Again, a little reminder about the BSI challenge with this week's ingredient of choice Bell Pepper. You've got until Sunday night to enter. (here) Let's see those recipes. ;-)
I remember Christo aka DoggyBloggy at ChezWhat? had made some a while back. I thought it was a neat. So when a couple of friends had offered to give me a starter of my own, I immediately said yes. For those who haven't heard of this, you can read the history of the here via wikipedia. It's really interesting. You basically receive a dated zip-lock bag full of liquid called "starter" from someone who has recently made it. Then for the next ten days, you have to mush and feed it. Mostly mush. It's a fermenting process for the yeast. Halfway through you feed it flour, sugar, milk and mush it some more. On the tenth day, you make bread as well as extra starter to keep for yourself and pass along with the instruction to three other people who you want to be friends with or keep it to yourself. Then again, that wouldn't be really friendly, now would it?
It's a fun concept. Kind of like "pay it forward". As tedious as the process sounds, it's definitely worth it. The taste of vanilla and cinnamon. The sweetness of it you can't resist. Yum, it's so good. I made a half loaf and 2 dozen mini muffins with the batch I had. I only baked it the other dayand the muffins are nearly gone.
If you don't know anyone with some starter, I found this really cool site that shows you how to make your own (here). But really, what fun would that be? It's best to get it from a friend or aquaintance. It's called "Friendship" bread for a reason. I had to do a little research as I can't really make this bread every week. Maybe once a month. I remember reading that this one person has had her starter for almost ten years and it's still going strong. I've also found out that you can also keep the starter in the freezer until you're ready to start again. It helps preserve it. So I've got myself a starter bag in the freezer. It'll take roughly 3 hours for it to defrost in room temp. Just make sure you take it out ten days prior to when you want to make the bread.
Amish Friendship Bread
These are instruction that come with your starter.
Do not use any type of metal bowls or spoons for mixing.
Do not refrigerate. If air gets in the bag, let it out. It is normal for the starter to raise, bubble and ferment.
Day 1 – Do nothing - this is the date that is on the bag – be sure the bag has been dated
Day 2 – Mush the bag
Day 3 – Mush the bag
Day 4 – Mush the bag
Day 5 – Mush the bag
Day 6 – Open the bag; add 1 cup each of flour, sugar & milk. Seal the bag. Mush the bag.
Day 7 – Mush the bag (let out excess air)
Day 8 – Mush the bag (let out excess air)
Day 9 – Mush the bag (let out excess air)
Day 10 – Mix and divide the starter as follows:
Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 c flour, 1 1/2 sugar and 1 1/2c milk. Mix well with wooden or plastic spoon. Measure out four 1 cup servings and pour each into a separate gallon zip-lock style bag. Date each bag. Keep one for yourself (if you want to do this again) and give the other three to friends along with the copy of this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
To the left over starter in the bowl add:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 stick melted butter (not hot)
½ cup milk
1 c sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 large box or 2 small boxes of INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
Grease 2 loaf pans. In a small bow, mix 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust the bottom of the loaf pans with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Pour batter into the pans and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan until bread loosens… about 10 minutes. Turn out onto serving dish. Serve warm or cold.