Amish Friendship Bread {and starter}

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This recipe for Amish Friendship Bread comes just in time for the holidays. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Your friends will love it. Trust me.

Amish Friendship Bread with a recipe for the starter! This makes the best "quick" bread ever!

What I should have said is… “Your friends will love it until they don’t anymore and then run away from you because they don’t want any more starter.”

Okay, so I’m not really selling this recipe so far, am I? Let’s start over.

Have you heard of Amish Friendship Bread? I thought everyone had and then I asked Facebook, the knower of all the things, and it said that many people have no clue.

REALLY? Where were you in the late 80s??? Certainly not in Burlingame, CA, where I was. EVERYONE had a bowl of starter on their counter back in ’89. It was the in thing to do: wear leg warmers, rat your hair high, and babysit yeasted starter on your counter for 10 days.

Amish Friendship Bread, in all essence, is an edible chain letter. And while I delete chain letters and “share if you agree” statuses on FB on principle, I’ll never, ever turn down bread. Especially this bread. It’s the best bread. Really. I remember eating it for weeks in middle school. Then one day it vanished…never to be seen again…until now.

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe with a recipe for how to make the starter! This makes the most wonderful bread!

So what is it, really? Basically it’s a “quick” bread made with a sourdough starter. You grow the starter on your counter for 10 days, stirring it and feeding it and loving on it, and then at the end of 10 days you make the most amazing bread with it.

Then, because it’s so friendly, you share 2 cups of the starter with two friends and keep a cup growing on your counter for next time.

Then, 10 days after that, you do the same thing. And again and again to infinity.

Or, you can give it all away after 10 days…or freeze it for next time a craving hits.

You see, that’s what happened to me. All of a sudden I wanted Amish Friendship Bread. I had not had a bite of it in 25 years and one day last month I neeeeeeded a slice. But what’s a girl to do when she wants the bread but doesn’t have the starter?

Make her own, of course.

Yeast starter for friendship bread.

You start with yeast and water. Let it proof, like you’re making cinnamon rolls. Then you mix the frothy yeast with flour, sugar, and milk. Stir, loosely cover, and let it sit.

A day later, and each day for 4 days you stir it. Then, on day 5, it’s hungry. You can’t hear it’s tummy growling, but you need to feed it anyway.

This chick is a girl after my own heart. She eats sugar, flour, and milk.

Then you stir her again until day 10. On day 10, she’s hungry again. Then she’s multiplied to 4 cups of starter.

Amish Friendship Bread: Day 10 yeast mixture

Pick two friends and give them each a cup of starter, with directions on how to take care of it – obviously.

Then put one cup aside to continue growing…or freeze it for when the urge hits next time.

That last cup? That’s what you make your bread with. At this point, making it is like quick bread. Just stir together all the ingredients and bake in loaf pans. No kneading or dough hooks or anything. The batter is pretty much like a banana bread batter.

A few notes about the recipe:

  • I used two 9×5″ loaf pans, so my loaves ended up a little flat. If you have 4×8″ pans, use those.
  • The plain bread can be made plain, or you can add chopped nuts or chocolate chips. It’s yummy both ways.
  • I like to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top the loaf before baking. It gives a nice crunch.
  • Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Hey, this bread might take some work, but it’s so worth it.

Amish Friendship Bread and starter recipe

Plus, any bread you can share with friends is the best bread. Until they run screaming from you begging for no more starter. 😉

5 from 3 votes

Amish Friendship Bread + Starter

Grow some Amish Friendship Bread Starter and then make the most delicious bread with it! The bread is yeasted but tastes like a quick bread! Then share a cup of starter with a friend, so they can enjoy it too.
Servings 2 loaves + 3 cups starter
Author Dorothy Kern



  • 1 package 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water 110°F
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk I used non-fat

Feedings (2)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 2 cups milk divided (non-fat okay)

For the Bread:

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon divided
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup starter
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup + 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped nuts


Day 1:

  1. Make your starter: Stir yeast into warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk sugar and flour in a 2 Qt container (or I've heard you can use a ziploc bag, but we always used a bowl). Whisk in milk. Be sure to stir the corners - the flour will get clumpy and stuck if you’re not careful.
  3. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Cover loosely and store on the counter.

