When I first announced that I wanted to plan out my menus for an entire year many thought me totally NUTS! My thought was you plan a menu every week, so why not collect all 52 menus and end up with your menus planned for the next year. The benefits of having a meal plan are numerous. These posts are about the menus I planned and how I did them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


February 24, 2013

After reading the book “Friendship Bread” and writing a review on it.  I started doing research on Amish Friendship Bread, its history, its uses and similar products.  This is already causing ripples in my kitchen that may be either a boon to my scratch cooking materials or the all out host to a fruit fly congregation.

Amish Friendship Bread is basically a sweeter than normal sourdough starter that is used to create hundreds of breads, cakes, donuts, muffins, coffee cakes and foods of all types.

Currently I have no starters of any type going in my kitchen, which is actually pretty unusual for me.  Generally I will have Sourdough Bread Starter, RefrigeratorPotato Bread Starter, Artisan Bread Starters, sour cream, buttermilk and yogurt starters of various types stashed here there and everywhere, but for some reason I have found myself not doing so this last year or so.  Why I don’t know, I simply got away from it.  I’m thinking as spring is coming on soon that having these starters on hand again might be a good thing.

Despite what you may have heard just about any fermented starter can be refrigerated or frozen if you have to travel for a bit or simply bore of it.  So if life gets too busy to do my baking I can always freeze them.  Then once thawed you start over with day one of the process.

I lost most of my starters when my big freezer died the last time and I’ve simply not got them going again.  So yesterday I started out with the new to me Amish Friendship Bread Starter, and then I’ll slowly work my way through the various other “ferment” items I have used over the years to give variety to our basic menus.  First I need to get both fridges cleaned out for the refrigerated bread doughs, yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk batches but that is a post for the PrincessPlan blog so please wander over there and read it.

Since I needed to do some research anyway on the Amish Friendship Bread Starter and recipes for its use anyway I soon found myself cruising the web watching utube videos on the subject and reading of its history on various websites.  This of course segued into finding other fermented products to possibly try like Biga, andHerman Cake.

Biga is a much thicker starter used in Italian cooking for things like Ciabatta bread and is often called La Madre or Mother to bread.  

Herman is a German Friendship Bread quite similar to the Amish Friendship Bread http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Cake  .  I found the name of this one interesting because I call my regular Sourdough Starter Herman and he actually resides in my Herman Pot that the master Potter Swan made for me years ago while I was attending rendezvous.  It is basically a lidded crock with an air hole in the lid to allow the gases to escape.   When using my Herman pot I do put a piece of folded cheese cloth under the lid because fruit flies are very determined little fellows and where you have starter and bananas in the same kitchen you are likely to get fruit flies.  Then I will have to drag out my homemade fruit fly traps instructions to get rid of those guys too.

While reading the book and doing the research I found myself thinking about the brandied fruit that I use to make in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  It was excellent as a topping for ice cream, cheese cakes, pound cakes and numerous other items or to bake with so of course I decided to check for recipes for that as well.  A trip to the grocery will be required for me to get that starter going, so I’ll post about it on a later date.  I have already uploaded the recipe for the starter for it if you are interested, just hit the hyperlink above and another window will open directly to the recipe.

Now on to creating the starter for the Amish Friendship Bread.  It is a very basic recipe and the only thing you have to remember is to not use anything metal while making the recipe for this or any other fermented starters.  Because if you do the starter will turn green and develop a metallic taste that is most unpleasant.   I personally use glass or ceramic bowls, or my pottery Herman pot and wooden spoons for all my mixing. 

It took me roughly 15 minutes to gather and make the starter and day one was soon behind me.  Following the instructions of the recipe I should be baking my first Friendship Bread in ten days.  Stay tuned.

Jan who likes having the basics put together for fast basic baking during the busy spring season as she sets out the garden and helps her men clean up the yard in OK

Epilogue: Day #2 moved the Friendship Bread starter from the bowl I mixed it in to the standard gallon Ziploc bag today.  Squished and mixed and it is now waiting for a repeat of the squishing for the next few days.

Day #3 I found out yesterday that you do need to expel the air from your ziploc more than once a day.  After about six hours my ziploc was very ballooned.  Luckily I checked it just in case and avoided a possible explosion.  What a mess that could be.

Day #6 As per the instructions I just added the 1 cup each of flour, milk and sugar to the starter.  Oh boy did it smell good!  Nicely soured. By the way, when I add milk to this batch I am using whole milk, future batches I may used powdered milk or milk of less fat content, but I always start out with a new to me recipe per the instructions and then adjust them to the way they work best for my family in future versions.

Jan who ran out between rain showers to feed and release in OK

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