I was thrilled to open my packet of Amish Friendship Bread Starter, received from Laavanya. I quickly opened it to check the content and was little scared about the gooey-creamy like thing. This starter has to be nourished while left for fermenting for 9 days, and we bake it on the 10th day or freeze it and save for later. I received my starter on Day 3
On days 2 through 5, just mash the bag and remove excess air, if any.
On day 6 stir in 1 cup each sugar, flour and milk, mash the bag.
On days 7 through 9, mash the bag.
On day 10 stir in 1 1/2 cup each of flour, milk, sugar. Mix well and distribute 4 cups equally. Keep 1 cup of starter for myself and share the other 3 with friends.
After much research on AFBS, I came to know that cooks have been baking with starters for thousands of years. Sometime back before the ancient Egyptians, however, bakers learned that if they captured airborne wild yeast and fed and nurtured it properly, they could produce an endless array of breads, cakes, pancakes, biscuits, scones, muffins, rolls, all light and fluffy and made possible by the hard-working little fungi (yeast). Article Source: Texas Cooking
This is the first time I am trying my hands on baking bread and decided to bake a more traditional bread than something like cake/muffins/rolls/buns. This way I can teach myself to handle more of tough bakes. I brought some books on baking from local library and found this very nice and interesting recipe for Zucchini bread.
I used coarsely grated zucchini shreds which offers color and just-perceptible contrast of texture to the bread. Because it is exceptionally moist, zucchini must be salted and squeezed to rid of it excess liquid before it is mixed with the flour, starter and water. It took me two days to make this bread and learned some new techniques in baking. Like overnight standing ~ to raise and humidified baking with boiling water in the bottom to ensure crunchy bottom crust.
Source : Breads, Time-life books
Prep time: 10 mins and left overnight to rise
Cooking time: 40 mins
Makes: 7-inch cylindrical loaf
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup amish friendship bread starter
2 zucchini, medium-size, washed ends trimmed off
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup tepid/warm water
olive oil or 1 egg yolk beaten
1. Coarsely grated zucchini into a deep wide bowl. When the zucchini gratings cover the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle them with salt. Grate in another layer of zucchini and sprinkle again with salt. Repeat alternate layers if zucchini and sprinkle again with salt. Leave it for 30 mins so that the salt will draw out the excess moisture. Then press out the moisture by squeezing the zucchini in your hands.
2. In another bowl combine the starter, flour, salt and thoroughly mix zucchini, add enough tepid water to make a smooth but fairly firm dough. Knead the dough well for about 10 mins. Return it to the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 2 hours.
Knead the dough into a loose round, then shape it into a tapered cylindrical loaf. Lay it on a buttered baking sheet, cover it with a towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk or left overnight.
3. Just before baking, brush the loaf with olive oil or egg yolk to prevent the pieces of zucchini on the surface from burning. Preheat the oven to 425, place a roasting pan filled with 1 1/2 inch of boiling water in the bottom of your oven. Bake the bread in a humidified 425 degrees F for about 40 minutes, until the bottom sounds hollow when rapped, while checking the water in roasting pan every 10 mins. Cool the loaf on a wire rack.
I am sending this starter to two of my dear friends Chandrika and Saroja to keep the tradition. Hope you guys will enjoy baking with it, as well!