Amish Friendship Bread~all you need to know!

Mmm. Who hasn’t had a loaf of this cinnamon-sugared sweet bread? It’s one of those things that you receive with enthusiasm, and send on its way with equal enthusiasm! The constant “squishing” of baggies full of dough can feel relentless, but the look on my family’s face when they see what’s cooling on the counter…? Worth it every time!

I’ll share the from scratch starter recipe followed by the ten day instruction sheet and recipe for our favorite Amish Friendship Bread. Anything with two boxes of instant vanilla pudding has to be superb, right?(Maybe someone else can explain why it seems so “un-Amish”…I mean, honestly…ziploc baggies and instant pudding? Give me a break!) 🙂

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

(for an Easier/Smaller Batch follow this link)

Always use a wooden spoon for stirring the starter. Never use a metal spoon.

1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

3 cups granulated sugar, divided

3 cups warm milk (110 degrees F), divided

Day 1

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.

In a 2 quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly.

Days 2 through 4

Stir starter with a wooden spoon.

Day 5

Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.

Days 6 through 9

Stir starter with a spoon.

Day 10

Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 or 2 cups to make your first bread, give three cups to friends along with the recipe. Store the remaining starter in a container in the refrigerator and begin the 10 day process over again.

You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Yields 6 cups starter.

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe instructions
(to be given with 1 cup starter in Ziploc bag)

Once again, DO NOT use a metal spoon and DO NOT refrigerate! (Using a metal spoon or bowl or fork will have an acidic reaction with your starter)

Day 1—Do nothing day

Day 2—Squish bag

Day 3—Squish bag

Day 4—Squish bag

Day 5—Squish bag

Day 6—Squish bag

Day 7—Add to bag: 1 ½ cups each: flour, sugar, milk. Squish bag to mix.

Day 8—Squish bag and let air out.

Day 9—Squish bag and let air out.

NOTE: If you don’t let air out, the bag will explode!

Day 10—Empty contents of bag into a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Combine ingredients thoroughly. Pour 1 cup of this mixture into each of 3 sturdy Ziploc gallon size bags and give to friends along with a copy of this instruction sheet.

Add to the remaining mixture and mix well:

  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a separate bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)*.

*Optional: add 1 cup chopped nuts, or ½ cup: raisins, blueberries or chocolate chips.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly. Grease 2 large bread loaf pans well. Mix up some additional cinnamon and sugar and shake into greased loaf pans to coat bottom and sides (this is optional!). Pour mix into pans. Sprinkle extra cinnamon and sugar on top. Bake at 325 degrees F for one hour. If freezing, cool completely beforehand.

*****************EDITED TO ADD******************April 14, 2008******************

Due to the numerous comments this post has generated, I’ve compiled the best of the Q&As and reader suggested recipe variations into another blog post. FAQs and Recipe Additions for Amish Friendship Bread. So check it out, unless you feel like scrolling down hundreds of comments…then, by all means, be my guest! Happy Baking!

493 thoughts on “Amish Friendship Bread~all you need to know!”

  1. Is there a way to make the bread less heavy. I live at a high altitude and the bread is heavy and seems to fall? Thank you for your response.
    Karma Vance

  2. Hi Karma,
    I’m not sure? Maybe someone else will chime in with an answer. It is a heavy bread, even at a more normal altitude, but mine hasn’t ever fallen during baking. Sorry I don’t have an answer!

  3. Karma Vance, Try only half the pan filled for baking.
    Low calorie version: substitute with Splenda for baking. Splenda did not work good in the 10 day fermentation process. You can substitute whole grain for flour, healthy oil varity and do on. Only the starter must be virgin 🙂

  4. Hi Mary- So I asked about the start that was in my freezer for 2 years and I wanted to report back. I am happy to say it worked out fine. The bread baked up just like normal with no problems. Thanks-

  5. my daughter brought me this mix and i have to say i was dubious but nurtured it for the ten days i did not pass it on but instead cooked it all i divided the mixture and made a batch with apple cinnamon raisin and pecan nuts (it was amazing) and a batch with banana and toblerone again delicious well worth the effort so now i have cake in my freexer to last some time until someone brings me another batch

  6. When Day 10 arrives – do I have to add the sugar, flour and milk and split it into 4 bags? Can I bake with what I have on Day 10 without adding the extras? I ask because I have 3 bags in the freezer at Day 9 and don’t want to keep freezing or giving away all the time (running out of people!). I can’t bring myself to add those ingredients, split into 4 bags and then have to throw them away. Thanks in advance for any help!!

