I have been making this bread for years and I have not found one person who does not love it.
This is a recipe that takes 10 days to make so you have to have the time to devote to it but it is well worth the effort and there is plenty to share.
To begin this bread you will need to create the “starter”. The starter is what will replace the yeast in this bread and is a sourdough yeast that is easily made at home and can be used to make many different yeast breads.
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup milk
Place the ingredients in a glass bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Use a bowl that has a tightly sealed lid or if you do not have this, put all the ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag and just seal and squish.
You will allow this “starter” to stand at room temperature for 5 days stirring once a day with a wooden spoon (or squishing it if you placed it in a ziplock bag).
I grab a scratch sheet of paper and jot down the next 10 days and note what I need to do to this “starter” each day.
So each day, take your wooden spoon and stir that baby up, then replace the lid.
On the sixth day, add 1 C sugar, 1 Cup milk, and 1 Cup flour to the starter and mix well.
Let this stand at room temperature for 4 more days, stirring once a day with a wooden spoon. Each day, you will smell the “yeastiness” of it.
On day 10 add 1 C sugar, 1 C milk, and 1 C flour to the starter and stir well. You have 5 Cups of “starter” in this bowl but will only use 1 Cup for this recipe.
You are now ready to bake some bread. Assemble the ingredients for the Friendship Bread. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
1 Cup “starter”
1 Cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 Cup apple sauce and 1/2 Cup vegetable oil)
1/2 Cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 Cups sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small packages dry vanilla pudding mix
In a large bowl, add 1 Cup “starter”
The recipe calls for 1 Cup vegetable oil but I take the second route which is to add 1/2 Cup applesauce and….
1/2 Cup vegetable oil (takes out a ton of fat and sometimes I do care about that.)
Add 1/2 Cup milk
Add 3 eggs
The last thing you are adding to your “wet” mixture is 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Mix the “wet” ingredients completely.
Now grab a medium sized bowl and add 2 Cups flour.
Add 3/4 cups sugar
Add 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Add 2 small packages of dry vanilla pudding mix.
I like to take a fork and mix up dry ingredients. Do this well with whatever tool you choose.
Now add the “dry” ingredients to the “wet” ingredients.
Here is what your batter will look like once everything is together.
Now grab your loaf pans. You can use 3 large loaf pans or 6 small ones. I am using the small ones this time because I am giving some of these loaves to my kid’s teachers for their end of the year gifts.
Oil the pans (I use butter just to add some more flavor but you can use cooking spray to make it easier or rub in some vegetable oil.) You are just looking for an oily finish.
Now flour your loaf pans. The oil you added before is the glue for the flour and the flour is what will keep the bread from sticking to the pans when you are finished cooking.
I toss in a 1/2 cup of flour and just twist and lightly shake the pan so that all the edges and corners are covered in flour. I then shake the excess flour into the next pan and keep doing the same thing until all the pans are floured.
Fill each loaf pan 3/4 of the way full. This will ensure that there is room for the bread to rise and not topple over the sides.
Once your loaf pans are filled, place them on a cookie sheet. I do this to keep them all together and just to make sure the bottoms don’t get browned too quickly. I just don’t trust my oven I guess. Then sprinkle sugar over the tops before popping this into the oven.
Bake your loaves at 325 degrees for 1 hour. My obnoxious oven takes about 10 minutes longer. Now here is how I know they are done. The middle of the loaf will crack open while baking. I gently touch the middle of the crack and if it comes off on my finger it needs a few more minutes. Very scientific!
Pull the loaves out of the oven and set on the counter for about 5 minutes. Then just flip them upside down and gentle squeeze the sides and give it a light shake. They should fall right out but if they are hanging on in there. Take a knife and gently edge it around the sides of the loaf pan to loosen whatever is still hanging on.
Now the original intent behind the Friendship bread is this: If you notice at the beginning, the “Starter” was a pretty large bowl and it was filled to the top (5 Cups) and we only used 1 Cup of “starter” for this recipe.
So here is what you do. You use 1 Cup to make your bread and you take those three loaves of bread and you give them away. When you present these loaves to the lucky individual, you also present them with a ziplock bag filled with 1 Cup of the “starter” and this recipe that goes with it. They are then to begin with that “starter” and make their own, so in 10 days time they will have something to make and pass on too.
So you have 1 Cup to use today, 3 Cups to give away to 3 friends and then 1 Cup to continue your “starter”. 1 Cup (today) + 1 Cup to friend + 1 Cup to friend + 1 Cup to friend + 1 Cup for your new starter = 5 Cups