Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
SafeFood Rapid Response Network
SafeFood Newsletter - Winter 1996/1997 - Vol. 1, No. 2
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Safety of Amish Friendship Bread and Similar Sourdough Products
Recently, magazine articles have revived interest in sourdough-type starters used to make various kinds of breads and cake-like breads. People are encouraged to pass portions of the starters and bread-making instructions along to friends. One such product is "Amish Friendship Bread," although it may or may not originate from the Amish community.
Several extension educators in New York State and in other states have questioned the safety of the Amish Friendship Bread starter because the instructions call for leaving the product, which contains milk, at room temperature for ten days before it is used to make the bread.
After discussing the safety of a product such as this with two fermentation experts at Cornell University and two experts at Oregon State and Washington State, Donna L. Scott, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, has concluded that there is little risk of contracting foodborne illness from properly prepared and handled starters, whether or not they contain milk. Properly prepared starters are safe because they become acidic due to the fermentation action of lactic acid-forming bacteria present in the mixture. These bacteria and the acid environment formed inhibit the growth of other bacteria, but do allow yeast, if added, to grow and help leaven bread products.
However, bakers of Amish Friendship Bread should be aware of the following:
FOOD SAFETY FOR HIGH RISK GROUPS
FOOD PRESERVATION COURSE
FOOD SAFETY WORKS
PRESCHOOL NUTRITION VIDEO SERIES
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