Monday, July 28, 2008

Not Truly Amish, Nor Friendship, Nor Just Bread

Today is smoke-free day 407, and I've also lost a few pounds in part because I refuse to buy and bring into the house excess quantities of foods that will enlarge that which I don't wish to enlarge, like my butt. Small doses is one thing, especially if it's a bag from Taco Bell on my weekly free day, but I do try to be careful about the kind of stuff that just hangs around in the pantry.

So, imagine my surprise when suddenly I found myself in my own home with a whole bunch of something both pretty unhealthy-ish and also ridiculously yummy. I kind of get how it happened, but I wasn't paying attention because I was all caught up in the idea.

See, a friend of mine offered to give some Amish Friendship Bread starter, and I agreed, thinking the Amish are interesting, and I like friends. And I like bread. So the next day, she presents me with a bag of goo and a page of detailed instructions that seem easy at first (lots of "mush the bag" and nothing else most days) but then involves adding milk, flour and sugar and eventually doing all kinds of math in the form of dividing up for other friends until you realize it's like a chain letter of sorts but involving bread starter (a portion of the starter is used to bake bread, while some additional is kept for future loaves and yet more is given to friends), and the brain starts to break down realizing that I either need a bucketload more friends or a really large appetite and bigger pants. (Turns out there are other solutions, and I'll get to that. Stick with me.)

Amish Friendship Bread may be a (lotta) bit of a misnomer. Clearly the mention of adding instant pudding when it's time to bake sort of indicates that this may not have jack squat to do with the Amish, and I can see how some friends might not welcome a gift that you have to kind of care for and then pass along to others. Also, while the end result is, indeed, bread, it's not a go-make-yourself-a-sandwich-on-this-Amish-bread kind of bread but is more like a dessert bread. Think more like banana bread and less like Wonder bread.

And this bread is crazy, crazy delicious, and following the instructions it produces two loaves (plus enough remaining starter to give some away and keep some for yourself to do this all again in 10 days). Two whole entire irresistible loaves that I have to sit around trying not to eat. I froze one loaf, cut the other immediately into 12 equal slices so I'll know how much damage I'm doing (which I've read are about 215 calories each) and tried to pretend like it wasn't sitting on the kitchen counter daring me to have yet another 215 calorie nibble.

See, the sneaky thing about this stuff is that it doesn't all come into the house at once the way that a bag of chips would. No, it presents itself as some cute and fun little project and as just a harmless and unattractive bag of goo with instructions, but then it totally becomes even better than a bag of chips, and it practically mocks you, proving that it is smarter than your good intentions when you suddenly are confronted with two loaves of heaven right there in your kitchen that got there without fully considering that it would happen. Foolishness, but still, there they are.

If you are interested, I've been reading a bit on the subject the past 10 days, so I'll share with you some of the best of what I have found:
This all leads to bread that you will want to spend a whole day sitting around eating. You've been warned.

[Update 8:10AM Monday, July 28: Also, please be aware that 10 days after a person gives you a starter, the same kind person, the "friend" in the word "friendship" may then add to your bread collection by giving you a loaf because they also have too much bread. At this point the recipe my be called Amish Ruined and Former Friendship Bread.]


  1. 've heard of it and it actually sounds pretty familiar. I want to say either my mom got duped into it when I was much younger or maybe we did it as a school project.

  2. ROFLMAO! It does sound delish...but no thanks! I'm not turning my stove on til autumn's here!

  3. Alright, you sold me. I'm going to start finding ways to incorporate healthier stuff into it. Let's both experiment with it, yes? Give me a week to start a starter. (and buy a loaf pan)

  4. It's Friendship Bread Maggie......give it away to friends - hahaaaaheehe

  5. Thank goodness I don't cook cuz that sounds really yummy..
    wtg on the weight loss too!

  6. It is so delicious! One of my classmates actually brought it to class this past semester and it was soooooo good. He offered to give me my own starter, but thankfully I said no.

    Besides the whole calorie fest, there's no way I have the patience to nurse goo for 10 days.


  7. Congrats on the weight loss :) This sounds delicious. I used to take a stab at making bread once a week years ago. I may have to try this when the temps fall a bit here. It's crazy hot in the house these days.

  8. Hahaha, loved that post, Maggie!

    Because I can't bake worth shit, I think I'll start with the macaroni evolution and gradually make my way up to something like this :)

  9. A chain letter of fanny fattener! I hope I live far enough away that you cannot send me any of this starter.

    But oh the laughter you brought me this morning!

  10. HA! So true... been here, done this!

  11. Thanks for the link the chocolate banana bread. I just pulled a starter out of the freezer after not making any all summer. I'm looking forward to it!


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