Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is growing on your counter?


Remember this picture? I've been asked several times over the past years "what is in that bag?" And each time I tell the person asking, "the best bread you've ever had!" Nope this isn't another biscuit post, but it does include yeast. I promise this one won't take as much effort!

I remember seeing baggies of odd looking batter sitting on Grandma Bacon's counter when I was little too. I'd poke at it, squish it, and wonder what the heck it was, until baking day! The smell of a sweet breakfast bread filled the house, just as mine did today. Even the kids exclaimed that it smelled like cookies baking in the oven. So what is it you ask? Amish friendship bread, and the secret to making it is letting it 'grow' on the counter for 10 days. Traditionally someone gives you a bag of starter mix along with a recipe. You are to add to it and care for it for ten days. On that tenth day, you add a few more things to the batter, and divide it out into baggies and pass it on to your friends. After you hand out a few, you might find your friends running in the opposite direction when they see you coming down the hall! Yes they get a bit hard to giveaway after a while! My solution, bake the whole batch for yourself! It will make a lot of breads, but what better to have in the freezer than some yummy breads for breakfast, snack time or unexpected guests.

Here is the starter recipe.

In a GLASS or PLASTIC bowl (this step is VERY important. You don't want to use anything metal when mixing this recipe up which also means mix with a plastic spoon, rubber spatula, or my favorite a silicone whisk) mix:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar

Pour into a large plastic zip top baggie and label with the date. Place it on your counter- don't worry it will be ok! You've completed day one!

Day 1: Do Nothing.
Day 2: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 3: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 4: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 5: Mush the bag and let the air out

Day 6: Add to the bag 1 Cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. I mix these up on a bowl again (remember NO METAL!) and I have Mr. Bacon help me pour it into the baggie. You don't need a second set of hands, but it does help! Mush the bag and let the air out.

Day 7: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 8: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 9: Mush the bag and let the air out

Day 10: Mix and divide starter as follows. Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 Cups Flour, 1 1/2 Cups Sugar, and 1 1/2 Cups Milk and mix well.

If you'd like to share the starters with friends, measure 1 Cup Batter into 4 gallon size zip lock bags. Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of the recipe. You will end up with 5 batches of bread (4 bags and 1 in the bowl) Since I make the whole batch for myself, I skip this step.

Now you are ready to add the rest of the ingredients and bake the bread! One thing I love about this recipe is that there are so many ways you can make it. Today I made Regular (vanilla), Pumpkin spice, Chocolate peanut butter & lemon poppy seed. I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow!



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place about 1 1/2 cups batter in the bowl - remember no metal spoons or whisk- use only plastic or wood for this!


Add:
3 eggs- beaten in a separate bowl before adding
1/2 cup milk
1 cup oil (you can make this healthier by doing 1/2 oil & 1/2 applesauce or all applesauce!)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 large box instant vanilla pudding (or 2 small boxes)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour

*If using Self - Rising Flour omit soda, salt and baking powder.

All ready for the oven!
Grease two large loaf pans or one 9x13 inch pan. You can also make muffins with the mix. One batch will make over 4 dozen mini muffins or over 24 regular muffins. I say over because I don't have more than 2 muffin pans and I usually take the left over batter and bake it in a ramekin dish in the oven. The kids love these special 'mini' loafs! Bake 350 for one hour for loafs, 15-18 minutes for mini muffins or 20-25 minutes for regular muffins, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the loaf comes back out clean.

Here are some variations you can use that came with my recipe that was handed down to be my a friend. Feel free to make your own flavors too. You really can't go wrong with this bread.

Pumpkin:
Add 1 box pumpkin spice pudding and 1 vanilla instead of just the vanilla or two pumpkin spice pudding mix. I add in 1/2-1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice to this too!

Chocolate Bread:
Use the basic mix recipe except use Chocolate Pudding instead of Vanilla make sure to add the 2 tsp cinnamon it really makes the bread taste the best.

Peanut Butter Cup:
Used basic mix recipe, except use Chocolate pudding instead of Vanilla. Omit the 2 tsp cinnamon in the batter. Add 4 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter to the batter and one bag Reese's peanut butter chips. I didn't have the peanut butter chips this time, but it still tastes great without them.

Cherry Cheese Cake or Strawberry Cheese:
I used the basic mix, omitted the cinnamon and used two small boxes of cheese cake pudding instead of the vanilla. I added a small pack of cream cheese or 1/2 large pack (3-4oz softened) and 1/4 cup more milk. You also need a can of Cherry or Strawberry pie filling. After putting the batter into the pans dab teaspoons of cherries on top of them and swirl around with spoon to mix in the cherries. Cook at 325 until dark golden brown.

