Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread- Making the Adjustments

Pulling herself from her warm cozy bed, she stumbles into the kitchen, flips on the lights and grabs her first cup of coffee. As she sits at the table trying to wake up, she glances around the kitchen making mental notes of what needs to be gathered in preparation for the battle ahead.

Her mind drifts to the oven which less than 2 weeks ago was almost completely annihilated by the creature that did not stay within the boundaries of its loaf pans. This time it would be different!

Confident in her research regarding high altitude bread baking and having the tenacity of a bull dog that won’t let go (or so her husband says), she is bound and determined to win the battle that looms near. Glancing down at the adjustments she’s made to what was once a tried and true recipe at much lower altitudes; she quietly begins to gather her ingredients.

Though confident, she still proceeds with caution. Shielded by a favorite gingerbread apron and armed with the new knowledge of high-altitude baking and her trusty wooden spoon, she approaches the glass jar sitting in the corner of the kitchen counter and the bubbling creature that grows quietly within waiting to be fed and then conquered. And she thinks to herself… “How hard can this be?”

Okay, so I’m not a writer but I couldn’t help myself and for those following the Amish Friendship Bread posts, I am very happy to report that I did NOT have any messes or explosions in my oven to clean up! There are a couple of people I have to thank for that… If it weren’t for Susan G. Purdy’s website, High Altitude Baking the recipe adjustment guide from her book Pie in the Sky and a brochure on high altitude baking given to me by Laura, our County’s Home Economist, I don’t think I would have had the success I had on this last baking day.
Below you will find my adjustments to the Amish Friendship Bread and you’ll find the original recipe here.
  • 3 extra large eggs (for added moisture)
  • 1 cup less 3 tablespoons sugar (too much sugar weakens the structure at high altitudes in some baked goods.)
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour (for added strength)
  • 1 small box of vanilla instant pudding
  • ½ tsp baking powder
Bake at 350 degrees 45-50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Baking at a higher temperature helps to"set" the structure so that the baked goods don't overexpand and dry out. And since I'm baking at a higher temp, baking time was also decreased.

Loaf pans were dusted with sugar. The loaf on the right I added to the batter ½ cup dried cranberries and ½ cup chopped pecans. Very yummy and was gone by the end of the day!

This is the Banana/Walnut Bread version. Excellent breakfast bread!

Though there were no dragons to slay this day and I am very happy with my results, I think there is room for improvement and will continue to tweak my ingredients until I’m 100% pleased with the results. 

And by the way, if you like heart-warming stories, then be sure to read “Amish Friendship Bread: A Novel.” I’ve just started reading it and I love it so far! I plan to find a quiet corner this weekend to read it all the way through!

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