Monday, February 11, 2013

Amish Friendship Bread Myths

Amish Friendship Bread

In a previous post, I laid out the standard Amish Friendship Bread recipe with a substitution for instant pudding (since adding artificial ingredients to home-cooked food seems to miss the point). But most recipes also come with a list of stipulations that make the starter seem like a mysterious relic from an ancient civilization. Of course, it's not. I've been making bread, waffles, pancakes, cakes, and other goodies with my starter for over a year, and here are a few myths I've debunked:

Myth #1: No one knows what's in Amish Friendship Bread starter. It's an Amish secret.

This is just silly. There's a recipe here for those of you that haven't received starter from a friend - it's quite simple, really, just sugar, yeast, milk, water, milk, and flour. No magic involved!

Myth #2: Never mix your starter in a metal bowl or with a metal spoon.

Most of the kitchen metals that we use now are coated with a protective finish, and your starter never touches them for long anyway. Metal bowls and spoons are totally fine and won't hurt your bread.

Myth #3: Never put your starter in the fridge. Or the freezer.

Your starter will survive just fine in both places. I usually leave mine on the counter at room temperature, but putting it in the fridge won't kill it. The starter is actually fairly hardy - it's fine unless it starts to turn pink or fails to bubble. In fact, if you get tired of dealing with it, you can put the starter in your freezer for months and just thaw it at room temperature when you feel like baking again. Just don't forget to feed it once it's thawed.

Myth #4: You have to mush your bag of starter every day, feed your starter every five days, and give cups of extra starter away every 10 days.

Remember what I said about the starter being quite hardy? You don't have to be chained to the 10-day cycle that came with your recipe, and you don't have to find an ever-increasing pool of friends to burden with starter. More on this later!

So there you have it: the myths of Amish Friendship Bread. Have any other myths? Add them in the comments!



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