Thursday, December 31

Easy New Year's Resolution - Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is Not a Resolution to be Broken

There was a time when you could make your own New Year's resolution, and break it, all by yourself. Well, just before Christmas, my daughter took care of one of my resolutions and gave me a gift of Amish Friendship Bread -- no, no -- she gave me the beautiful printed 10 days' instructions for keeping the "starter" alive so that, ultimately, I could bake my own loaf. Resolution: Do not let starter die.

Daily stirring and adding ingredients on the proper days was done 21st Century style (you are specifically told not to use metal bowls or utensils) and the starter bowl was replaced with a one-gallon Zip-Lock bag for easy 'mushing'. At last, I could finally bake my own two loaves of bread and discover for myself what ten days of attention had
wrought. Success! Warm from the oven, the American Friendship Bread was delicious with some of this year's Raspberry-Fig Jam. I was hooked and resolved for the New Year to not let my "starter" die. 

The Solar Oven is Bread's BFF
If you're new to solar cooking, one of the first things you'll discover is how much solar ovens love bread. It's very hard to not end up with a great result when cooking your breads, muffins, cakes, and softer cookies in the solar oven.

The only thing you'll have to watch out for is the condensation on the oven door as the moisture is cooked out of the bread, because that will prevent the sun's rays from entering the oven. Keep it clear and you'll get a nice crunchy crust. And, it's important to remove the bread as soon as it is cooked to prevent any condensation from falling back onto the crust.

But, this is true of any uncovered baking you would be doing in the solar oven. Obviously, the less moisture in the food, the less condensation. Cover your foods for the first forty minutes of cooking; remove cover, and add toppings during the last thirty or so minutes of cooking. A fast wipe with a paper towel and there's almost no heat loss to extend your cooking times.

Amish Friendship Bread is Something for Everybody
But, back to the Amish Friendship Bread! Besides being a great gift, it's a very versatile recipe that will easily become a favorite. You decide whether you want the texture of a fruit cake, coffee-cake, or standard cake, by your choice of ingredients added to the starter. Check out these wonderful recipes from other chefs across the country who decided to take their bread to a whole new level -- or, use your own variations.

Aware that resolutions of any kind, especially New Year's, are easily broken, the instructions also include a recipe for creating your own starter from scratch. But, if you somehow lose your instructions, you can actually buy some starter here. It's a non-milk-based starter that, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime. And, you don't have to make bread until you're ready.

So far as any other resolutions for the New Year, number one, I'm going to be better about procrastinating -- which, I will tackle at another time. Have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.


  1. I've kept my Amish Friendship Bread Starter going now for over a month. However, I'm starting to morph it into a plain sourdough starter by reducing the sugar and using water instead of (soy)milk. I just baked 3 loaves of sourdough with it - in the regular oven, sadly. Tasty stuff.

    Happy cooking with yours in the New Year!

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