Some people celebrate friendship with flowers, others with homemade bracelets, but as you know, a full stomach equals a happy heart, so baking a luscious loaf of Friendship Bread is a great option, too! Your friendship starts with a test as you spend ten days perfecting and activating a made-from-scratch starter. After lots of quality time together, your starter is either ready to be gifted to a friend (which is where the name comes from), or you can keep it for yourself and bake a loaf to share, but only if you want to! It's a win-win situation, though, because they each result in a sweet, hearty, and fluffy loaf of cinnamon Friendship Bread that's as worthy of the time investment as your friendships are!
IngredientsFor the starter: • 1 (.25-ounce) packet of active dry yeast • 1/4 cup warm water • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided • 2 cups milk, 2% or higher in fat, divided For the bread: • 1 cup friendship bread starter • 3/4 cup vegetable oil • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided • 3 large eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Mix the packet of yeast into warm water and let it sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
In a glass bowl, mix 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Then mix 1 cup of milk and the frothy yeast mixture into the flour mixture.
Pour the starter into a gallon resealable bag and place it on a flat surface.
For the next five days, mash the resealable bag once a day. Doing this encourages the yeast to activate.
On day six, add the remaining 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk into the resealable bag. Seal the bag and mash around until all are combined.
Continue to mash around the starter daily for days seven, eight, and nine.
On day ten, the starter is ready for baking or gifting.
If you would like to gift the starter to a friend or loved one, reserve 1 cup of it for sharing.
If you would like to keep the starter going, add an additional 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk to the remaining starter and mix. This starts the cycle over again, and day ten becomes day one.
To make the bread, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
In a glass bowl, mix 1 cup of the starter mix with the vegetable oil, 1 cup granulated sugar, the eggs, and vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and flour.
Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Fill the prepared pans 1/4 each full with the batter, using 1/2 of the batter total.
Mix together the remaining cinnamon and the remaining sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter in the pans.
Split the remaining batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
Allow the pan to cool.