  7. Hi Carrie,
    You can bake the entire batch up on day 10, but you do need to add the sugar, flour and milk before baking. No need to save any back. Your friends or co-workers would probably rather eat up that fresh bread than get a starter anyway! Especially if they’ve already been hit up! ;O)

    Hope this helped,

  8. Thanks Mary! So, once I add the sugar, flour and milk, do I have to split it up before adding the rest of the ingredients and then add those ingredients to each one to bake? Or do I add the rest of the ingredients to the “big” batch and then split it up into different pans to bake? I apologize for the questions, but I don’t want to mess it up and have it ruined!! 🙂

  9. No problem on the questions, Carrie, I understand! ;O) Since you would normally be taking 3 cups out of this batch to give away to friends AFTER adding the day 10 ingredients, instead, you will need to measure the total batter (including the supposed 3 cups that you decided not to separate out) and see from that if you need to double or triple your “breadmaking” ingredients. See what I mean? Let’s say you have a total of 6 cups starter when you’ve measured it all, well, that will be simple, just double all your ingredients for the bread you’re going to bake. You can have fun with making different kinds of bread by separating the batter as well. Then just bake it all up and enjoy! Hope this makes sense, let me know if you have further Q’s!

  10. Hi Zoe, this is a fermented bread, so actually, contrary to what common sense tells us about milk going bad unrefrigerated, it’s actually okay for Amish Friendship Bread. :O) At least, no one I know has ever gotten sick from eating it, and refrigerating the batter would mean your starter wouldn’t ferment and do its thing.

  11. When you take your friendship bread from the freezer, does this start day one of the process?

  12. Bobbie–it depends on when you stuck it into your freezer. I always make a note as to which day, and then pick up where you left off. So if you stuck it in after you divided it out, then yes, it would be day 1 of your process. HTHs!!

  13. Hello! The recipe that I have calls to add 1 C Sugar, Flour and Milk on Day 6. Then on Day 10 to add 1 1/2 C of each. I was in a hurry and did not read correctly and added to the start 1 1/2 c Sugar Flour and milk on Day 6 and 10 is this going to change my recipe when I bake?

  14. It’s okay, Amy. You’ll just have more starter than you would have, 1.5 cups more. Make more bread, or freeze it for later. Or give it away to another friend. 🙂 Bake with the amount of starter that is recommended in your recipe, and you’ll be fine.

  15. Hello,

    I have about 20 starter bags in my freezer, can i get one of those out and just add all the ingredients and bake all the bread without having to do the 10 day process and not get anymore starter from it? Need help ASAP with this running out of room in my freezer !!!


  16. Hi April,
    Hmm…depending on what day in the process you froze the starters, you’d likely be okay to do that. :O) You’ll have to check back in and let us know if it works!


  17. I was wondering on the days after the starter has begun does the milk have to be heated (as it did when you started the starter) or is it mixed in with cold milk?

    Thanks a bunch

  18. On day 10, I added the flour, sugar and milk, divided, and instead of passing on to friends, put in freezer. I made bread from what I did not freeze. My question: Can I just add ingredients for making bread to one of the mixture in one of the bags (after thawing) and then bake? If I can, since there is only one cup of the mixture, should I half the ingredients?

  19. Good question. I always wanted to do this, but never did, so by no means do I have a concrete answer for you, but it only makes sense that it would work just fine to thaw it and add fewer ingredients, depending on how much starter the recipe called for in the first place. Let us know how it turns out!

  20. I used a metal wisk to mix then divided my bags into the starters, forgetting not to use metal. How do I know if I have ruined the starts? It has been almost 24 hours and there are very few bubbles. This was my first experience with this and loved it. Hoping I didn’t ruin it! Any advice?

