Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bread Tags and Friendship Bread Recipe

We recently had a cake walk at work and I donated three loaves of Friendship Bread.  I made some tags to dress up the packaging.  They came together really quickly but unfortunately I didn't write down the measurements so I won't have that information below - sorry about that! :-(  I just made the mats 1/4 inch smaller than the base underneath - that usually ends up being visually acceptable on most all projects.

I cut the tags using my Cricut Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More cartridge and the leaves were a free cut for a week from the Simply Scarecrow Cricut Cartridge.  I inked the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tea Dye and the ribbon is some Hobby Lobby cheapo ribbon I had.  The solid color cardstock is from Core'dinations and the cute decor paper is from the DCWV Year Round Stack.

We love the Amish Friendship Bread around here and it seems like I always have a loaf in process.  I've had lots of folks ask me for my recipe so here it goes - most of this is from the Beverly Lewis Amish Cookbook with some tweaks of my own:

Basic Starter:
1 cup each all-purpose flour, milk, and sugar - place this all into a gallon ziplock bag and count it as day 1 - do not use the quart bags for this process (it's not a pretty sight!!).   Do not refrigerate while the starter is aging - leave it on your counter where it can ferment

Care and Feeding:
Days 1 - 5:  Do nothing with the bag except squish it and let out any air that may build up (you really won't have too much visible going on these first few days especially with a new starter)
Day 6 - Add 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup each milk and sugar.  Squish to mix well.
Days 7-9:  Squish the bag each day and let out any air that has built up - be careful to keep the zipper on the bag clean.

On day 10 it's time to make some bread!!

Gather your ingredients:

2 tsp Cinnamon
1 box Instant Pudding (I've used all kinds but pistachio and butterscotch are our favorites - you can use regular or sugar free with the same results)
1 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1/2 cup + 1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups + 1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup + 1 cup + 1/2 Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
Optional - 1 cup raisins or craisins and/or 1 cup chopped nuts and/or 1 cup of chocolate chips (or just about anything else you can imagine - go crazy and have fun!!)

Preheat oven to 325F.  In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup Sugar and 2 tsp Cinnamon.  Grease your loaf pans with Cooking Spray (I use two Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pans for one batch) and then coat the pans with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, reserving some for the topping.  Set aside.  I've also used this recipe for making mini-cupcakes and you can also use a bundt pan.

It's time to augment your fully aged starter to get it ready for the bread:  in a glass bowl mix together 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar.  Slowly add 1 cup of milk making sure to keep the mixture smooth - if you go too fast, it will clump up horribly and will be quite a lot of work to smooth out again.  Now it's time to add the starter to this flour/sugar/milk mixture.  I find it's easiest to handle if you cut a corner off your ziplock bag and squish it out like you are using a frosting bag - this stuff is very gooey and sticky at this point.  Mix together gently but thoroughly.  Set aside.

In a separate glass bowl combine oil, eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and vanilla - mix well.  Add 1 cup of your augmented starter, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pudding, and any of your optional ingredients.  Our favorite combo right now is butterscotch pudding with chopped pecans!  Mix this gently but thoroughly.  Pour into your prepared pans and top with the remainder of your cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake for approximately 1 hour - the mini-muffins take about 1/2 that much time.  You can use the standard toothpick coming out clean test.  I usually pop them out of their pans as soon as possible and cool thoroughly on wire racks.

While your bread is baking you can package up your new starters.  You should end up with 3 starters of approximately 1 cup each.  Place each starter in a gallon ziplock bag and you can either place them on the counter and begin at day 1 again (I've found that each resulting batch of bread after re-fermenting the starter turns out better and better), or you can freeze the starter for later use.  (If you freeze your starter for later use, the day you take it out of the freezer counts as day 1 in the care and feeding schedule.)    

If you want to use all of your starter for bread at one time you should be able to get 8-10 loaves of bread.  I have made 8 loaves of bread and one pan of mini-cupcakes in my oven at one time and didn't have to increase the baking time at all.  I have a very large gas oven so you may experience different results if your oven is smaller or is electric. 

The bread freezes very well and only takes a few hours to thaw out again.  I find it's very convenient to have some loaves in the freezer for last minute gifts or drop in guests.  

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