Planning for a bake sale in April, I got the idea to make AFB plus bags of starter that would be the right amount for the purchaser to use all at once, without having to commit to the “chain letter” part of the process. The sale, which was yesterday, was quite successful. I brought 4 mini loaves and 22 muffins. All but 4 muffins were bought. But just 3 of the 8 bags of starter (with accompanying directions) sold. It turns out that only about half the attendees had ever heard of it, and most of these do not bake. I hadn’t made AFB in probably 25 years; in that time, a generation has matured with little kitchen experience.
My reason for this post is to say that the loaf I kept, which is the classic variety, with a few tweaks (butterscotch pudding, coconut oil, golden raisins, half of the sugar brown, plus butterscotch chips), is truly superb. I’d completely forgotten the difference AFB starter makes in a quickbread, and encourage bakers to try it. My prior experience had ended badly when a starter I’d used for a couple of “generations” turned bad, or so I thought. With the arrival of the internet, there’s more expertise to access, and I see that it might have been salvageable.
For the bake sale, I made three flavors: White Chocolate Banana Walnut, Pineapple-Coconut, and Pistachio. The puddings used were banana cream, coconut cream, and pistachio. Though vanilla pudding will work for any flavor combo, I thought I might as well choose flavors for which corresponding pudding flavors are sold. I chopped up dried banana and dried pineapple from Trader Joe’s, and used TJ walnut, coconut, and pistachio oils, because I had them already.
www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com has some 250 recipe variations, including options for vegan and gluten-free starters. Though I used whole wheat pastry flour and various sugars for the baking, to play it safe I used AP flour, cane sugar, and whole milk to create the starter. Since I have unsold starter to play with, I will extend its life with WW flour, maple syrup, and perhaps diluted yogurt. I’ll be trying out the recipes for AFB waffles and cornbread, too.