CHEW THIS! Friendship Bread, No Starter

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday October 17th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman. This column also appeared in “The Shelbyville News”.

Friendship Bread
Blaise Doubman

I was first introduced to Friendship Bread, or what most people refer to as Amish Friendship Bread, by my Grandma Barbra through her love of Amish Romance novels. I remember being amazed that first, Amish novels included recipes inside of their pages and second, that some of those recipes were absolutely delicious and I had never heard of them before! My Grandma Barbra and I tried several recipes found in the pages of some of her favorite Amish novels, such as whoopie pies, shoefly pies, apple hand pies, homemade noodles and even garden salsa. None of the recipes we made together though share quite the same memories to me as the friendship breads that we would make for family and friends. We tried several different versions over the years, picking and choosing our favorite variations along the way. For those who have made the typical Amish friendship bread will know that you have to create what is called a “starter” and more or less play with it, and adding ingredients here and there, over the course of several days, sometimes even up to 2 weeks or longer! It was always a joke between the both of us, that neither of us could wait the allotted time to actually make the bread! But, somehow, we managed, and would always follow the bread’s detailed instructions.

Skip ahead a few years and Grandma Barbra and I decided to research a friendship bread that you could make whenever the craving hit, and not have to wait up to 2 weeks for freshly baked bread. We researched and tested several recipes and failed! Ha! It was fun though and so many memories made. Finally, a friend of my Grandma Barbra’s said she had the beginnings of a recipe that just might work. She gave us the recipe and we fiddled with it for awhile before finally getting it just right. That recipe ended up being printed in my second cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Celebrates!” The recipe I am sharing here today is a spin-off of that same recipe base but made even easier if you can believe it! My Grandma Barbra and I would loaves of friendship bread for her friends who were her neighbors. Debbie Tinkle and Mitzi Payne were 2 of the people we made the friendship bread for the most. I have fond memories of making and delivering friendship bread loaves with Grandma Barbra. This recipe makes 2 delicious loaves, so bake one for yourself and gift the other, with this recipe, to a friend, new or old. Enjoy!

Friendship Bread, No Starter

Leftover bread can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for 5 days. You can add up to 2 cups of your favorite mix-in ingredients such as pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut or drained pineapple.

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 2 regular size loaf pans evenly with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl mix together the lightly beaten large eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, white granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Mix in the small box of instant vanilla pudding mix. Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared loaf pans and smooth out the tops.

Sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon-sugar lightly on top of each loaf, if desired.

Bake, in preheated oven, for 60-70 minutes, checking for doneness after 1 hour.

Remove, allow to cool completely at room temperature before unmolding and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: Hot chocolate season is approaching, and I figured now would be a good time to share my answers to your questions about how to make it homemade. Whisk together 4 cups whole milk with ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and ¼ cup white granulated sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Once the mixture starts to steam, add in ½ cup of your favorite type of chocolate. This could be semi-sweet, dark, bittersweet or even white chocolate. Whisk until melted, add a splash of pure vanilla extract and then serve in mugs, hot. Enjoy!

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