Amish friendship bread

Ah, friendship bread. Let’s be honest: it’s like a chain letter. But since I end up with this: I say it’s okay.

Let’s start at the beginning. Don’t have anyone dying to give you some starter? You can make your own (recipe found here):

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110°F)

Now get it going:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let it sit for about ten minutes. Stir.
  2. in a two quart glass or plastic (no metal!) container, combine flour and sugar; make sure they’re well combined so the flour doesn’t get lumpy in the milk
  3. Add in the warm milk and dissolved yeast/water, stirring slowly till everything is incorporated; the mixture will get bubbly
  4. Pour mixture into a one-gallon ziptop bag and seal tightly, pushing out as much air as possible

That’s it! That is now day 1 completed. Then you follow the directions as if you’ve received the starter:

Day 2: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 3: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 4: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 5: Add to the bag: 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. cold milk. Mash the bag (yep, it sits on the counter after this — weird but true)
Day 6: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 7: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 8: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 9: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary

Day 10: Pour the contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. cold milk.


  • Write the date (so your friends know what day one is) on four gallon size zip bags
  • Measure out one cup of batter into each bag
  • Keep one starter bag for yourself; give the other three to friends along with a printed copy of the recipe (Word doc) (remember that if you keep a starter, you will be baking every 10 days)

Time to bake!

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease two small or one large loaf pan

To your remaining starter (about one cup), add:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

The master recipe calls for a mixture of 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for dusting/topping. Use 2/3 of this mixture to dust the greased pans, and then sprinkle the remaining on top of the batter after poured into the pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from the sides, about 10 minutes.

Variation: some recipes call for 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding mix and/or substituting 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 oil. You can also play around with different flavors of pudding mixes and additions of fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, and spices.

Two great websites with tips and recipes:

I was surprised at how many people were interested in this starter — I had no trouble giving it away, and even mailed a couple of them with no problems. Enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Amish friendship bread

  1. Hmm….I may have to try this myself! I haven’t made Amish Friendship Bread in years–since Girl Scouts. I can’t remember though, does the bag sit out on the counter the whole 10 days, or just after day 5? I think I remember it going into the fridge, but I might be making that up.
    The whole ten days! It was kinda weird leaving milk on my counter that long, but hey — it works!

  2. My mom used to make this…but for some weird reason, not to make bread. She ate it over ice cream, the starter that is. So odd, I know.
    If you could see the face I’m making right now…. Did you try it? I’m trying to imagine what just the starter would taste like.

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