amish bread: a friendship worth mushing for

amish-bread

When you are given something called “Friendship Bread,” be wary. It’s not like I was given the actual finished product, I got the dough and a dizzying list of daily instructions with the promise of the finished product. That is when I got extra suspicious. I was told that “Friendship Bread” was an old Amish tradition (this is done as a selling point, I assume) but figured, anything with such a blatantly obvious adjective has got to be bad, right? I mean, for years I walked right by the closest neighborhood sushi (and never went in) because, and only because, it was called Amazing Sushi and everyone knows that anything called Amazing (fill-in-the-blank) has got to be major crap. (I later learned, in a desperately hungry moment of weakness that it is the best sushi in town.) Then there was the traumatizing experience years back visiting an old high school friend who was staying at a hotel in Miami Beach. I had planned a day filled with profound conversation and lounging around a sophisticated pool, and knowing he was staying in the prestigious neighborhood of Bal Harbor, I was equally excited for some pampering. But when I arrived at his hotel, a rinky dink “Quality Inn”, nestled as an afterthought amongst the glorious Fountain Bleu and other equally stunning condominiums, I knew the conversation would be good but the pampering non-existent. (We ended up sneaking into the Fountain Bleu’s pool.)

So here I was given a Ziploc bag with the contents of some sort of fermentation (ahhh, I mean, starter) called Friendship Bread. And believe me, had it not been given to me by my best friend, that friendship would have ended in the trash. There it sat on my counter, testing the plastic it was encased in, simmering and bubbling in its own quiet decomposition that, alongside the list of ingredients and degrees of massaging my photocopied instructions detailed, would promise after ten days to deliver an unforgettable bread, lest I screw the time schedule up.

I’m no good at time schedules so Friendship Bread immediately became a source of stress. I’m also not too neat, so, amongst the clutter of potholders, prescription medicines, and a crazy array of coupons never-to-be-used cut out by my ten-year old daughter (she has a coupon-cutting addiction; we’re working on it) sat the gurgling Ziploc.

And like a crazed woman wondering after she left the house if she turned off the oven or not, I questioned, “Is it day six or day eight? Do I massage (or as the instructions readily put it, “mush”) , let out air, or add a cup of sugar?” These thoughts seemed to consume me throughout my day (I know, my day needs to get more exciting, apparently) and each time I’d rush back home and look at that damn Ziploc bag, it would look pretty much the same.

In all honesty, I lost track of the days with the Friendship Bread, even with the starting date being written in big bold letters on the bag. I just was never good at math or logic or following instructions, and being barricaded into a time scheme with all of the above seemed to short-circuit my culinary instinct. So, I started going with my gut and guessing it was time for a quick rub of the bag, a shake upside down, some milk and sugar, all the while praying that Ziploc would live up to its good ‘ole American reputation and not disintegrate on me, sending the Friendship goop, which had now morphed into a repressed Enemy Bread, all over my cluttered countertop.

Ziploc didn’t disappoint and I am happy to announce neither did the Friendship Bread. After ten (or twelve?) days of huffing and puffing and worrying about nurturing this dough properly, I felt relief when the day came that I’d be able to rid myself of the responsibility by baking it. I swore out loud as my husband is my witness that I would never, ever go through this stress again. And then I baked it. And I tasted it. And I was changed. It was tender and moist, with a slight cinnamon sugar crunch from the coating outside, and it quickly became my best friend, washing all the worrying away and opening the door for a perfect companion to coffee. In the end, the best friendships are worth a little trouble.

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Pan Amish:  Una Amistad Que Vale El Fastidio

Cuando te den algo llamado “Pan de Amistad,” ten cuidado. No es como me dieron el producto acabado, sí no, me entregaron la masa y una lista interminable de instrucciones diarias con la promesa del producto acabado. Eso  me puso bien sospechosa. Me aseguraron que el “Pan de Amistad” era una vieja tradición Amish (este es hecho como un punto de venta, asumo) pero juraba que algo con un adjetivo tan descaradamente obvio tiene que ser malo, correcto? Quiero decir, durante años pasaba y no entraba por el sushi del barrio porque, y sólo porque, se llamaba  “Sushi Asombroso” y todos saben que algo que se llame Asombroso tiene que ser una cagada. (Más tarde aprendí, en un momento desesperadamente hambriento donde entré y almorzé en Sushi Asombroso que este es el mejor sushi en la ciudad.) Tambien había la vez, hace años atrás que fui a visitar un viejo amigo que se quedaba en un hotel en Miami Beach. Yo había planeado un día lleno de conversación profunda y tomando sol en una piscina de cinco estrellas, especialmente conociéndo se quedaba en la vecindad prestigiosa Bal Harbor. Pero cuando llegué a su hotel, un edificio sucio y olvidado con el nombre de “Hotel de Calidad” sabía que lo unico bueno sería la conversación.

Así aquí me dieron un bolso de Ziploc con los contenido de alguna clase de fermentación llamado el Pan de Amistad. Y créame, si no me lo había dado mí mejor amiga, aquella amistad habría terminado en la basura. Puse la bolsa en la cocina donde burbujeaba en su propia descomposición, junto con las instrucciones muy detalladas con la lista de ingredientes y grados de masajear la masa durante diez dias, prometíendo resultar en algo inolvidable.

