- Jump to the recipe to make Amish Friendship Bread starter.
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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, unappetizing 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. 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. You have been warned.
>> Ready to bake? Grab the recipe here or read on below!
The starter is essentially a 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.
>> Did you know you can freeze your starter if you need to take a break? Learn more about that here.
>> Need to make a starter? It’s easy! Get the recipe here.
Ready to Bake?
In our Recipe Box you’ll find recipes and variations of those recipes and variations of those variations.
At the end of the day, 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.
Following are the recipe and instructions for Amish Friendship Bread as it was given to me. You can also view a selection of different instruction styles (including large print!) by clicking here.
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.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. To the remaining batter in a bowl add the following:
a. 3 eggs
b. 1 cup oil
c. 1/2 cup milk
d. 1 cup sugar
e. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
f. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
g. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
h. 1/2 teaspoon salt
i. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
j. 2 cups flour
k. 1-2 boxes instant pudding (any flavor)
i. Optional: 1 cup nuts and 1 cup raisins
3. Grease 2 large loaf pans
a. In a bowl mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
b. Dust the greased pans with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture on the top.
5. 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.
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 post your question on our Facebook wall. You can even submit an Amish Friendship Bread recipe if you have one you’d like to share! Support the Kitchen by picking up a copy of our e-cookbook, 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!