Guests have been requesting the recipe for the Bearskin Friendship Bread that Crystal started baking this summer for our week-long cabin guests. I promised to share the recipe in the blog, with Crystal’s permission. While Crystal bakes more than one version of this bread, this recipe is the one that she has made the most often.
A word of warning, though, before you try this recipe: Unless you enjoy large explosions, this is not a good recipe for folks who start projects and then forget about them. See the story below for an explanation.
Friendship Bread Recipe
Begin by making a Friendship Bread starter kit: Combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 packet active dry yeast in a large plastic bag (gallon size is good.) This plastic bag is your starter kit.
Later you will need:
1 cup oil
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 – 3.4 oz boxes instant pudding (any flavor—Crystal likes French vanilla)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup nuts optional
Day 1 Do nothing
Day 2-5 Squish the bag; let the air out if the bag expands.
Day 6 Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, stir with wooden spoon
Day 7-9 Squish the bag; let the air out if the bag expands.
Day 10 Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, squish bag, then take out 3 cups of batter and make three separate starter bags for the future. Put the remaining batter in a bowl and add wet ingredients: 1 cup oil, ½ cup milk, 3 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients; mix well. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients; mix well. Pour batter into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325º for 1 hour.
Now about that “let the air out” part. Believe it. Crystal has been totally tending to this bread on her own. Bob and I knew that Crystal was constantly doing something mysterious to the dough, but we didn’t know what it was. One morning last week when we were in the kitchen, we noticed one of the gallon bags full of dough was swelled up like a balloon.
“Look what’s happening,” Bob pointed out. “Crystal’s not here right now, should we do something about this?” “Hmmm… No, I don’t think so,” I knowledgeably answered. “She’s just barely accumulated enough dough for the bread this week and if we mess with it, maybe we’ll wreck the process and she’ll be short of dough.”
Bob and I were eating lunch upstairs when we heard a huge KA-BOOOOM from down in the lodge. The bag exploded, spreading drips of goopy bread dough across the entire lodge kitchen. (Thank you, Kari and Kate for graciously cleaning up the big mess.) Whoops. Needless to say, we let the air out of the remaining dough bags and now every time we enter the lodge kitchen, we turn a cautious eye towards that bin of bags for fear that it will happen again. So this is a tasty recipe, but it does require a bit of bread dough babysitting.
Next week’s guests will find a fresh-baked pound cake loaf on their kitchen counter when they arrive. Friendship Bread returns the following week, assuming enough bags of starter dough survive without another big bang.