Days 2-4 :Stir the mixture once per day.

    Day 5:

    1. Feed the mixture: Stir 1 cup each sugar, flour, and milk into the starter. Cover loosely and store on the counter.

    Days 6-9: Stir the mixture once per day.

      Day 10:

      1. Feed the mixture: Stir 1 cup each sugar, flour, and milk into the starter. Cover loosely and store on the counter.
      2. Remove 1 cup of starter to use in the Amish Friendship Bread Recipe (see directions below). Remove 2 cups of starter and give 1 cup each to two friends, with the recipe below attached.
      3. There will be 1 cup of remaining starter. You can give this to a third friend, or you can seal and freeze this 1 cup to use in the future. Or continue the cycle of friendship bread. Since you have your starter, cover loosely and store at room temperature. Start with “Day 2” directions above tomorrow (day 11) and keep it going.

      Friendship Bread Recipe:

      1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease two 4x8” or 9x5” loaf pans with butter or shortening. Sprinkle a bit of sugar in the pan and “sugar” it (like you would flour a pan). Alternately, spay with cooking spray, but do not sugar the pans if using cooking spray. (Note: you could make one large loaf with this but it will take longer to bake and you run the risk of a dark outside and a partially baked inside.)
      2. Whisk baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and flour in a medium bowl. Set aside.
      3. Stir starter, oil, and 1 cup sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time, then stir in vanilla. Gently fold in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips or nuts, if using.
      4. Divide batter between two loaf pans. Mix remaining 4 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of loaves.
      5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.

      Other bread you might like:

      Mom’s Banana Bread

      Banana Bread (7 of 7)w

      Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bread

      Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread (2 of 4)

      Chocolate Swirl Zucchini Bread

      Chocolate-Swirl-Zucchini-Bread (3 of 5)

      Sweets from friends:
      Amish Peanut Butter Pie by Nutmeg Nanny
      Amish Breakfast Casserole by CenterCutCook
      Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread by Something Swanky

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      1. Pingback: Week 38… | Cookingdom

      2. A couple weeks ago I happen to think about Amish Friendship Bread and found this starter. After it was ready I made a Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake. It didn’t last long. It was wonderful. Made the Amish sourdough bread but it was heavy. Guess I didn’t let it rise long enough. Will try again or look for another recipe to try it. Love the taste though. Thanks for the post Dorothy.

      3. I love everything about this! I’m so glad you shared it!

      4. Thank you for putting this out there. It’s been a long time but I think it is time to try it again!

      5. I am so glad to have found this recipe. I am one of “the 80’s” gals who made this friendship bread. Everyone loved it. Am so happy to have found the recipe to make my own starter and start it up again, now that I’m retired, I have more time to bake. Thank you. 🙂

      6. yay! the starter recipe!!!! I hadn’t heard of Amish Friendship Bread until Michael and I got together. His mom makes it and it’s a total fave. We love it so much that when we moved to NY his mom gave us a starter so we could make it! And now we have a starter recipe! huzzah!

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      8. I hadn’t had Amish friendship bread until this past winter when a friend gave me a half a loaf and the starter. Ohmygosh it was SO good!! I meant to baby-sit the starter so I could post a recipe on the blog, but… I totally forgot. And it went bad. Whoops! 😉 Totally love the top of yours!

      9. I made this bread twice and both times it baked quickly on the outside but was raw in the middle. i made the bread a second time this morning and the same thing happened, it fell.  i dont know what to do about this. do you have any tips?

        • What pan size are you using? I used two 9×5 pans so the bread was shorter, but you could also use 4×8 loaves. I often have trouble making one loaf (that same sort of thing happens). Also, possibly check your oven temperature. It’s possible your oven bakes hotter than others, so you may need to reduce the oven temp!

      10. I can’t wait to try this. I have never made starter before, so I have two questions.
        1. Is the day I make the starter day 1? Or would that be considered day 0?
        2. I also want to make Herman the German bread/cake. Can I use the same starter to make both Herman the German and Amish Friendship Bread? They both seem sweeter than normal sourdough starter.

        • So, I just reread and saw that making it is day 1. (Maybe I’ll wake up soon!) But I was confused about day 10. Do you feed it and then separate it or separate it and then feed one portion? Also, can a plastic bowl be used to store it (like a Rubbermaid container)?

          • I stored it in a rubbermaid container. You can also use a plastic bag. On day 10 you have 4 cups of mix. 1 cup goes into your bread recipe and you can give away the other 3, or keep 1 and give away 2. If you keep one, it’s considered Day 1 (but you don’t add anything to it, since you do that before you divide the batter).

          • Thanks Dorothy. I think that’s what I was the most confused about – if I feed the starter and then divide or divide then feed. 🙂

      11. When you run out of friends, you can still keep it going indefinitely just for yourself. On feeding days, only add 1/2 cup of everything; at the end of the cycle you end up with just enough starter to keep one cup for the next batch and bake with the rest. Amish Friendless Bread!

      12. Dorothy, I forgot to come back and let you know we made this bread about a few weeks ago and it turned out perfectly. Just like I remembered my mom baking… I did throw the rest of the starter away though because when I would mention it to my friends, they would avert their eyes and avoid me. Delicious bread and will be making it again!

      13. Someone gave me a starter in 1996 and I have been making Amish friendship bread every since. I make a chocolate one by using 1 1/2 cups of flour and  1/2 cup of baking cocoa instead of the 2 cups of flour. I still use the cinnamon. I’ve used coffee extract or peppermint extract instead of the vanilla.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with it. 

      14. Can I bake 3 loads out of the 4 cups and keep 1 as a starter for next time?

      15. When you take the 1 cup that I put in freezer, when taking it out, what is the next step. What do I add to it.

      16. I have made this several times. But now I have a child that is allergic to milk. Is this something that you can use soy milk with or shall I hog it all for myself? If you can use soy milk is it something that measures differently like when you make instant pudding and you use less soy milk?

      17. I’ve been making this for years. At first I didn’t know what to do with all the starter I would just make it all up in loans and give away until people said enough. Then I looked and found how to make starter and know now you can freeze the starter. I put in 1 cup containers and just take out and let sit in refrigerator for 3 hours, then make the bread. Works great.

      18. The starter freezes well. I have made this, but I use small pans and pu it it in gift baskets that I give at Christmastime. It is delicious bread. 

      19. I absolutely love this recipe!  Made it ever year starting at Thanksgiving till Christmas!  Made wonderful teacher & friend gifts!  Couldn’t find recipe…well one that showed me the starter,do Thank you!!

      20. Wondering if there is a low carb/sugar free version of this my husband is diabetic and should not have it.

      21. Should milk be at room temp or can it be used cold?

      22. If I wanted to freeze the leftover starter to begin at another time, what would the process be after I get it out of the freezer? Do I just take the starter out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter for day one?

      23. I was given a 1 cup starter years ago and have some in the freezer. My dog chewed up the recipe. Where should I start with the recipe? Do I add more yeast? I don’t remember ever doing that. It has been years since I used the starter. Should I just start over.


      24. If you freeze the dough, How do you defrost it so you can make bread.? Looks much easier than the recipe I have can’t wait to make it.

      25. Absolutely love this bread and always give starters to family and friends.

      26. Thank you! I was born in 89. However! Sometime in the late 90s to early 00s my mom got her hands on this stuff! A friend of hers gave her a ziplock bag and we made it for years. 

        Eventually we grew tired of it (like you do with this bread) and I couldn’t find a recipe online for it but had a serious hankering for it.

        So thank you so much! I will be making this as soon as possible.

      27. Pingback: Quilted Kitchen: Friendship Quilt Block & Amish Friendship Bread Recipe – Quilt Therapy

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