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The holidays are coming up on us very quickly and many of us are dreading the inevitable gift shopping.  Well, maybe just I am, but this year will be a homemade holiday and people will be getting baked goods and knitted objects from me.  One of my favorite gift ideas, other than a tin of delicious cookies and brownies, is an Amish Friendship Bread.  I received my first starter from the mother of a former boss of mine and have loved this ever since!  Don’t forget to dress this little beauty up with fun holiday ribbons and containers from your trusty dollar store to make sure that it feels like a special gift 😀

To Make a Starter Batter:

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar

In a glass bowl using a non-metal spoon, stir 1 package of dry yeast into 1 cup of milk. Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar, stirring until smooth. Cover loosely and place on kitchen counter. Do Not Refrigerate Starter. Count this as day 1. Day 2, 3 and 4 stir mixture. Day 5 add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and 1 cup flour to starter mixture, stirring until smooth. Days 6, 7, 8 and 9 stir mixture. Day 10 add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and 1 cup flour to starter mixture. Starter is now ready to be used to make cake and give to friends.

The Recipe

Important Note: Don’t use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers.

Required Main Ingredient

1 cup live yeast starter (see above)

day 1:

Do nothing with the starter.

days 2-5:

Stir with a wooden spoon.

day 6:

Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.

days 7-9:

Stir with a wooden spoon.

Day 10:

Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:

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

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Amish Friendship Bread Variations

Banana Amish Friendship Bread

Omit cinnamon and vanilla pudding in the basic recipe and add two bananas (mashed)

Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread

Omit cinnamon and vanilla pudding from the basic recipe and add 1 – (5.1 oz) box of instant chocolate pudding, 3 tsp. cocoa and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Bake for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

Apple Cinnamon Friendship Bread

add one cup of raisins and one small diced apple.

Chocolate Chip and Nut Variations

You can use many different flavors of pudding. My favorite is pistachio flavor. You may also use different flavors of chocolate chips and nuts.

Butterscotch Amish Friendship Bread

Add 1 box of butterscotch pudding and 1 cup of butterscotch chips. Bake the cake in a 13″ x 9″ pan.  It’s a family favorite!  Don’t forget to omit the vanilla pudding.