If you love Amish Friendship Bread but prefer a starter that’s not as sweet, consider this variation which contains little to no added sugar.
This recipe includes milk (which is a source of lactose which contains sugar), but you can swap low fat, skim, or even a nut or soy milk. If these options aren’t an option, then check out my easy sourdough starter recipe, which only contains flour and water.
As with regular sourdough starters, the sugars in the milk and flour get metabolized by the yeast and acetic acid is produced, which is great for helping to lower blood sugar. This is not to say that ALL the sugars are eaten up by the time that you use the starter, but the fact that the starter is fermented is one of the reasons we love it so much. If you have any health concerns, please check with your doctor first.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter (Low Sugar / Sugar-Free)
- ¼ ounce active dry yeast or 1 package
- ¼ cup warm water 110° F/45° C
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.
- In a 2-quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, add 1 cup flour.
- Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.
- Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the 10-day cycle. For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread and omit the sugar when feeding on Day 6 and Day 10.
>> Have you tried this? Rate the recipe and leave a comment below, telling me how it worked for you!
Hi, I have a sourdough starter, can I use that ? Thank you.
Kimberly L Stoll says
Just copied down the rec for starter and sugar free starter. I love the friendship bread, I am glad I was finally able to find a recipe to start my own.
Quick question: How would I make a loaf of the low/no sugar bread other then using sugar free pudding, would I just leave out the cup of sugar? My hubby is on a low/no sugar way of eating and I like to bake for him (love to bake period) I make cookies with splenda for him when I cookies for me and grandkids. He loves homemade bread.
Cynthia Johnson says
Kim, I have the same question. My husband can’t have lot of sugar. Hope we get answer
Good morning. I would love to try this but cannot find the 10 day feeder instructions. Can you tell me where to go on your website to find this? Thanks!
I have friendship bread starter from a friend. Trying to make it sugar free. Can I just start feeding it with alm one nd milk and flour? Or will it getangry and have sugar withdrawals?
Hi! So I recently made some AFB with your recipe, my MIL put her starter in the fridge that just finished it’s 10 day cycle, can she bake with it as she pulls it out of the fridge or will she have to start the 10 day cycle over? Thanks so much!
Hi Shelbie! This post should help you out with knowing how to store your starter in the fridge: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/faq-store-my-starter-in-the-fridge/
I am trying to make the friendship bread with marzipan for Christmas but I am afraid I came to your recipe a day too late
1. Can I use 1 cup of this starter on day 9 instead of day 10?
2. There are a number of links and recipes and I am confused a little. Sorry! Pregnant with baby 11th and my brain is tired lol. But this recipe calls for container but the follow up 10 day process says to “mash the bag”
Hi! Yes, you can use your starter on day 9. And you can keep your starter in a container or a bag, it doesn’t matter which way you keep it. If you’re keeping it in a container, you can just give it a good stir before you use it!
Ruby Backert says
I was looking at the Amish Friendship Bread Starter (Low sugar/sugar free) and in the directions you say
1. in a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. In a 2 quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.
My question mix the flour with what? the yeast from #1? This is not real clear. Please clarify. thanks.
Hi Ruby! It should just say to put the flour in a 2 quart glass. You’ll mix the yeast in after as directed. Thanks for catching that!
My momma made this all the time. Everyone loved it. She passed this year. I’m going to try my hand at it. I know it won’t be as good though.
We’re so sorry to hear about your loss, Susie. Sending love and condolences. ❤️
What do you do after you make your starter? What are the next steps … or did I miss something?
Hi Rosa! Here are the instructions for the next 10 days after you make the starter: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/amish-friendship-bread/
Linda Haywood says
Why am I seeing mold in my starter ( edges of the bowl)?
Darien Gee says
Hi Linda! Are you stirring daily and scraping down the sides? You shouldn’t be seeing any mold, especially if your starter was bubbly when you made it. Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amishfriendshipbread. But the rule in the Kitchen is: “When in doubt, throw it out.” If your starter looks suspicious in any way, it’s not worth the risk. Hope this helps! 🙂
What is the recipe for the sugar free friendship bread starter ? I would like the 10 day feeding schedule?
Hi Susie! Here is the instruction fro the 10 day feeding schedule: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/amish-friendship-bread/
Amy weaver says
Has anyone used stevia and almond milk instead of sugar and regular milk. What about almond flour? Trying to find a more keto friendly option.
