Friday, April 22, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread

As promised, here is the recipe for my favorite recipe to share:  Amish Friendship Bread. 

I learned about this bread when a friend gave me a large Ziplock bag of goopy-looking dough and written instructions.  I started reading the instructions and saw that the process took 10 days.  I believe my response was "Not likely."  Upon more careful inspection I saw that almost each day, the instructions were "mush the bag,"  and I thought to myself "now that's my speed."  Ten days later, I had seriously delicious cinnimon bread (more like a coffee cake) and 4 Ziplock bags of my own with dough starters to pass on to other people.  Amazing! 

This is magic bread in my book. 

Amish Friendship Bread Cinnamon Loaf Recipe

Do not use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing - I don't know why, I just do what I'm told.
Do not refrigerate.
Batter will rise, bubble, and ferment ... release air from the bag as necessary.

Day 1 - receive the starter and do nothing
Day 2 - Mush the bag.
Day 3 - Mush the bag.
Day 4 - Mush the bag.
Day 5 - Mush the bag.
Day 6 - Add to the bag 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk. Mush the bag.
Day 7 - Mush the bag.
Day 8 - Mush the bag.
Day 9 - Mush the bag.
Day 10 - Follow these instructions:

1. Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups milk. Stir.
3. Measure one cup batter into four 1-gallon Ziploc bags and give to friends along with a copy of the recipe.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
5. Add to the remaining batter:

3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp. salt

6. Grease 2 large loaf pans
7. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with 1/2 of this mixture.
8. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the top.
9. Bake 1 hour. Cool the bread until it loosens evenly from the pan (about 10 minutes). Serve warm or cold.

If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. The bread is very good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to creat the starter, so if you give them all away, you will have to wait until someone gives you one back.

The cycle has to start somewhere though right?  So here's the recipe to start your own Amish Frindship Bread train...

Amish Friendship Bread StarterThis is the Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe that you’ll need to make the Amish Friendship Bread (above). It is very important to use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass containers when making this. Do not use metal at all!

Ingredients:

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110°F)

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
2. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover the mixture with a lid or plastic wrap. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.

For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions above for Amish Friendship Bread.

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food


Yes, the title of this article is simple, but telling.  I really love food.  Have you ever wondered why all MAP events involve food?  Food has the unique ability to draw people together and create opportunities for conversation, laughter and even friendship.  We may be different sizes, shapes, colors – we might be from different neighborhoods, attend different churches and vote in opposite ways …but we all have to eat; and most of us thoroughly enjoy it.  If you find this to be a common thread through many of my posts, you now know why. 
If you are familiar with our MAP Neighborhood Newsletter, you may have read a short article in our April Issue in which a group of people reached out to homes on the 200 block of East Colorado.  Their mission was to build relationships and they did it through…yep, you guessed it – Food.  Cookies and baked goods to be exact.  Some people from the group were kind enough to share their experience with us.

“ ’Are you serious? Are you serious?! That is so sweet! I'm going to cry!’

((The neighbor on Colorado)) was eager to talk to us about her street, and was very kind. But what was most impacting about ((her)) was her ability talk to us with a trusting spirit. ((She)) made the choice to share her story with strangers, even after having been so recently accosted with violence in her neighborhood.

There were some neighbors that afternoon who would only speak through their screen doors, which is an act of security that I can understand. However, there were many more neighbors like ((this woman)): people who were willing to believe that despite occasional risks, engaging in community is worth it. Loving your neighbor is more powerful than bullets any day…Love wins!”

            -Megan Lundgren
                        Neighborhood Leader - Royal Oaks Ave

                                                                                    …More

                                                                                   
While today, I am unable to bring you all a batch of fresh cookies, I would like to share with you one way I was given a gesture of friendship in the form of food.   Check back on Friday (April 22nd) for my favorite recipe that’s perfect for sharing with everyone.  You won’t be disappointed.   

For now, I send us all off with a challenge:

This week, use something you love to make someone else smile.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting to Know Your Neighbors


Today, I am inspired by Mother Teresa, who said, "I want you to get to know your next door neighbor.  Do you know your next door neighbor?"

As I step out the door to follow her direction, the immediate question next is:
How do you get to know your neighbor?! 
There are many different degrees of knowing someone.  Some neighbors will be great friends, some good acquaintances and some will be challenges.  The thing to remember is that you're all in it together!  So here are some examples for you:
  • Food!  I live in an apartment complex, and my neighbor and her husband invited several of us neighbors over for cake one day, just because she had made extra.  Breaking bread is a great way to get to know someone and a BBQ will always bring people over.
  • Sitting out on the front porch, you are sure to see your neighbors go by.  Make sure to wave and smile!  Just being friendly goes a long way.
  • Take advantage of the little opportunities that are given to you!  If you get a piece of mail that belongs to your neighbor, walk it over when they're home and say hello.  Knock on the door and let them know (if they're like me) that they have left their keys in the door after a long day's work.  It sets the scene that you're all looking out for each other.
  • Know where you can find mediation programs!  Not all neighbors will get along, we understand that; but it's important for your own sanity that you find a way to live alongside each other.  Check City Hall- many cities like Monrovia offer free mediation programs where you can learn to live with your differences.
  • And remember, as a wise neighbor once told me, "Influence your environment before it influences you!"
What other ways are you getting to know your neighbor?  Did you find out something interesting that you didn't know before?  Send us a comment of email us.  Share this blog with your friends and neighbors.  As always, we are on the lookout for the perfect neighborhood fix!