The Amish Hack That Will Change How You Make Homemade Bread

As of 2021, it's estimated that there are 355,660 Amish in the United States and Canada. The majority live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio; Amish settlements can now be found in states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, and Wyoming. (via Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies).

Since settlements are located away from urban areas, it's probably still too far of a drive for most of us. From Mashed HQ in Indianapolis, it's a three-hour drive to Indiana Amish Country – and that's one way. A road trip to treat yourself to some Amish baked goods might not be on the agenda with the national gas price average above $4 a gallon. Time to recreate that Pennsylvania Dutch Country experience in your kitchen!

Among other things, the Amish are known for their shoofly pie, whoopie pies, and that oh-so-delicious and irresistible Friendship Bread. If you don't have the 10 days to create a Friendship Bread starter, this simple trick will make any homemade bread taste just like it came from Lancaster County.

Brush melted butter over the top of your bread

The Amish are known for cooking and baking with no artificial ingredients — and they know everything really is better with butter. When baking, the Amish use butter generously to make their baked goods rich and moist. Before you put that homemade white bread into the oven to bake, brush some melted butter on top. According to Taste of Home, your bread will come out soft and golden with a slightly crunchy crust. If you want a subtle flavor boost, use herb butter instead of plain butter when baking bread.

Bread has a short shelf life if not stored properly. Don't even think about keeping that loaf on top of the refrigerator or near a dishwasher. Heat emits from both appliances, causing bread bagged in paper to dry out while bread in plastic bags grows mold faster (via Food & Wine). According to Healthline, homemade bread can last up to four days if kept in an airtight container or bread box and stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Wrapping the loaf in plastic wrap and keeping it in the fridge nets you an extra three to five days. Bread can be stored in the freezer for six months.

Want to know another Amish baked goods secret? A slice of bread can keep cookies fresh. The moisture from the bread will keep cookies soft.