Friday, May 22, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

One day my friend and colleague, Kate, gave me a Ziploc bag with a creamy looking mixture and a xeroxed copy of Amish Friendship Bread Cinnamon Loaf.

A quick glance and all I saw was "Mush the bag" and "NO METAL." Kate told me she had gotten her bag of yeast starter from another friend who got it from another friend and so on and so forth. Who knows how long this starter has been circulating, through whose hands it has passed, and how many mouths it has fed? It's kind of cool to think we are all connected.

Once you get your bag, you follow the instructions and ten days later, you make your own bread and four more bags of starter to keep or give to your friends. You can freeze the bags of starter to save for a later date. Just let the starter defrost and watch for the bubbles to start again before you proceed with the recipe.

It's important to leave the bag out at room temperature so that the yeast can do its work. If for some reason, something goes awry or you want to make the bread and have no friends who have given you a bag, I include the recipe for starting an original starter batch.
My daughter Lizzy loved this light, moist and sweet bread. Every time I went into the kitchen I noticed the loaf got magically smaller, until *poof*, it was gone.

Amish Friendship Bread Cinnamon Loaf Recipe (from the xeroxed piece of paper I received with the starter)

Do not use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing.
Do not refrigerate.
Batter will rise, bubble, and ferment ... burp as needed.

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 (or any flavor)
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. YUMMY!

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. ENJOY!!


Here is an alternate bread recipe if you don't have instant pudding in the house, which I got from

Remaining batter in the bowl (step #5 above)
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Using a fork beat by hand until well blended. You can add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts (optional).
Grease two loaf pans with butter, sprinkle with sugar instead of flour.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour (individual oven temperatures vary). Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans. Makes two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread.

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!


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)


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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Galley Cooking on the Boat with Julia

Chef Julia in her sailboat galley kitchen

Julia Gabriele has been at the school for 18 years. She has lived through times of abundance and scarcity, and she has held almost every position at the school, including English teacher, Admissions Director, Marketing Director, Assistant Head of School, Upper School Division Head, and now Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations.

She is also a great cook, organic vegetable gardener, and mother to two talented SLS students. She also knows how to cook in small spaces, since she lives on a sailboat during the summer.

Julia's sailboat galley kitchen equipped with a petite stove, oven, microwave, sink and countertop. You don't need a big kitchen and the fanciest equipment to turn out great food, as you'll see here.
Without further ado, here is guest blogger, Julia ...

I wasn’t sure if it was the waves gently tossed off the early fishing boats that woke me or the cries of the gulls signaling a new day. No matter, I thought as I curled deeper under my blankets in our boat’s v-berth. I began to think about the day that lay ahead.

Glancing out toward the departing fishing boats, I realized that not even the strong coffee I had just brewed would cut the fog that settled over the harbor. Resigned that this may be a day at the marina rather than at sea, I realized it might be the perfect opportunity for an adventure in the galley.

What to make? The damp chill coming off the fog seemed to whisper a warm and hearty stew. And given the setting, it seemed an accompanying seafood dish was a given.

Slowly the image emerged: a steaming bowl of Santa Fe Chowder chock full of vegetables in a spiced broth laced with lime juice, along with honey corn bread for dipping.

Santa Fe Chowder (vegan)

Joining the chowder would be Fiesta Shrimp marinated in garlic, fresh ground pepper, tequila and cilantro picked from my planter on the dock.

Tequila and Lime Marinated Fiesta Shrimp (sauted on the stovetop)

And for the non fish eaters, chicken skewers marinated in salsa and lime juice.

Salsa Chicken (Baked)

And for the kids, baked taquitos filled with Monterey Jack Cheese.

Chicken Taquitos (baked)

Who to share in this adventure but my good friend, Ninette, who loves food as much as I do. I made the call and left the message; bring the kids, wine, and your camera.

As the afternoon slipped into evening, the aroma of the baking corn bread brought the dock kids around begging for a taste. The allure of the corn bread mingled with the chowder attracted more wandering friends.

Jumbo Honey Corn Muffins

Ninette arrived with the perfect opportunity to celebrate - her mother-in-law Joyce's birthday. Laughter, stories, and dear friends proceeded to fill the boat.

Happy Birthday, Joyce!

The flavors blended as one taste led to another. And whether it was the gentle rain on the hatches or the lingering flavors that kept people mingling, it seemed like we couldn’t end the evening more perfectly.

Ninette did, however with a finale that outdid it all. A gorgeous galette with a perfect flaky crust and filled with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Rustic Berry Tart

Later that evening as I settled back into the v-berth drowsy and full, I found myself grateful for good food, great friends, and even occasionally, the fog that keeps us dock bound.