Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Amish Loaf MADNESS!

As I shared awhile back, I recently converted some of my regular sourdough starter into that sweet and perennial favorite, Amish friendship starter. And now, of course, I am trying to find new and interesting things to make with it. First, I made a decadent chocolate zucchini cake and then some streusel-topped chocolate chip muffins. So this past weekend, I decided to veer away from chocolate (just temporarily!) and go a citrusy route.

The basic recipe for Amish Friendship Bread (CAKE really!) is as follows:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup Amish friendship starter
1 cup oil (swap out applesauce for half or all of the oil as a lower-fat option)
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup nuts

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl (or large glass measuring cup), mix the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the wet mixture, and blend just until you don't see anymore dry flour. Stir in the nuts, pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

This is the most basic version of this recipe, but of course you could add chocolate chips or dried or fresh fruits. You can include the nuts or omit them or substitute all manner of seeds. You can swap out different flavors of pudding mix such as cheesecake or pistachio, then you could add complementary extract flavors (like a little almond extract with the pistachio). You can substitute other spices for the cinnamon, like cardamom or ground ginger, etc. You could use orange juice in place of the milk and add cranberries for a lovely holiday loaf! In short, the recipe is highly adaptable, and could yield an infinite number of variations.

The one I tried this weekend was a lemon poppyseed version. I made it (almost) as written, except that I added a little lemon oil to up the citrus impact. It turned out really, really good--so very moist and very flavorful! In the future, though, I would perhaps make two changes. I would double the amount of poppyseeds, and I would only use one box of pudding mix. I'm not sure how or why, but some recipes for different versions of the Amish friendship bread have morphed into calling for TWO boxes of pudding, and I think that's probably overkill. The bread is almost TOO moist, if that's possible, and with a texture that flirts with gumminess. I will make these amendments to the recipe below. Still, the resulting bread was delicious, and I definitely recommend it as an option for those of you with extra starter still hanging around, or for those looking for an excuse to develop the starter and begin your own tasty experiments!

Lemon Poppyseed Amish Friendship Loaves
(Source: adapted from Allrecipes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup poppy seeds (I would double this=1/4 cup)
2 (3 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix (I would reduce this to one box)
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 vegetable oil (may swap out out applesauce for some or all of the oil)
2 eggs (if reducing the pudding to one box, I would add one egg=3 total)
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (or the finely-grated zest of one or two lemons), optional

In a large mixing bowl blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon pudding mix. Make a well in the center of the bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the Amish starter, oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon oil or zest. Add to dry ingredients and blend until just combined. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans (I spray mine with flour-added baking spray.)

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for one hour. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the rack.

No comments: