Tips for your Amish Friendship Starter

It’s been several weeks since my Amish Friendship Starter has been bubbling along on my counter top. It didn’t take long to run out of friends who wanted a portion of the starter to use when baking their own goodies. After a bit of research and playing around here are some tips I have that might help you prevent your starter from getting out of control. Some of these are based on questions my friends have asked and other are just things that make complete sense when you think about it.

* I know there are plenty of sites that claim you ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT use metal spoons of any sort to stir your starter. Of course you can. This is simply a yeast based starter and, having a friend who previously made mass quantities of sourdough before in huge metal mixers, I can tell you that metal will not kill off all your yeasties that are busy in the container just by you stirring the starter with a metal spoon. No worries about the metal spoon. Stir away!

* The essence of the recipe basically boils down to a 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of sugar, flour and milk. Don’t want 6 cups of starter starring you in the face every 10 days? Then reduce the amount of the ratio. Go from 1 cup of each sugar, flour and milk to 1/4 cup each of sugar, flour and milk. Or even a 1/2 cup. Planning on a huge baking session for the holidays and need more starter? Then increase the ratio: 2 cups each of sugar, flour and milk. It works just fine. Trust me on this.

* Stater can be removed more often than every 10 days. I know the recipes say to remove starter to bake with, and give away to friends, on the 10th day. What happens if you want to make something before that time? Will early removal cause the starter to self destruct? No. The starter will have a better flavor if you want several days after adding your sugar, flour and milk addition. This gives the yeast time to use the newly added ingredients. The result is the starter continues to have that sourdough like flavor. I’ve removed portions 2 or 3 days after adding new ingredients and it still had the same flavor.

* You can use less sugar than called for. Personally I find the starter very sweet. The yeast use some of the sugar but much of it stays behind and gives the batter a very sweet taste. I’ve cut the amount of sugar in half and still haven’t managed to kill off the yeast. Right now I’m currently adding 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour and milk every 5 to 6 days. Things seem to be working out just fine so far.

* Can’t use regular milk? Simply replace with your favorite milk substitute. I made up a second starter batch using only almond milk and can’t tell much difference between that one and the starter using cow’s milk.

So far these are some of the changes that I’ve made to the original friendship starter recipe. We love the added flavor that the starter gives to bread, pancakes and muffins so I’ll keep it going for now.

Have you tried using Amish friendship starter before? What’s your favorite recipe.

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