Cinnamon Struesel:
Before I start the Amish bread I get my pans ready and make the streusel 1 stick butter or margarine at room temp. 2/3 C – 1 cup packed brown sugar 2/3 C – 1 cup flour cinnamon - as much as you like. Put the ingredients together. (1 C chopped pecans are optional.) This will make approx. 2 cups. If you like a little more, increase the sugar and flour to 1C each.
Make your Amish bread according to directions. Use French Vanilla pudding or Vanilla Pudding. Put approx. 1-1/2 C batter in the bottom of each pan and spread into the corners. (Batter will not be runny - sort of a heavy batter.) Top with 1/2 C streusel, remaining batter and remaining streusel.

Banana Nut Bread:
Use the basic mix with 1 cups of walnuts or pecans , 2 large mashed bananas and 1 large box of banana cream pudding instead of vanilla pudding.

Lemon Bread:
Substitute lemon pudding mix and use 1 tsp almond extract instead of vanilla, omit the cinnamon. You can add in 2 tsp poppy seeds to the mix.

Butterscotch Bread:
Add 1 Large box of butterscotch pudding and 1 1/2 cups of butterscotch chips. Omit cinnamon.
proceed with recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Bread:
Make the streusel 1 stick butter or margarine at room temp. 2/3 C – 1 cup packed brown sugar2/3 C – 1 cup flour cinnamon - as much as you like Put the ingredients together. (1 C chopped pecans are optional.) This will make approx. 2 cups. If you like a little more, increase the sugar and flour to 1C each. Make your Amish bread according to directions. Use Vanilla or French Vanilla pudding. Put approx. 1-1/2 C batter in the bottom of each pan and spread into the corners. (Batter will not be runny - sort of a heavy batter.) Add 1 can apple pie filling evenly throughout the each loaf. Top each loaf with remaining batter and the Add streusel topping last, bake as directed.

Orange Pecan:
Use Orange extract (I use about 4 Tsp). You can also add 1/3 c. of orange juice and use only 2/3 c. of the oil. I have also used Orange Zest as well and then use the juice of the orange instead of juice. I have used chopped pecans and have also done it with toasted Almonds as well.

Tropical paradise:
Replace vanilla pudding with cheesecake pudding. Add 1 small can of mandarin oranges and
1 small can of crushed pineapple(I mix the oranges and pineapple together to equal about 1/2-3/4 c. of fruit) Add:
1/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. Chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
This bread is so moist you have to cook it a little longer than usual.

German Chocolate:
I use the chocolate pudding instead of vanilla. Take a can of German Chocolate frosting and cut it into the pans using a knife. This takes a little longer to bake as well.


So how do I keep all these yummy treats from going bad? My second favorite kitchen gadget, my food saver! My model has a button that I can stop the suction of air and just seal the bag half way though which makes it so I can't squish the breads. They freeze very well this way. Don't have a food saver? No problem, you can wrap the bread in plastic wrap and tin foil or freezer paper.



So plan ahead a get a starter bread going, what kinds are you going to make? Make sure to look at your calendar, you want to make sure 10 days from now you will have time to bake up the bread!

**Many have questioned how the milk can sit out on the counter without going bad, it is because of the fermentation process that happens when you add the yeast. It's much like a sour dough bread. If you are worried, according to some studies,starting with a buttermilk instead of pasteurized milk is slightly more safe because of the bacterial cultures. But if you are making it all for yourself and baking one large batch instead of passing the starter on, It's ok to just use regular milk. I hope that helps clear up some confusion. I'm happy so many are trying out this recipe!

**If you are sharing this starter with others, there should be about 1 cup starter in each bag.  The person you pass it on to will take the starter and add day 1 ingredients to it and follow the rest of the 10 days before baking. :) They might not get as big of a batch out of it but it won't be that noticeable. Happy Sharing!
 

70 comments:

  1. It must be a sign - the Hubby was just asking me when I was making this again! Your posting the Amish Bread recipe right after his asking me about it makes me realize I will be doing some baking in approx 10 days! I love all of the variations you've provided!

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  2. So just regular milk from the fridge? This sounds to awesome to be true!

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  3. Yes just regular milk that you have in your fridge. I hope you enjoy it, it's one of our favorites here!
    Ma Bacon

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  4. So excited to see variations of this recipe....headed to kitchen now to get my bag started!! Can't wait for day 10. This will give me plenty of time to stock up on bread pans...I haven't ever needed more than 2! :)

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  5. I was excited when i ran across your recipe. I started mine 5 days ago. Im getting impatient watching it sit on the counter. I can't wait to try the variety of recipes for this bread. I will be keeping these to myself, since its my "trial" run.

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  6. In the original recipe, at the end when you are getting ready to bake it, you say 1/2 baking powder. What is the measurement on that? 1/2 what?

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  7. Thanks for catching that Mark! Funny thing is when I went to check my org. recipe has it missing too! I have always added 1/2 tsp baking powder to it and it's turned out fine. Thanks for asking and checking out my site! I hope you enjoy the bread.

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  8. I have some questions. Does 1 batch make 2 loaf pans? You say the starter bag will make 5 batches, 1 cup each batch, but then in the individual batch directions it says 1 3/4 c. batter? Thanks. Marianne

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  9. so do you need to do anything with the yeast first prior to mixing it with the milk, flour and sugar?

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  10. omgoodness I need to start another of these, I havent had friendship bread forever :) I have never tried the starter with the yeast, thanks for the instructions, gotta whip up a batch :) Carmen

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  11. are you on facebook??Id love to follow you if you are :) Carm

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  12. I was wondering why you use pudding mix?

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    1. The recipe I was given calls for it, but you can omit it just as easy. I have done it both was and they both were delicious!

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    2. Try using a cup of pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice instead of the oil, still using the vanilla pudding. It has a much better flavor, and is super-moist! It also helps me feel as though I am sneaking a little extra nutrition into my kids' diets.

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  13. Hey! I was wondering if there was a way to freeze the batter before making the bread? I love the thought of having it there ready but I'm not sure I have the space needed in my freezer! Just wondered. Thanks!

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    1. I can tell you I make Friendship Bread all the time. I find my friends prefer me to give them the bread rather than a starter and recipe. :-) I freeze the starters until I am ready to make the bread and make more started when I get down to 2. I have been making this from the original starter that was given to me about 4 years ago!

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  14. I missed the steps for day 10 ( adding flour, sugar, milk) and went ahead and made the vanilla version before I realized my mistake. The bread turned out pretty well, but I'm wondering if you have any advice as to how to save therest of the batter. Not sure what the correct portions of flour, sugar and milk would be since I've now removed 1-3/4 cups of the original batter. Thanks for sharing this recipe - I'm excited to try more of them!

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  15. I just saw how you package your breads for the freezer. I cut my breads, package the individual pieces in folded sandwich bags and put in freezer bags with the type of bread written on the bag. At any time, I have about 6 different choices of breads because we are a family on the go (3 adults) and that way we can grab a piece of bread to take with us for breakfast or a mid-day snack. We love the different varieties :)

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  16. I like the tips on there. I have been looking for different things to make with my starters. Thank you! I can tell you, on day 5 when you add the additional ingredients, I just add them directly to the bag and MASH the bag. It saves me from having to do dishes and needing a second set of hands to put back into the bag! :-)

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    1. I did the same thing by accident and am hoping it was ok doing it that way, lol.

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  17. I just made your starter kit, but as I am reading other Amish Friendship Bread recipes all of them say to disolve the yeast in warm water. Is this step missing?
    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Jessica for stopping by! I've seen many versions of the friendship bread over the years, some say to disolve the yeast and many don't. I have never disolved it before and the bread has turned out every time. Good Luck!

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  18. I made my bread today, and all I can say is THANK YOU! It was sooo good! I made Cinnamon Vanilla, Lemon Poppy Seed, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip! I have been making everything you've got on here, and everything is fantastic! Because of your blog, you have really changed my life, for the better! :) Thank you so much for sharing!

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  19. Do you mind if I share this recipe and/or link over on my blog? Jensjourney77.blogspot.com
    Thanks

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    1. Jen I'd be happy if you share it as long as you give credit back to the site! Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. By the way, I am so happy to find the recipe for the starter to this. I have made it many times and we LOVE it but have never known how to make the starter - I have always had it given to me. Thank you. :)

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  21. Going to make a starter. But of course time it to shopping dsy at the beg of september. I tslked wll about your site to my hubby snd hes totally on board to try the 200 mo budget and the every 3 mo to sams. Btw i felt challenged by you to find the cheapest milk in our area and its sams by more than a dollar a gallon. We cant wait to see how sept goes espically with the holidays coming up.

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  22. I am wandering the same thing as this person. Today is bakign day for me and I am wandering about the amount of breads. Thanks

    AnonymousMarch 24, 2012 12:24 AM
    I have some questions. Does 1 batch make 2 loaf pans? You say the starter bag will make 5 batches, 1 cup each batch, but then in the individual batch directions it says 1 3/4 c. batter? Thanks. Marianne

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    1. I usually get 4 batches for some reason now when I make it. I think I tend to pour more like 2 cups of batter in each batch. But yes I do get 2- 8" loaf pans from each batch. So if you make the whole batch yourself you will get 8 loafs of bread. Does that make sense and help out? Happy Baking and thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Yes, thank you. I have my last batch in the oven right now. I kept 2 starters (1 cup each), one for me and one to give away and I am going to end up with 6 breads or 3 batches. I did one batch plain, one cinn. streusal and one apple cinn. today. Thank you again for your help and the recipe.

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  23. Ma Bacon,
    Thank you for the recipe.We tried it for the first time this weekend. It was a test of patience for me. On day 8 I was tempted to proceed like it was day 10 but I waited. And it was so worth it. I hope you don't mind, I shared the bread and yogurt recipe on my blog and referenced back to your site.

    http://ourfourpreciousppillows.blogspot.com/2012/08/bread-yogurt-and-eating-on-less.html

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    1. Glad the bread turned out so well! It's worth the wait! Thanks for posting your link, I enjoyed reading it.

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  24. Ma Bacon, you and Pinterest are a dream come true. I used to share this recipe as a daycare teacher years ago, but I never made the starter batch. Now years later as a working mom of teens I have dreamed of being able to make the recipe at home. With three teenagers, there is no need to share my other batches and I can't wait to try several of the varieties. This weekend is my big investment cooking weekend to get us through fall sports and school. I wish I had found your site 7 days ago. :) I will be watching from here on in putting good use to my Ninja blender and Foodsaver machine. Thanks a million!!

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  25. I'm so glad for pinterest. I found your site there and I'm ready to make this recipe. For your streusel bread I have a question how much cinnamon to flour rate do you use.? I was trying looking no one for the cinnamon flour but didn't have no luck thanks.

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    1. Thanks for asking, the cinnamon is up to you. I usually do 1 tsp in my batches but some people like more, some less. Spices are usually one area where you can always adjust accornding to your families taste. Hope that helps!

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  26. Thank you.... I just want to say today was my baking day and it turns out delicious.... My family love it.... I'm going to try making the muffins next... Again thanks

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  27. Am I the only one who finds it confusing that you start with 3 cups worth of ingredients in your original starter but go down to 1 cup for the starter you keep for the next batch? That means the first time you make it you have 10 1/2 cups batter after you add the final ingredients on day 10 before dividing, but if you use a cup starter the second time you'll only have 8 1/2 cups at that same point on day 10. Am I missing something?

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  28. Ok how did i end up with 1batch in the bowl plus 5 starter bags? oh well i wont complain just so it comes out right...this is the first time i have done this! If it works everyone is getting bread for xmas! lol

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  29. I need help!!!! i have a 1 cup starter bag...do i start over like its day one and add 1 cup flour milk and sugar or do i do day 10 and start a loaf of bread im confused

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  30. I make these often. Friends and family love to see that starter bag on my counter! I always save one of my starters in the freezer. I have had one in there as long as one year. Just thaw on counter for a day and then start the process the next day. I also store my whole loaves in the freezer. I wrap in plastic wrap and freeze solid. Then remove plastic wrap and use my food sealer. The frozen bread seals airtight and doesn't get crushed.

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  31. wow!!! I cannot wait to try!! Thank you!! I found your site via pinterest, and I am always looking to cut my grocery costs!! Thank you for sharing

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  32. I can't wait to try this. I do have a question though. Could I use soy or lactose free milk with this? Both of my kids are lactose intolerant.

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    1. I used lactose free milk the last time and it worked great , so that's what I'm doing again :)

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  33. When making the starter and adding ingredients on day 6 and day 10 (before ingredients to bake the bread) do you just use regular flour? Not self rising?

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  34. I'm on day 10, so that means I need to get to baking. But I'm confused by step 10. I'm not going to hand out any starters (because I don't want my friends running away from me!), so do I still add the 1.5 cups milk, 1.5 cups sugar and 1.5 cups flour and then proceed to adding all of those other ingredients? Or do I skip the addition of milk, sugar and flour mentioned in stepn 10? Thanks.

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  35. just found your site and called up my best friend. her and I are going to start two batches tonight... one with reg flour and one with gluten free, and then compare the results on day ten. I am excited to do this, because I remember my mom coming home with starters and making the bread as a kid. I am really glad to see the starter, and so many variations on it. I am hoping the gluten free turns out as well has her gluten bread. thank you!

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  36. Why no metal? Does it affect the taste?

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  37. Im a little confused... (Yes, simple things confuse me sometimes) Is the day that you start it "Day 1" or is the next day "Day 1"?

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    1. Day 1 is the day you start the mix and put it in the bag. This recipe is so forgiving that even if you counted day 1 as the next day it would still turn out. Thanks for stopping by!

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  38. Okay, I'm a little slow too. Assume that I have completed the 10 steps and have divided my starter into the 5 bags; one for me and 4 to share. When my friends receive their starter, do they immediately add the yeast, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the starter and count that as day 1 of their countdown to 10, OR, do they do nothing and count that as Day 1. And I use my cup to bake my bread and then I start completely over? Can someone clarify. This is all new to me. Thanks so much.

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    1. Ann- thanks for stopping by. When you hand out starters, they are to be treated as day 1, and they are not to add anything until later in the process. Their batch won't be as big as the starter you began with, since they only have 1 cup of the passed along mix vs. having started the mix with 3 cups of ingredients. They may only get one batch of mix at the end to bake up and one for a starter to keep the mix going. Does that make sense? Please let me know if I can help clear it up more. Good luck on making the bread!

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    2. I too found this on Pinterest and am now on Day 7. How do you keep the starter? Do you freeze it?

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  39. I realize this is an old post, but I found it on the perfect day, my hubby left out of town for work this morning. He leaves for 10 days at a time, and then spend 4 days at home. So when he comes home in 10 days, he will come home to some wonderful baked goods. Which is always nice after living in a hotel for 10 days eating microwave meals. Thanks for posting all the different recipes.

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  40. For the friendship bread I butter the pans, and then sprinkle a cinnamon and sugar mixture and coat the pans with it, then pour the batter in. So delicious!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe and all your variations. It's a cold snowy day here. I think I'm going to start a batch.

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  41. I found this page ten days ago and it inspired me to re-start my own friendship bread. When my family and I "got tired" of the bread before (yes, after a couple years of this bread three times a month, it does get old), I had frozen one cup of starter to use to restart. Here's hoping it goes well... it seems right. I have a feeling that this batch won't be quite as good as "normal" - but by the next ten days, it will be great.

    I did want to give one suggestion back though. Like you, I ran out of friends to share my starter with and I had become very inventive on ways to use up the starter for my family. I don't have the recipe in hand, but I found a recipe that used about 2 cups of the starter for pancakes. This was a great way to use up starter and it made some of the best pancakes ever!

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  42. This sounds so good, we love fresh bread in the house and I am horrible for not eating breakfast, and while not a rounded one this might help motivate me to eat at least a slice before work. My only question is it safe to leave a cup of milk out for that long? I tend to get sick really easy from food is why I ask. Also will I need to adjust anything due to living in AZ where it's always so hot?

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  43. sorry I just had to ask, doesn't the milk go bad if its left out in the counter or did I miss something? Im really excited to try this out I just want to make sure im following the instructions correctly. thanks!!

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    1. I had the same question. Are we reading it right that the milk sits out?

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  44. Can I use almond milk? Or do you have to use cows milk? If so, whole milk, skim, 2%...? Does it matter?

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  45. How long can you keep the bread in the freezer and then when it thaws, how long does it keep?

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    1. I have bread that has been frozen a year and when thawed on counter is just as moist as day one

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  46. This looks so awesome. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have found you on Pinterest and this will be my first time making bread. Fingers crossed I don't screw it up. Wish me luck! Haha!

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  47. I am curious about the taste. With all of the variations, it sounds more like a sweet bread. Is this correct? Do you eat it like toast or just slice off a piece like cake?

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    1. It is sweet so you would slice it like you would banana bread.

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  48. So if you freeze the starter do you freeze it then thaw & start the process over at day 1??

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  49. So if you freeze the starter do you freeze it then thaw & start the process over at day 1???

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  50. I'm going to try making this gluten and dairy free. I'll let you know how it turns out. Fingers crossed...

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  51. Thanks!! I think this is really neat. I would change it a little to suit my Family of course!! I also noted...no juice boxes and no beer!!!! I think my son and his dad would have a heart attack. Ma Bacon, your list is inspiring.

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  52. can you use almond or soy milk for this recipe?

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  53. is there a way around the instant pudding

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