Amish Friendship Bread

4.8 from 10 votes
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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. 😉

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.
4.8 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Starter Time 10 days
Total Time 10 days 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 16 servings
Serving Size 1 slice

Ingredients

Starter

  • 1 package active dry yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup warm water 110°F
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (nonfat, regular or 2%)

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
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup starter
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Nuts, chocolate chips, or cinnamon sugar optional (see note)

Instructions

  • NOTE: Do not use metal utensils, spoons, or bowls. Do not refrigerate starter.

Day 1: Make your starter

  • Make your starter: Stir yeast into warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Stir sugar and flour in a large bowl. Stir in milk until mixture is smooth.
  • Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Cover loosely and store on the counter.
  • Optional: place mixture in a gallon size ziploc bag and seal, releasing all the air. Store on counter.

Days 2-4

  • Stir the mixture once per day, or mash the bag if you're using a bag.

Day 5: Feeding #1

  • Feed the mixture: Stir 1 cup each sugar, flour, and milk into the starter. Cover loosely and store on the counter. (If your mixture is in a bag, just add the ingredients to the bag and mash until they are incorporated.)

Days 6-9

  • Stir the mixture once per day, or mash the bag if you're using a bag.

Day 10: Feeding #2/Baking/Gifting

  • Feed the mixture: Stir 1 cup each sugar, flour, and milk into the starter. Cover loosely and store on the counter. (If your mixture is in a bag, just add the ingredients to the bag and mash until they are incorporated.)
  • Reserve 1 cup of starter to continue growing on your counter. Consider today (Day 10) to be Day 1, and repeat these instructions starting with Day 2 tomorrow.
  • Remove 1 cup of starter to use in the Amish Friendship Bread Recipe (see directions below).
  • For gifting: Measure out 1 cup of remaining starter and place in a new gallon size ziploc bag (or bowl for gifting). Repeat with a second 1 cup starter. You may have an additional 1 cup of starter, which you can place in a third bag to give OR you can make a second batch of the bread (recipe below). You can also freeze this 1 cup of starter to use in the future (freeze in a gallon size bag).

Friendship Bread Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease pan(s) with butter or shortening or spray with nonstick baking spray (the cooking spray that comes with flour in it).
  • Stir baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flour in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • 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 (see note).
  • Place batter in pan(s). Optionally, you can sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (see note).
  • Bake according to your pan size below, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.
  • Pan sizes:
    Two 4x8-inch or two 9x5-inch loaf pans: 40-50 minutes
    One 10.5x16-inch loaf pan: 50-60 minutes

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Pan Sizes:

  • Check your pan sizes. If your loaf pans are 4x8-inch or 9x5-inch, make two loaves. If your loaf pan is 10.5x16-inches, you can make one loaf.
  • You can also use ONE 9-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan instead of the loaf pans.

Optional Fillings/Toppings:

  • Add 1 cup chocolate chips or nuts to the batter.
  • If you're making two loaves, you can divide the batter in half and use ½ cup of either chocolate chips or nuts per loaf.
  • I love topping the loaves with a mixture of cinnamon sugar before baking (1 tablespoon granulated sugar + ½ teaspoon cinnamon)
For a printable resource to give out with your bread, click here.
To use instant yeast: use as directed, but heat the water to 120-130 to start, not 110.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 285mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 539IU | Calcium: 366mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bread, quick bread

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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171 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. So, today is Day 10 for me… I don’t want to bother others with sharing the never ending deliciousness… how do I proceed? Do I just go right to the recipe? Or do I add in the last 1 cup of each and then proceed to recipe? How do I move forward without messing it up?

    1. It means that day 10 is considered day 1, you’ve already fed it, so now go back to the day 2 directions.

      Day 11 is actually day 2.

  2. Hallelujah! This is the best bread and I remember making rounds and rounds of it back in the mid 90s. So glad you posted this recipe! I’ve been thinking about it.

  3. I could only find INSTANT YEAST at the store. Watching your video you mention following alternate instructions if using instant yeast but I do not see alternate instructions. What are the alternate instructions?

  4. I did not know you could freeze the starter. How do you thaw it and what is process/timing to continue the stir/feed cycle from frozen? Can you freeze it at any point in the cycle or do you have to do it on day 1 ?
    Thank you!

    1. When you bring it out of the freezer, treat it as day 1. If you start freezing it at day 5, still treat it as day 1.

  5. About 20 years ago I had an Amish bread starter, but the bread was like your basic white loaf. Any ideas???
    Thanks for any help, Sherry

  6. I love to follow your recipes but today I ‘m terribly excited because I have just realised that this recipe is actually the same as we have here in Alsace (East of France) that is the “Hermann cake or bread” also called “the Friendship cake”!
    This added to the fact that our local language is basically “old German” and that we understand Amish language leaves me quite thoughtful.

    1. I visited Alsace 9 years ago! It’s beautiful and such good foods there! I did a two week trip to Germany and France as part of my Culinary school.

  7. I seem to remember baking enough loaves to gift with the starter to friends. They get to eat your bread and that gives them the incentive to keep the starter going. Maybe it depends on what the weather is like as to how much it “grows” and how much you end up with on day 10.

  8. Why do you use sugar/milk in your starter instead of just water? Every other starter I’ve looked at has a much more frequent feeding schedule. Is it really okay to only feed it twice while on the counter?

  9. So, it’s day 10, I added the last cups of milk, sugar and flour and divided my starter…. I have six cups … why?

    1. No idea, but wanted to let you know the same thing happened to me(5 1/2 cups here)! Sorry I can’t explain it.

      1. I just actually remade the starter, and will be updating the recipe shortly, but I ended up with extra too – I think it all depends on the yeast and how it grows, etc. I ended up with 5 cups, so I just made two recipes, gave two away, and have one still going.

      2. Smells amazing can’t wait to taste it I remembered making this in the 90s. My whole family all had starters going and we got sick of the bread 😂. I started craving it two weeks ago. I couldn’t find the recipe we used but yours seemed like the exact right recipe. Mine made 5 cups. 4 in the freezer and one I mixed up. No one in my family wanted any 😂.

  10. I am excited to try your starter. When I used to make it in the mid 1990’s, you added a pack of Jello pudding and another “add=in” like chocolate chips or nuts. I always loved the butterscotch pudding with chocolate chips… Or chocolate pudding with white chips, or, or… you are making me terribly hungry!