Saturday, May 28, 2011

Super Simple Amish Friendship Bread Starter

This is the recipe to make a base for many delicious types of bread. The possibilities for using this base are endless, and well worth the wait. The first batch of bread made with this base will be sweet, but the flavor will change as the base ages.  This is a common recipe for traditional Amish friendship bread, which I learned this one from my sister.

Day 1

In a gallon size Ziploc bag, mix the following.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Leave on the counter, out of direct sunlight, mixing again once each day for the following 5 days.

Day 5

Add the following, and mix well.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Continue mixing daily for the next 5 days.

Day 10

Add the following and mix well.
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar

Your Amish Friendship bread is now ready to use and divide to share with friends.  To turn this into sourdough bread, reserve some base and continue the process again for 10 days.  The longer you keep and maintain this base, the closer it will become to traditional sourdough bread.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sugar-free Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

Last summer, I started canning again. My husband found a 50 lb. crate of pickling cucumbers at Bountiful Baskets, and the rest is history. Now I like to find ways to use the extra food that we have so that it does not go to waste. This recipe calls for some of my sugar-free applesauce from last season, but store bought will substitute equally.

In early May, when we did not eat the entire flat of strawberries, I came up with a yummy sugar free refrigerator jam recipe. I am STILL missing my memory stick adapter, but I hope it turns up soon so I can add some of the photos I took during the process. This recipe makes enough for you to share with neighbors, depending on what size jars you use (I used old pickle and jelly jars).

What you need.

4 envelopes Knox unflavored Gelatin
2 c. water, room temperature
6 ½ c. strawberries, diced.
1 ½ c. Applesauce from last year’s canning.
¼ cup PureVia Stevia
½ c. lemon juice
Several leftover jars, sterilized.
Canning funnel, optional


In a large saucepan, mix water and Know packets. Stir over low heat until completely dissolved. Add strawberries, applesauce, PureVia and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Spoon mixture into jars, using canning funnel if available. Screw on lids. Cool for an hour then refrigerate. Jam sets overnight.

More about this recipe:

Jam recipes traditionally call for A LOT of sugar. While this recipe must be stored in the refrigerator, it is a much healthier option than traditional jams and jellies. Lemon juice enhances the flavor of the strawberries while the applesauce adds sweetness naturally. I have been experimenting with PureVia recently, and have found it an amazing substitute for traditional sugar. There will be more healthy alternatives recipes to come.

Strawberry Banana Bread Surprise

I have the best photos to go along with this post, but the memory stick adapter has gone M.I.A.  I know many of you have been waiting for this post, among others, so I thought I would go ahead and share my recipe.  I hope to add the photos soon. 

My baby has recently decided to stop eating infant cereal, so I incorporated some of the leftovers into this recipe -- which he will eat.  I hope you enjoy, and please do share your experiences of baking instead of wasting leftovers.

Strawberry Banana Bread Surprise
Makes 3 loaves.


6 – 8 bananas
2 sticks butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
5 eggs
2 c. strawberries, diced
2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. all purpose flour
1 c. infant oatmeal cereal (I used Beechnut)
3 T. milk, as needed


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 3 9X5 inch loaf pans.

2. Mix flour, infant cereal, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, smash the bananas. Add softened butter, sugar, brown sugar, and mix well. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed. Slowly add flour mixture, until combined. Finally, gently stir in diced strawberries. Pour batter into greased bread pans.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pans for at least 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack. Be sure bread is completely cooled before storing, or the humidity will cause bread to become soggy. After cooling, I usually place them in an open bread bag for the first 24 hours, before sealing bag.