Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hertzler Heritage Bread

I have a recipe for you today. I also have a mini family history lesson for you as well. So even if you hate baking, you can still read this post. But if you hate baking AND history, well then...just stop reading right now. Shut the laptop, turn off the tablet, continue playing Candy Crush on your're not gonna like this post.

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm a proud Jersey girl. I was born in Philadelphia and raised right across the bridge in a small South Jersey town called Delran (GO BEARS!) Very proud of my heritage. My Mom is Irish (hence the pride) and my Dad is English (my maiden name is Barnes).

circa 1980

I grew up on Philly cheesesteaks, Tastycakes, and Habbersett Scrapple (don't ask). I prefer my rolls to be crusty on the outside, my stromboli oozing with cheese, and my pork roll crispy. But when I was 10, my family and I moved to Lancaster County, PA, where the Philly soft pretzel was replaced with a sweet variety (Auntie Anne's) and where they eat odd things like ham balls, shoo-fly pie, and chow-chow. Talk about culture shock. Where am I going with all this? Hold on...

Now let's get to Mitch's side. Mitch was born and raised where the moose freely roam and the temperatures are as low as our economy. He grew up in Alberta, Canada. He lived there till he was 16 when his parents moved back to Lancaster County. I say "back" because his family was originally from Lancaster. So he grew up eating other weird things such as moose burgers, Saskatoon berries, and Coffee Crisp.

They didn't always dress like that.

Both Mitch and I have very fond memories of our childhoods. That's actually where we derived the name of our blog: Maple Leaves (ode to Mitch's homeland) and Sycamore Trees (I grew up on Sycamore Street). 

So there's a little bit of background for ya. I'm gonna go a bit deeper now. Hold on. So I said that Mitch's family was originally from Lancaster County. Yeah. You could say that. Last year Mitch researched his family line and can now trace it all the way back to the very first Hertzler who came over from Switzerland way back in 1749. I know you won't be able to read it but, see, here's the spreadsheet to prove it. Finn is the youngest Hertzler on there.

So cool, right? Ahh...the history lover in me LOVES this. Okay, now...we're getting to the recipe part of this post. So...Mitch's first ancestor, Jacob Hertzler, was...wait for it...the very FIRST Amish bishop in America. Wow, you didn't see that one coming, did ya? Good ol' Jacob Hertzler...Amish. Bishop. First one in America. Cool, right? 

Oh my gosh, Kat! What the crap does this have to do with all these pictures of bread you're posting?!? Okay, so here's the connection: this bread is called Amish Friendship Bread and it's the best tasting sweet bread you'll come across. Seriously. Even this Jersey girl loves it. And I'm not crazy about most Dutch-y foods.

If you've ever had Amish Friendship Bread, you know it's no small feat to bring about. The original recipe is one that you need to let sit for 10 days, mashing and adding ingredients as you go. Then at the end of ten days, you separate the dough and give it to some friends (hence the "friendship" part of the title). Well, even though the bread is amazing (think delicious cinnamon bread), it's a pain to make. Who has time to wait 10 days to eat some amazing bread? Not this girl. So I tweaked the recipe and came up with a non-10-day version. And since us Hertzlers have a corner on this Amish thing, I think it's only fitting to call this here bread Hertzler Heritage Bread. Okay, see the connection??

So do me (and yourself) a favor, make some and think about how YOU know a direct descendant of the very first Amish bishop in America. You gotta admit--that's pretty cool.

This is what you need: 

A young Hertzler (and his ducky) helped make this bread. Here Bryce is whisking the dry ingredients together.

Mixing the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately in the mixer.

Make sure your pan is greased well (I used refined coconut oil for mine). Then you're going to dust it with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

After you pour in half of the batter, sprinkle it with some cinnamon sugar, then layer the other half of your batter on top. And sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on top of that. (This is at the half-way point.)

Take a look at the top of this bread. It's deliciously crunchy. The cinnamon sugar that goes on top makes it that way. And it's amazing. I promise. I wouldn't lead you astray. Best eaten slathered with butter.

Hertzler Heritage Bread
makes 2 loaves


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + 2 tablespoons vinegar)
4 cups King Arthur All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cinnamon sugar mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. This is your cinnamon sugar mixture.

In medium-sized bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together until incorporated. These are your dry ingredients.

In separate mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. On very low speed, alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Pour half of batter into well greased and sugared loaf pans. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture on top of halved batter. Add remaining batter to pans and sprinkle with last of cinnamon sugar. 

Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing. (I slid a knife around the perimeter before flipping over onto a cooling rack. Oh and make sure you have something underneath to catch all the cinnamon sugar when you flip! Then turn the loaves right-side up and cool.) 


  1. I love Amish friendship bread! But you are right, it can be a pain to make. I confess I have gotten a little tired of "feeding" it on time, and I have gotten to the point in the past where people didn't want any more starter :) Ha ha, well anyway, I am excited to try your recipe. It looks awesome :)

    1. I know...when you're in the mood for it, it's hard to locate a starter and then when you do make it, it's hard to get rid of the extra starters! Yes, this way is much easier. Hope you like it!

  2. It looks yummy, and i can't wait to try it. :) The history behind it just makes it that more amazing.

  3. Yum, I totally forgot about this bread! I haven't made this bread since college. I can still smell the starter. Great family history lesson, so cool you actually know all of that and great photos!

    1. Yeah, it's a favorite of mine, for sure! And yes, the starter has a distinct smell!

  4. Awesome! Now I have something to make with my extra buttermilk from our Belgian Waffles. Love the Amish connection too, as I am a bit obsessed with them.

    1. I know...when I do have buttermilk (which is almost never) I never have a recipe for something to get rid of it with. So I just end up just making buttermilk.

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