I started on a 10 day journey of friendship last week. I was given a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter with a sheet of instructions involving squeezing and adding ingredients on certain days.
We are so used to instant gratification today. You want some bread? Go to the store! Who on earth would spend 10 days preparing to MAKE it?!?! I thought the same thing at first, but soon, it began to feel like a ritual, get up and squeeze the bag, get up and squeeze the bag...but I have to say, that each time I saw that nasty bag of muck on my counter I thought of how lucky I was to have a friend who thought of me to pass this along to. It was kind of like a pact between blood sisters when we were kids.
I squeezed and added ingredients as I was instructed and, finally, it was time to make the bread last night. We mixed and sprinkled and baked ("We" is my Helper Munchkin, he does more than hold boards, you know). This lovely, cinnamon-y, steaming loaf came out and we were proud. It was worth the wait and we ate it for dessert. This is a symbol of my friendships, I thought, warm, comfortable, fullfilling, sustaining. What would we do without our girlfriends? Someone gave me a bag of this starter years ago and I failed to see the symbolizm. Sad.
But....who to choose to pass along this special gift? It has to be someone with patience who will understand that it isn't a chore or burden, but a 10 day reminder of how special they are to me. I think I have some friends in mind...
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Do not use metal containers or utensils."
9 Days 40 Min
SERVINGS & SCALING
Original recipe yield: 4 cups 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
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.
On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).