Hi Amy! We don’t recommend using any sugar replacement in the starter. The yeast in your starter needs sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate and that is what yeast needs to metabolize and grow. Artificial sweeteners are amino acids and won’t help your starter rise and ferment. Unfortunately, this is why low carb flours do not usually work in the starter (such as almond flour). Some people have found success with different gluten free flours, but they are usually gluten free flour mixes (that are higher in carbohydrates).
However, you can replace the milk with most milk alternatives, so almond milk should work just fine! Let us know if you have any other questions.
I’m wondering if anyone has tried this with Splenda and any of the recipes using the starter and Splenda?
Hi Janice! Because the starter needs sugars to eat and grow (in this recipe, it metabolizes the sugars from the milk and flour), we don’t recommend using sugar alternatives in the starter because they won’t interact properly with the yeast. However, you could reduce or swap the sugar in most of the recipes! Most sugar alternatives have a 1:1 ratio for substituting. Let us know if you have any other questions!
E. Hodskins says
I have the amish friendship starter that you add flour, milk, and sugar can I just omit the sugar on day 6 to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?
Yes, you can definitely omit the sugar to reduce the sugar content in the starter!
I love doing the basic cinnamon version of this recipe. But I want to try the other variations. My question is when the recipe calls for the starter is it a cup of starter at the 10 day before you add all the ingredients? Or one cup of starter when you are at the step to give out to friends?
We recommend taking the cup out after you feed it, Kym! However, depending on what recipe you’re using (whether it’s a more traditional artisan recipe or a quick bread recipe), and if you’ve gone through at least one cycle of 10 days with your starter, you can really bake with it when you want to. Here’s a great post on when to bake with your starter: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/faq-how-soon-can-i-bake-use-my-amish-friendship-bread-sourdough-starter/
Sandy H-L-Mortensen says
Are there specific recipes for the sugar-free starter and if so, where are they on the website? I assume they are recipes that are more bread-like, rather than dessert items? OR can the sugar-free starter simply be used in all of the recipes, with the results being less sweet?
Darien Gee says
Hi Sandy! The sugar-free starter can be used in ANY recipe on this site (unless indicated otherwise), both traditional bread recipes, as well as muffins, cakes, cookies, scones … the list goes on. Every recipe in the Recipe Box is designed to be used with 1 cup of starter, so it’s just a matter of deciding what you want to make.
There are no sugar-free recipes on the site, but if you are managing your sugar intake, you can use a sugar replacement for most recipes without having to adjust the flavor profile very much — just know that the result of the finished bread or cake may be a bit different, but still delicious. Good luck!
Cami Valenzuela says
Love that you have a sugar free option. My husband can’t eat much sugar and hard making stuff and leaving him out. Thanks so much.
Paula Forrester says
My husband has been recently diagnosed as a diabetic. This recipe will make his day! Thank you!
I’m using this sugar free starter in place of the regular starter.
Wes Turnipseed says
I gave this to 12 of my sons closest friends, for Christmas. 🙂 “Nothing says love like something from the oven.” What better thing to show love than Friendship Bread. 🙂 Merry Christmas!
molli taylor says
i would love to do this sugare free version for my husband and son who have sugar sensitivities!
Maureen Wakefield says
Can’t wait to try the sugar-free recipe – losing weight may be easier with a nice sugar free recipe!
Linda Shope says
My Mom just gave me your website since I make so much friendship bread. I try to make as low-fat, low-sugar as possible, using egg beaters, applesauce or pumpkin for oil, and splitting sugar as half sugar, half splenda. I am glad to find the sugar-free starter, as that was the one thing I didn’t change because I was afraid it wouldn’t work right with splenda. Can’t wait to try a sugar-free starter! I’ve done many variations, some with sugar-free pudding and some regular. Favorites are butterscotch pecan, using butterscotch pudding; pumpkin with pumpkin pudding; chocolate mint with chocolate mint pudding and chocolate mint chips and gingerbread pecan with gingerbread pudding. They’re always big hits!
Hi Linda! Welcome to the Kitchen, and if you don’t see an AFB sugar-free recipe in the Recipe Box that you want to make, please submit one! 🙂
Beckie Tyrone says
Thank you so much for this recipe!! My son is ADHD and we are reducing his sugar and carb intake. Question…have you tried this version with Coconut Flour? (It’s less carb than regular flour)
Hi Beckie! Unfortunately, we’ve had inconsistent results with GF flours like coconut flour. Because the yeasts do need sugars to feed on in order to stay alive, most GF starters struggle with staying active.
