A chain letter. That is what Amish Friendship Bread is, except with this one you end up with tasty bread at the end. Actually, mine ended up more like a brownie or dense cake but it is still tasty. The idea, for those who don’t know, of Amish Friendship Bread is that you start with a bag of goo (yeast, milk, sugar) and there are certain instructions to follow for 10 days. On the 10th day you measure out 3 or 4 parts to put in individual bags and give to your friends, and you use the leftover batter to make the bread. Then your friends start the process over with their “starter” bags, continuing the chain.
I’m still wrestling with calling it Amish bread. Instant pudding is used, and I’m pretty sure that’s not Amish. Also, you can’t use metal utensils but plastic and silicone are ok? I thought it was anything that was a machine, or made with a machine, couldn’t be used In which case, metal would be ok because you can smith metal; you don’t need anything but fire to make metal utensils. I think that perhaps it started out being an Amish recipe but somewhere along the line it was changed quite a bit. For this reason I’m changing it’s name to 10-Day Bread of Fun.
Anywho, I signed on to take a starter bag from a co-worker of mine. It turned out pretty good, though I doubt I’ll do it again because I don’t know anyone nearby who would want to take on 10-day bread. The idea of milk and yeast sitting on the counter for 10 days is a put-off to a lot of people, but I promise, it doesn’t go bad!
There are several variations one can do to make the bread; I chose to make chocolate strawberry bread:
10-Day Chain Bread
Starter Ingredients (start here if you have not been given a bag of “starter”)
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 cups white sugar, divided
- 3 cups milk
Starter Directions (only if you are making the starter from scratch and have not been given a starter bag Skip to 10-Day instructions below if you have a starter already)
- Starter (begin here if you have not been given a starter bag already. Skip to step 2 if you have) In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
- Day 1 is the day you were given (or made) the starter. Don’t do anything else to it.
- Days 2-4 just mush the bag around and let out any air the yeast has produced.
- Day 5: Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.
- Days 6-9: mush and let out the air
- Day 10: Stir in Day 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 3 cups and place 1 cup each in large zip-lock bags. Give these three bags to your friends as their starter.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- With the remaining batter (just over 1 cup), add the following ingredients (check out the Variations below for additional/other ingredients) and stir until well combined. Batter may be a little lumpy (at least mine was):1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 – (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts
- Grease 2 large bread pans, 4 small ones, a 9×13 pan, a couple 8×8’s or whatever baking pans you want to use. Dust with cocoa, cinnamon and sugar. Pour in the batter and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. Toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done.
- Banana: omit the instant pudding, add 2 mashed bananas
- Chocolate: use chocolate instant pudding instead of the vanilla pudding, add 3 Tbsp of cocoa powder and 3/4 C chocolate chips
- Chocolate Strawberry: add about 1/2 to 3/4 C sliced fresh strawberries to the Chocolate variation above. (my own concoction, thank you 😀 )
- Apple Cinnamon: add 1 diced small apple and 1 C raisins
- Butterscotch: use butterscotch pudding in place of the vanilla pudding, add 1 cup of butterscotch chips
- Your Choice: this is a versatile recipe and you can use any flavor of pudding you want, can add whatever nuts you want, whatever kind of chips you want. Make the bread your own!