Last weekend I totally got hit with a dose of Amish Friendship Bread Chain Letter madness! Have you heard of this before? I hadn't. My mother in law's good friend Francis gifted me with a loaf of decadent and very tasty Amish Cinnamon Bread along with a bag of gooey fermenting liquid and directions. First off the bread was sheer madness, totally awesome yummy goodness. It was like really good coffee cake, moist, tasty. Troy inhaled half a loaf in in about 45 minutes. So the gooey bag is essentially a yeast starter. Each of the first five days you mush the bag. Then on the fifth day (today for me) you add one cup of flour, sugar, and milk. Then you mush for 4 more days. On the 10th day you add more flour, milk and sugar and put four cups of starter into four separate bags (so one cup per bag). With the rest of the starter you make the bread. It makes two loaves of bread so you can eat one and pass one along. The COOLEST part is that you now have 4 bags of starter. So keep one for yourself and pass along the other three to friends. Hence CHAIN LETTER. Except...it's just bread starter, and nobody dies or has bad luck if you don't use it.

Although Francis grew up in Amish country I don't think that Amish Friendship Bread is actually Amish (especially after reading up on Wikipedia about it). It calls for a package of instant Vanilla Pudding, and well, I don't think the Amish folks are into Jello-O brand products. They are a sort-of "do-it-yourself" kind of people! I found a website that has lots of variations on the recipe, and different ways to use the starter for things like brownies and muffins. Yum!

So, I'm thinking Laura and Hillary? Are you ladies game? Anyone else game? I can overnight it in the mail to you. I'm thinking that we need to come up with some super low calorie, whole grain variations! Something along the lines of Hillary's Cinnamon Swirl bread, using what I am now calling "Friendship Starter".

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