A Slice of Pennsylvanian Friendship
Besides providing the world with Hershey’s chocolate, central Pennsylvania is probably best known for being the home of the largest Amish population, colloquially known as “Amish Country.” At the heart of the Amish belief system, which dates back to the teachings of Jacob Amman in 1693, there exists a strong focus on family and community. And from this emphasis arose the culinary tradition of “friendship bread” that still continues today. Similar to traditional sourdough bread recipes, friendship bread begins as a bread starter, a mixture of yeast, sugar, flour, and water that is periodically “fed” to increase in size. When a friendship bread starter is big enough, it is typically separated into three portions, one for use in the household, one to store for the next week, and one to pass onto a friend or neighbor who will subsequently multiply their portion to pass to another member of the community.
In the non-Amish world, however, it is, unfortunately, quite difficult to find a community of friends and neighbors who want to continually make a loaf of bread every week. For that reason, the winter recipe we’re digging up today is not a true friendship bread, as it uses baking powder in place of the yeast starter. However, this recipe was passed on to us from an ex-Amish friend of our family, so, in true friendship bread spirit, I thought it only right to pass it along to all of you! What makes this recipe perfect for the Christmas season, is that it makes perfectly gift-able loaves that can be shared just like traditional friendship bread.
Amish Poppy Seed Bread
Ingredients for Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups oil (straight olive oil works well)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
Ingredients for Glaze
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon butter extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, butter, and almond extracts. Stir in the poppy seeds until evenly distributed.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until blended.
- Spray mini bread pans with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into the pans until 3/4 full. Run a knife through each loaf to release any bubbles.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the loaves have risen and are golden brown.
- While the loaves are baking, mix together the orange juice, sugar, and extracts for the glaze.
- Immediately after you remove the finished loaves from the oven, pour glaze over the top of each loaf. Let cool for fifteen minutes, loosen loaves from the pan, and remove each loaf to cool completely.
- Enjoy a loaf with a mug of hot cider, or pass one along in the spirit of Amish friendship!
As always, thanks for stopping by the dig! I truly hope you get a chance to try out this delicious piece of Pennsylvania food history!
Happy holidays, and keep digging!
- Amish White Bread (playingwithrocksinthekitchen.wordpress.com)