Amish Friendship Bread is all about friendships and community. It’s about connection. It’s about fun. It’s about nurturing other people, including yourself. It’s about not taking anything too seriously, but to find the simple joy and pleasure in every moment.
Meet the Friendliest Bread in the World
If you were to look up Amish Friendship Bread on Wikipedia, you’d find this: “Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use.”
If you were to ask a real live person who has made Amish Friendship Bread, you might hear something like this: “It’s a gloopy substance in a bag that you mash for ten days before baking the most heavenly bread in the world.”
Amish Friendship Bread operates on a similar principle as a chain letter — pass it on — but with no threats or negative repercussions if you choose not to make it. At the end of the ten days, you divide it into four portions, bake with one, and give the other three away. This usually hums along nicely for the first cycle or two, but eventually people will start running in the other direction if you keep showing up on their doorstep with a fresh batch of starter (kidding/not kidding). The good news is you can freeze your starter, but more on that later. Let’s get your starter going!
Frequently Used Links
- Jump to the recipe to make Amish Friendship Bread starter.
- Jump to the recipe to make Amish Friendship Bread.
- Check out the recipe to make the cinnamon-sugar dusting mixture.
- Free printables! 10-Day instructions, labels and gift tags — choose your favorite styles here.
- Want our quickest and easiest Amish Friendship Bread recipes all in one place? Check out our e-cookbook bundle!
What is Amish Friendship Bread?
Amish Friendship Bread starter is essentially a sweet sourdough starter with a lactobacillus culture. Because there’s so much sugar in most Amish Friendship Bread recipes, the result is sweet, slightly tangy twist. Like most sourdough starters, Amish Friendship Bread can literally be passed around indefinitely; in fact, the longer it has been around, the better.
If you ask around, chances are you’ll find somebody you know with an Amish Friendship Bread starter to share (exercise good judgment if accepting a starter from someone you do not know). Shared starters are always my favorite because the flavor is unique to the people who’ve added a bit of their kitchen to yours. I was gifted one from 1987 and it’s one of my favorites.
As long as you continue to feed your starter, it can stay at room temperature indefinitely. One of the wonderful things about the starter is that you can bake almost anything with it.
I always recommend that people first go through the 10-Day cycle with their starter and bake the original recipe first. From there, you can go almost anywhere, but it’s important to learn how the starter behaves and what the recipe should taste like. Every kitchen and every starter is different, and you can always look at the Learn area of the website for help.
Here are the original instructions as they were passed to me.
NOTE: Do not refrigerate starter. It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment. If air gets in the bag, let it out.
Day 1: Do nothing.
Day 2: Mash the bag.
Day 3: Mash the bag.
Day 4: Mash the bag.
Day 5: Mash the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.
Day 7: Mash the bag.
Day 8: Mash the bag.
Day 9: Mash the bag.
Day 10: Follow the directions below:
- Pour the entire bag into a nonmetal bowl.
- Add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cup milk. Mix well.
- Measure out equal portions of 1 cup each into 4 1-gallon Ziploc bags. Some people will end up with 4-7 portions depending on how active your starter has been, especially if you made your starter from scratch.
- Keep one of the bags for yourself (or leave it in the mixing bowl if you plan to bake right away), and give the other bags to friends along with the recipe.
REMEMBER: If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking in 10 days. The bread is very good and makes a great gift.
Should this recipe not be passed onto a friend on the first day, make sure to tell them which day it is when you present it to them.
- Jump to the recipe to make Amish Friendship Bread (or view recipe below).
We love all the Amish Friendship Bread recipes in our Recipe Box, but the original Amish Friendship Bread recipe is the simplest and the best.
- Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
- In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
- Grease two large loaf pans.
- Dust the greased pans with a mixture of ½ cup sugar and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon.
- Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture on the top.
- Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
This recipe is very versatile! Use 1 or 2 boxes of pudding (pudding boosts flavor and moisture, but you can also leave it out or make your own). Add 1 cup of dried fruit, nuts or baking chips of your choice.
Looking to make your Amish Friendship Bread healthier? Swap out ½ cup oil plus ½ cup applesauce or 1 egg plus ¼ cup mashed banana. Reduce sugar to ⅔ cup or replace with ⅔ cup honey.
What can you make with 1 cup of starter?
In our Recipe Box you’ll find recipes and variations of those recipes and variations of those variations. You’ll be amazed by what you can do with one cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter.
Bake and share
Have you seen my free printable library? It has lots of different instruction sheets, labels, and gift tags for your starter and the bread. And (in case you missed it), it’s free! Check out a growing selection of different instruction styles (including large print!) by clicking here.
Your Amish Friendship Bread Journey has begun
Your journey has officially begun! We have lots of Amish Friendship Bread recipes and photos to inspire you, and if you find yourself stuck or needing an answer to a question, visit our FAQs or the tutorials page. Join the Facebook page for the latest updates and new recipes, or hop over to our Facebook private group to share photos and ask questions to our community. Support the Kitchen by picking up a copy of any of our e-cookbooks, like our bestselling Quick and Easy Amish Friendship Bread Recipes, and you’ll have everything you need to bake Amish Friendship Bread whenever you want.
Most recipes will yield two loaves, one for you and one to share. Keep the spirit of Amish Friendship Bread alive by sharing what you have with others — put a smile on someone’s face today by baking them a loaf of Amish Friendship Bread. Thanks for being in the Kitchen with me!