  21. Hi Nancy, my advice is to wait and see. It might be okay. Your whisk was likely a stainless steel one, so it might be okay. I think sticking with plastic and wooden utensils is the best bet, otherwise. It should bubble more, the longer it sits…what you should watch for is the pinkish-orange tint or spoiled smell. Hopefully all will be well!


  22. My question is, once I have baked the bread, how long will it last? I know I can freeze it, but if left out or refrigerated, how long will it hold up?

  23. I am sooo confused. I made the starter tonight. Now do I do the 10 day cycle, then divide it in bags, then do the 10 day cycle again with my bag or can I just go ahead and bake it immediately? The recipe says if you are keeping a starter for yourself you will be baking in 10 days. That means the whole process from making the starter to making the bread is 20 days???

  24. can i freeze the amish friendship bread after i bake it? if so, how long will it last in freezer? will if change to taste?

  25. My apologies Linda, Stacey and Jules…with the holidays and family visiting, I’ve sorely neglected the blog. Let’s see about answering your Q’s, though you have probably learned by trial and error by now. Linda, my rule of thumb for AFB’s storage once baked, is even refrigerated, it should be eaten within 5-6 days. Keep an eye out for “fuzz” (ie: mold) if you want to go longer. Stacey, I’m sorry for the confusion…if you made the starter, then you are to commence with the ten day cycle, ending with baking and beginning another ten day cycle with the starter you saved out. Jules, definitely, you can freeze the bread after baking. If you double bag it in freezer bags, it should last 4-6 months easily.

    Hope these answered your questions! Happy New Year’s!

  26. Yesterday was my day 10 and I didn’t add my ingredients like I should have, I didn’t even “mush” my bag. It has just been so hectic with the holidays and we’ve had so many sweets going around, I’m honestly just ready for a break from all of this!
    I have 2 questions: #1) am I too late to proceed as if it were day 10 and/or #2) can I put in freezer today and then down the road take it out and act like it is day 10? I am so hoping you come back and tell me #2 is okay. ;0)

  27. Hi Phyllis,
    You should be okay with thawing it and going forward where you left off once you do. I understand the hectic pace of the last weeks…we’re just now recovering as well! ;O) Did you mush your bag at all? That’s my only concern. It’s okay to miss a day, but as far as guaranteeing the results if you forgot about it on the counter all week…that’s pretty iffy!

    Hope it works well for you!

  28. On day 10, I want to only end up with one starter to use again and one recipe to make now. I’ve run out of people to pass on to! Have a procedure? I could calculate it, but thought it would be easier if you already have the plan. thanks so much!

  29. Hi. I made up a batch of sour dough starter, but didn’t discover till too late, that I had put the whole 3 cups of sugar, flour and milk in the batch. I had to separate it into two containers as the starter was working very well. How can I rectify my problem without throwing it all out and starting again? I have been making the bread for years and everyone enjoys it. It makes a great Christmas gift with all the nuts, raisins, chopped apricots and all the other goodies I love to put in it. I am not happy about throwing out 3 cups of King Arthur flour. Thank you for your help.

  30. Hello, my mixture is making way too much air. What I mean is I need to open to let air out multiple times a day for about a week now. I started my mixture a few months ago and have shared and made many delicious breads and waffles with it. Should I throw this batch away and start over or is okay to use still? Thanks!
    Happy baking <3

  31. Hi Cookie, my first thought is that now that we’re seeing warmer weather and temps in the kitchen, the starter is bound to be more bubbly and active. Do you think that is all it is? I wouldn’t be concerned unless the smell is off, or the color changes. Hope this helps! –Mary

  32. Hi, Mary! It’s been about 4 years since I have been on here and my oldest, who is now 12, asked about “that bread we used to squish in the bag,” the other day. I pulled out one of my starters that has been in the freezer for 4 YEARS and it worked perfectly!! So for all of those who are wondering, you can freeze this starter for a looong time if you need to! Hope things are well!!

  33. I have oodles of starters in my freezer!! I want to make the whole starter, but unsure as to what ratio to use as far as the recipe. X’s2,4???

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