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.
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:
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: