Amish Friendship Bread

Do the Amish really use instant vanilla pudding in their breads?

That question posed itself as I made Amish friendship bread. To make this, you need a starter from a friend, which I was lucky enough to acquire. “Only the Amish know how to make this,” the recipe says ominously. “If you give it all away, you will have to wait until another friend gives it back.”

So of course, I Googled it and found the Amish Friendship Bread Starter recipe. Quite the well-kept secret.

The starter is kept out of the fridge and smells pretty darn funky. You’re supposed to keep letting air out of the bag, too (are the Amish allowed to use Ziplock bags?)

From Days 1 through 5, you do nothing to it. On Day 6, you add a cup of milk, flour, and sugar each. Then on Day 10, you add 1.5 cups more of flour, milk and sugar each, separate it into 4 Ziplock bags to give out (write the dates for Day 1, Day 6, and 10– Day 1 is the day after you make the bread), and make the bread.

First, preheat the oven to 325. My oven is funky, so funky that the rental people promised us a new one. It’s superhot, so I put it on 300 and hoped for the best.

2009 07 08 001

You add:

3 eggs
1 cup oil (or 1/3 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 large instant vanilla pudding mix

2009 07 08 002

Now, the recipe says to UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES USE A METAL BOWL. This got me to thinking: the whisks on my handheld mixer are metal, as are the whisks I have. Therefore, I decided to be extra super safe and use a wooden spoon.

Unfortunately, I lack any real arm strength, so I made a Mental Note to get Cadillac to mix it up next time.

And again–instant vanilla pudding? Really? The Amish, who are not allowed to use phones or cars, are allowed to use this decidedly Ungodly Instant Vanilla pudding mix? Yet, I was too chicken to omit it this time.

Then you grease 2 large loaf pans and mix another 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle the pans with half of this mix.

I didn’t have loaf pans– I left them in Cali– so I used one big glass pan.

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Go ahead and sprinkle more of the sugar and cinnamon all over.

The batter, sprinkled with more sugar
The batter, sprinkled with more sugar

Then you bake it for an hour. It took my oven 40 minutes and it almost burned.

Let it hang out for 10 minutes and serve warm. At 10 minutes, mine was still pretty damn hot. So I waited 20.

Luckily, I scored a pic before my family ate it all.

It went quickly
It went quickly

It tasted like coffee cake, not bread. But calling something “bread” magically renders it more healthful, so we didn’t feel guilty about being pigs.

Next time, I’m leaving out the pudding. Maybe I’ll go crazy and add nuts.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

2 thoughts on “Amish Friendship Bread

  1. Don’t leave out the pudding….the Amish will find you and you will be punished.

    What goes Clip-Clop-Clip-Clop-Bang-Bang-Clip-Clop
    Give up???
    Amish Drive By.
    Seriously, I make it all the time, don’t leave out the pudding, add nuts though, its good. I recommend pecans or walnuts:)

  2. Wow…it looks delicious! I’m glad you found the starter recipe, cause I gave all of my away and now have regrets!

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