave mine on the counter. I don't think the yeast would grow right if refrigerated. I'm not a professional baker either. But letting it all sit out is what makes it the sour dough.

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  163. Can you make a smaller starter to begin with? thx! Love the breads and your site!

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    1. That is an idea. Never tried that though. The started doesn't really start with much, but I suppose it could be cut in 1/2.

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  164. I'll try it and let you know!! I just can't handle a lot of starters. My friends run the other way!!

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  165. Stephanie,

    I just wanna say this is the most awesome instruction manual regarding food ever! It completely takes control of the break and doesn't have you pulling your hair with CONSTANT baking.
    So, I've see a lot of different questions, and would like to maybe help out based on my own experience.
    I ended up quitting this bread because I got tired of baking, but one day I got nostalgic for the bread my grandmother used to make, and looked up the recipe. The starter is super easy if you don't have any one hand.
    1 c. flour
    1 c. sugar
    1 c. milk
    1/4 c. warm water
    1 pkg. yeast (mix this into the warm water, then mix in to the above ingredients)
    That's day one. And then your done.
    I don't like spending forever baking, I'm a mom of pre-teens and stay pretty busy.
    So on day six, I use your method which just makes me so happy.
    1/2 c. flour
    1/2 c. sugar
    1/2 c. milk
    On day ten, since I find it better to feed it first and most recipe's tell you to do so I only add
    1/2 c. flour
    1/2 c. sugar
    1/2 c. milk
    Once I get that out of the way its time to take out my starter, so I measure out one cup, and set it aside. (For the record I have measured, I only use one cup of batter to begin the baking process. It makes one large loaf that I typical use a disposable loaf pan for)
    To the Rest of the batter I add
    2/3 c. oil
    3 eggs
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 c. sugar
    2 c. flour
    1/4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    I love the cinnamon bread but that can get boring after awhile. For great Variations try:
    http://www.momswhothink.com/bread-recipes/amish-friendship-bread-recipe-variations.html

    I've tested several of these recipes and they are amazing and my family loves them.
    Hope this helps everyone! and thank you SO MUCH! for this blog regarding how to control it!
    Just Wonderful!

    Happy Upcoming Easter!

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    1. I would like to add that to the rest of the batter I also include 1 Large Box of instant pudding and an additional 1/2 c. of Milk. Please remember all of this is after the day 10 feed and is part of the preparing for baking process.

      I apologize that I appear to have forgotten this part in my previous post.

      I do hope there is no confusion.

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  166. When making a new starter from scratch, does the milk have to be warm? If so, how would you recommend warming it safely?

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  167. Wow! You just liberated me! I have such guilt about not maintaining the starter that my friend gave me, and I definitely don't want to burden someone with it. I'll freeze the extra bags and save them if anyone asks for one. Thank you!

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