No soy nada bueno con listas ni organización así que el Pan de Amistad inmediatamente se convirtio en una fuente de stress. Como una mujer enloquecida que se pregunta después de que ella dejó la casa si apago el horno o no, pregunté, “Es el día seis o día ocho? ¿Masajeo o añado una taza de azúcar?”  Estos pensamientos parecieron consumirme a lo largo de mi día y cada vez que llegaba a casa y miraba la condenada  bolsa de Ziploc, parecía mas un ejercicio para enemigos que amigos.

Me da mucha felicidad en anunciar que el Pan de Amistad fue un gran exito. ¿Después de diez días de preocupar sobre nutrir esta masa correctamente, sentí el alivio cuando el día vino que sería capaz de liberarme de la responsabilidad horneándolo. Juré en voz alta que nunca pasaría por esta tensión otra vez. Y luego lo horneé. Y lo probé. Y ese pan me cambio. Era suave y humedo adentro, con un crujido de azúcar y canela leve de la capa fuera, y rápidamente se hizo mi mejor amigo, quitando toda mi preocupación y en vez invitandose como mi compañero perfecto para el café. Al final, las mejores amistades merecen dar un poco de problema.

Pan de Amistad de Amish

No use ninguna clase de tazón metálico o cuchara. No refrigerar. Es normal para que la masa haga burbujas, se eleve, y tenga olor desagradable. Cuando el aire entra en la bolsa Ziploc, sólo suéltelo.

Día 1: No haga nada. Este es el día usted recibe la masa. Vaya por la fecha en la bolsa.

Día 2: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 3: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 4: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 5: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 6: Añada 1 taza cada una de harina, azúcar, y leche. Masajear bolsa BIEN y resellar.

Día 7: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar. .

Día 8: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 9: Masajear bolsa, soltar aire y resellar.

Día 10: Siga las instrucciones abajo.

Vierta contenido de la bolsa en un tazón que no sea de metal. Añada 1 ½ taza de harina, 1 ½ taza de azúcar, y 1 ½ taza de leche. Mezcla a fondo con una cuchara de de madera o espátula. Pon la fecha en 4 bolsas de Ziploc. Mida 1 taza de la mezcla en cada uno de las bolsas y sella bien. Consérvese un para usted para poder hacer mas. Reparte los otros tres a amigos junto con instrucciones.

Precalienta el horno a 325 grados. Al restante eche el tazón abajo, añade:

3 huevos ½ cucharilla de bicarbonato de soda

1 taza de aceite 1 ½ levadura en polvo de cucharilla

1 taza chupa ½ cucharilla de sal

1 taza de azúcar 2 tazas de harina

2 cucharillas de canela 1 paquete grande de budín de instante de vainilla

½ cucharilla de vainilla 2 tazas nueces picados (opcional)

Engrase 2 cazuelas de pan grandes. En otro tazón, mezcle ½ taza de azúcar y 1 ½ cucharilla de canela. Espolvoree con las cazuelas de pan con esta mezcla, reservando el suplementario para rociar encima.

Hornee durante 1 hora. Deje que los panes enfrien dentro de las cazuelas por 10 minutos hasta que el pan suelte regularmente de cazuelas. Resulte en el estante de alambre. Hecha el restante de azucar y canela y coma caliente.

Amish Friendship Bread

amish-bread-2

Do not use any kind of metal bowl or spoon. Do not refrigerate. It is normal for the batter to bubble, rise, and smell unpleasant. As air gets into the bag, just let it out.

Day 1: Do nothing. This is the day you receive the starter. Go by the date on the bag.
Day 2: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 3: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 4: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 5: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 6: Add I cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. Mush the bag WELL and reseal.
Day 7: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 8: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 9: Mush the bag, let the air out, and reseal.
Day 10: Follow the instructions below.

Pour contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 ½ cup flour, 1 ½ cup sugar, and 1 ½ cup milk. Mix thoroughly with a non-metal spoon or spatula. Date 4 Ziploc bags. Measure I cup o f the mixture into each of the bags and seal well. Keep one for yourself as a starter. Give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of these directions.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:
3 eggs
1 cup oil
I cup milk
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 large package vanilla instant pudding
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Grease 2 large loaf pans. In another bowl, mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Dust the loaf pans with this mixture, reserving the extra to sprinkle on top. Pour the batter evenly into pans and sprinkle away.

Bake for 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes until the bread loosens evenly from pans. Turn out onto wire rack. Eat warm or let cool.

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6 Responses to “amish bread: a friendship worth mushing for”

  1. Sara Bir says:

    Vanilla pudding mix, as is the Amish tradition, natch. Many times my mother got plastic tubs or Ziplock bags of starter, just as you did, but she never managed to actually make a loaf of the stuff. I am regretting that now!

  2. leticia salinas says:

    Pero como se hace esa fermentasion de que esta hecha tengo mucha curiosidad se me hace algo increible el proseso que tiene soy mexicana me encanta ese pan tan rico .

  3. Alona Martinez says:

    Maria:
    Aqui hay una receta para el starter:
    Amish Friendship Bread Starter

    Make something special to share with a friend. This delicious starter can make a variety of breads. Do not use metal containers or utensils.

    Ingredients:
    Amish Friendship Bread Starter:
    Ingredients:
    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 granulated sugar, divided
    3 cups milk

    Instructions For Making Starter:
    1). 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 at room temperature until bubbly.

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