Friday, May 8, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread - Feeding Techniques

A friend asked me to publish my personal take on AFB feeding techniques, so I thought I'd share them here too.

Standard AFB Feeding Procedure

Day 1: This is the date on the bag. You don't need to do anything this day other than put the bag in a place of moderate room temp. and where you'll notice it tomorrow and succeeding days.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: Mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag.
Day 6: “Feed” it. Add to the bag 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, then mush the bag.
Day 7: Mush the bag.
Day 8: Mush the bag.
Day 9: Mush the bag.
Day 10: Baking Day.

Pour contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add & mix:
1 ½ c flour
1 ½ c sugar
1 ½ c milk

Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 c each into 4 one-gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a yeast starter for yourself (if you choose) and give the other 3 bags along with copies of this recipe to friends. Write today's date on each bag so your friends will know what to designate as Day 1.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To the remaining yeast mixture in the bowl, add the following:
2 c flour (sifted is optional)
1 lrge box instant vanilla pudding
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1 c oil
½ c milk
1 c sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Grease or oil 2 large loaf pans. Mix an additional ½ c sugar and 1 ½ tsp cinnamon in its own bowl, and use half of it to dust the greased pan. Pour the batter evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top. Bake 1 hour.

Allow the loaves to cool (about 10 min) until they loosen easily from the pans.

If you make the bread earlier or later than the days listed, just be sure you “feed” it every so often.

Alternate AFB Feeding Procedure
The feeding cycle for AFB can be lengthened or shortened to suit your schedule. You could have one feeding cycle at 7 days, and the next at 14 days without any ill effects—the starter is very resilient.

Also, if you've run out of friends willing to try AFB, you don't have to waste ingredients by overfeeding; you can reduce the feed so you have double what you need on the last day instead of 5x what you need.

Day 1: This is the date on the bag. You don't need to do anything this day other than put the bag in a place of moderate room temp. and where you'll notice it tomorrow and succeeding days.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: “Feed” it. Add to the bag 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, then mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag.
Day 6: Mush the bag.
Day 7: Baking Day.

Separate out 1 c of starter and bake with it, THEN add the following to the bag and mix:
1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk

By baking with the starter before feeding it, you'll get a bit stronger sourdough flavor, but the sweetness of the recipe will counterpoint the sourness to make a great flavor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ding Dong Cobbler

My son wanted to have a birthday party this year, and the theme we came up with was...camping. And Spongebob. So we're having a Spongebob pinata, plus a sleepover in the backyard complete with tents.

I found the perfect recipe for a camping-themed birthday cake for a 7 year-old: Ding Dong Cobbler. This recipe comes from The Scout's Outdoor Cookbook, a veritable treasure trove of outdoor cooking genius!

Ding Dong Cobbler
Requires a 12" dutch oven, a large mixing bowl, and a mixing spoon. You may also want to line the DO with heavy duty foil.

2 (18 1/2 oz) boxes Betty Crocker yellow cake mix
6 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups water
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
12 Hostess Ding Dongs
1 single-serving packet instant hot chocolate mix
20 large marshmallows
3 Tbsp butter

Options: You can substitute chocolate cake mix for the yellow, Twinkies for the Ding Dongs, and apples or peaches for the cherries.

Open can of pie filling and unwrap Ding Dongs to save necessary time in a later step.

Pour both packages of cake mix into a large bowl. Combine with eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Pour can of pie filling into bottom of oven. Then, pour half of the cake batter over the filling. Place 6 Ding Dongs on cake batter, spacing them evenly. Sprinkle half of the hot chocolate mix over the Ding Dongs. Pour remaining cake batter into oven. Place remaining 6 Ding Dongs on cake batter.

Set marshmallows on top of batter and Ding Dongs. Sprinkle remaining hot chocolate mix over marshmallows. Cover marshmallows with small pieces of butter, to promote browning.

Bake using 8 coals arranged in a ring under the oven and 17 coals on the lid. Cake will be ready to serve when browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (Or, bake at 350* F in a conventional oven.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe calls for either all-purpose white flour or whole wheat flour. My family happens to have a lot of hard red wheat in storage and a wheat grinder, so I started making these with freshly-ground whole wheat. After a few weeks of making these on Saturday mornings, I think I've got this recipe down to an art. I usually quadruple the recipe and freeze the leftovers, four to a bag. My two boys love to eat them for breakfast during the week.

This recipe is adapted from the Betty Crocker's 40th Edition cookbook.

(Single batch)
1 egg
1 c all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup milk
1 T granulated or packed brown sugar (I use brown sugar)
2 T vegetable oil
3 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

(Quadruple batch)
4 eggs
4 c all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3 c milk
4 T granulated or packed brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
4 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 T vanilla

Separate eggs. Beat whites to stiff peaks and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and mix just until blended--overmixing will cause tough pancakes--the mix will be lumpy. Add 1/3 of the whites to the batter and fold in. Add another 1/3 and fold in. Add the remaining 1/3 and fold in. (Adding the whites in 3 batches works well to ensure even distribution of the whites without over-folding, which would defeat the purpose of whipping the whites.) Let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes while the griddle heats.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 375 degrees. (I use an electric skillet.) When a drop of water dances on the griddle, you're ready to cook. (At this point, I sparingly apply cooking spray to the griddle, but butter or margarine would work, too.) Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the griddle. Cook until the pancakes just start to dry at the edges--if the top is dry, you've cooked it too long. Turn and cook other sides until golden brown.