OK, so I admit it, I am an Amish Friendship Bread JUNKIE. Have been since I was a kid, watching that vat of goo ferment and grow. I LOVE, love the smell that emanates when the jar is opened for the daily stirring. OH, and of course there is the bread itself.........pure sugary goodness. Oh, the insulin spike!
Due to the high sugar, flour, and oil content of this concoction of fattening deliciousness, I have tweaked the recipe a bit over the years. This was solely in a effort to continue the consumption of this marvelous treat while not growing myself to much in the process.
(READ: I do not recommend eating this bread while inflicted with PMS as it results in MAJOR bloating and hence, tears. The tears perpetuate the eating, the eating perpetuates the bloating and the tears, well you get the idea ~~Bad news all around!)
In order to make Friendship Bread you need to have starter. This can either come from a friend or if you have friends who are not into fermenting blobs of goo, you can make it yourself. There are loads of recipes for this on the net. If you are the unlucky few who might have to make your own starter just hop on Google and type in Amish Starter. There are several different recipes for this "secret" substance. Finding one that fits with your schedule should be no problem, as the starter recipes take anywhere from a week to 30 days before they are ready for the first use.
The basic idea is: 1 cup each milk, sugar, flour and 1-2 packets of yeast, mix well in a non-metallic container, let it ferment.
I do not us pre-packaged pudding ( I would say that 90% of the recipes circulating on the net require you to add a large box of pudding ) in this recipe, I think it clashes with the whole idea of this recipe coming from the Amish peoples. Just my opinion. Besides, who needs that extra sugar, chemicals and preservatives??
Now for the big finish.
Amish Friendship Bread: Makeover version
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
1 cup starter
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/3 cup pureed fruit (I like to use pumpkin and add lots of cinnamon,cloves and ginger)
3 Farm Fresh Eggs :)
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. of what ever liquid flavoring you like; Vanilla, Lemon, Orange, Almond
3/4 cup sweetener; This can be Stevia, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Honey or just plain 'ole white
1 1/2 tsp. Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Sea Salt
At this point feel free to spice or otherwise foof up the bread to meet with your taste buds approval. Here's a few ideas to get you started:
Pumpkin and Spice (I use 1 cup pumpkin and add lots of pumpkin pie spice)
Lemon with Poppy Seeds (use 1/4 to 1/2 cup seeds and the zest of the lemon)
Orange, Cranberry, Walnut (use either orange juice, flavoring or zest and add a 1/2 each of nuts and dried cranberries)
Tropical ( dried Pineapple, Mango and Coconut with Pecans use Vanilla flavoring )
As for adding nuts or dried/fresh fruit the rule is keep it to about a cup, or the bread will be to heavy.
Place all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, mix well with non-metal utensils. divide into 2 greased bread pans. Yes, it says to not use any metal within the confines of this recipe but I plop the stuff right into my old metal bread pans and it turns out just fine.
Place into a your oven and go start some laundry, it's gonna be about 40-50 minutes before the bread is done cookin'. Test with a cake tester or tooth pick, it's done when tester comes out clean.
This is so absolutely wondermus, served warm with a little dab of salted butter and a steamy mug of black coffee.