Monday, April 12, 2010

Amish Bread Starter: Free to a Good Home

A few weeks ago a volunteer where I work brought in some delicious Amish breakfast bread (right), and I asked for the recipe. Little did I know that I would be given not only the recipe, but also a batch of bread starter.

I've never worked with bread starter before, but this one's low-maintenance and totally not scary. All you do is give it an occasional stir, and feed it some flour, sugar and milk halfway through the 10-day fermentation process. On the tenth day, you bake. Oh, and you also end up with four more batches of starter.

Being exceptionally generous, I'm willing to share my starter. Anyone interested? Oh, please, tell me you are. I feel guilty tossing perfectly good starter, but I can't possibly tend to four batches of bread.

If you're in the Milwaukee area and you'd like some starter, e-mail me at or leave a comment.

Oh, and here's the recipe for the breakfast bread itself:

Heat the oven to 325. Add the following to the starter, mixing after each addition: 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 cup oil, 2 cups flour [I added just 1 by mistake, but my bread came out fine], 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 large or 2 small packages instant pudding mix [I bet you can leave this out with no ill effect], 1.5 tsp baking powder. You can also add raisins, nuts, etc.

Grease two loaf pans [I used one 10-inch, round cake pan]. In a bowl, mix an additional 1/4 cup sugar and 1.5 tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with 1/2 of mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans.  Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. Bake 45 to 60 minutes.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Spring

Coming from a non-religious Soviet culture, my family doesn't truly celebrate religious holidays. So you could call this dinner a "festive spring meal" or somesuch, where Russian holiday favorites ("herring in a fur coat," pickled mushrooms) and remnants of religious traditions (dyed eggs) mingle on the same table.
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