I am borderline diabetic and so excited to see sugar free friendship bread starter.
meghan rehberger says
This is great. My mom is Diabetic, and I really didn’t want her to feel left out. – she loved it!!! Thanks!!!
Jinnie Rivera says
Is there a non-sweet recipe I can make sourdough bread. My starter is soooo sweet. I like it for sweet treats, but I would love to make a sourdough bread. Thanks!
Hi Jinnie! You can try this easy sourdough starter and use it in this sourdough bread instead of the the original AFB starter.
shirley orr says
I am liking this Bread a lot,,using it for every function we have lately! Thanks!
Leigh Mott says
I am slowly turning my current starter into a sugar free starter!
Can Splenda be used?
Hi Lori! Because the starter needs some kind of sugars to metabolize (whether in the flour or actual sugar), we’ve had mixed results with adding sugar alternatives into the starter itself, but let us know if you try and how it goes!
Jean McLain says
Can you use any non dairy liquid to make the bread? I use Stevia as my sweetener for my drinks. Love it.
Hi Jean! Yes, there are definitely non-dairy alternatives you can use (as well as water)! Check out the “getting started” section in our FAQ library: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/faqs/#started6
Marsha Null says
Does anyone know how many weight watcher points this bread is?
Deb Westbury says
This was perfect. Thanks for posting a sugar free starter as well as a sugar free recipe, I am making both!
Sarah@ Homestyle Cooking Around The World says
Glad to find this starter- Thanks!
Hi there, I know you said that you tried this sugar free recipe w artificial sweeteners and they did not work out,did you also try w stevia which is not a chemical sweetener? Thanks! 😉
Let me know if you make it with stevia and how much to add. thx 🙂
OMG Thank you! I have so many diabetic older ladies at church that nearly cry when I bring my various friendship breads to events that I’ve been trying to find a sugar free one. My self created recipe attempts have failed miserably and I was so happy to try this one. Thanks again!
Can’t wait to try this sugar free version. Love friendship bread.
Help! its me again….I made the most delicious sourdough bread. Its so good toasted in the morning. Now I have my started ready to go and I would like to make some low sugar recipes but I cannot find any on the site. I try and it keeps bring me to the sugarfree starter which I have already made….now I would like to bake something low or no sugar, even sugar sustitute…do we have any thing like this?
You can substitute cup for cup Zylitol for the sugar. I use it for everything baking or otherwise instead of sugar. You can purchase at health food stores, The Vitamin Shoppe or online. Zylitol is made from the birch tree and is very similar to sugar with out raising the glycemic index. It taste much better than splenda or stevia in the raw.
Diane Quinn says
Plase be careful using Zylitol if you have pets. Zylitol can be very toxic to dogs and can be fatal.
Thanks for putting this here, Diane! It is definitely important to watch where you keep your Zylitol!
Sharlene Rank says
I, like many others in their sixties now, made this bread 30 years ago until we could make no more – froze some starter for awhile, but then threw it out; just finished the book, loved it and since I am now diabetic, will start anew in a healthy for me way. Thank you.
Gail Lynch says
I need to get the original recipe to start a starter. Thanks a lot! Gail
Mary t. Visalli says
I think this website is very good. Iloved the sugar free amish friendship bread it was very tastey
Deborah Paul says
I’m going to use this with sugar free pudding and changes to the original recipe too. Thank you!
Thank you so much for the sugar free starter – as a diabetic it will work for me. I was wondering though, is it possible to use a whole heat flour rather than all purpose flour? I’m thinking yes since historically access to white flour is a relatively new thing.
Hi Liz! This post may help with figuring out how to substitute with whole wheat flour: https://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/faq-substitute-bake-whole-wheat-flour-for-all-purpose-white-flour/
Thank-you soooo much for posting this recipe!! I’ve had two different friends talk to me about Amish Bread recently and today one had some for us and the children to share!! OMG YUM!! I broke our rules around cane sugar to try it as I know its taken her time to make and I’m so glad to find a version without added sugar as I’ve spent a wee while this evening looking online for one and it is super simple too!
I love all the other recipes for the starter too 😀
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