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. I just put a bag of starter in the freezer on Day 10… instead of feeding and breaking the into four 1-cup portions. Can I take the bag out of the freezer on a later day, feed, then break into the four 1-cup portions? Please advise. Thank you!

  2. Hi I received the started friday and I did not know what to do with it because I did not get the steps to follow, so I refrigerated the batter. So is it going to work? Or is it ruin? And I should I start as friday day 1 or today that I received the steps?


  3. Hi Julie,
    I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner, for some reason, I’m not getting email notifications anymore when people comment at the site. So I hope you just plunged in and started as if it was day 1. It should be okay. Refrigerating it for just a couple of days, shouldn’t have stalled it out. Maybe you can report back here with the results?
    Hope this wasn’t too late to help,

  4. Question: After breaking into four one cup portions, can I freeze the portions and for how long???

    Thank you for your help and it’s a great cake.

  5. Hi Osiris,
    Yes, you can freeze the portions…I’ve heard that some people freeze them for up to a year, but other say no more than 6 months. I’ve never frozen it for long. When you are ready to pick back up with making AFB, just thaw them completely and go from there. :O)


  6. Mary I forgot to check the box that say to notify me of followup via e-mail. Thanks for your help. gloria

  7. Can you make new starter from a thawed starter or can the thawed starter only be used to bake a friendship bread right away?

  8. Hi there Gloria and Joan,
    First, Gloria, I apologize that I didn’t see this comment sooner. We’ve had a few busy days here, and not much time online. Are you 4 days behind on feeding/baking the starter? And have you been squishing it every day? If so, I think you’re okay to go ahead and bake. Smell the starter and if it doesn’t look right or is slightly orange or pink, throw it out and start over. Hope it works out for you!

    Joan, thawed starter can be used for either…just treat it as if you are picking right back up where you stopped when you froze it. :O)

    Hope this helps,

  9. Hi Mary….how do you store the baked loaves as in an air tight container or in the fridge in saran wrap?

  10. Hi Tina,
    They do best in the fridge, either wrapped in saran or in an airtight container. If your loaves disappear w/in hours after baking…then room temp doesn’t hurt anything either. ;O)

  11. You know, Michelle, I’ve had people ask this before. I’m not sure. I might have to search that out, and if I find anything, I’ll post about it! :O)

  12. I understand that intially I can’t stir with metal or use metal bowl, but when I get to day 10, after removing 3 cups of starter for friends, is it then ok to use beaters to mix all ingredients together? Mixture is very lumpy……And is that starter that I’ve put in seperate ziploc bags on day 1 immediately or does day 1 start the following day?

  13. Yes, Athena, when you are mixing it all up into your bread, at that point it’s fine to use metal beaters, etc. Day 1 for the brand new starter bags begins the next day…Day 10 you fed them, and then the cycle begins anew the next day!

    Hope this helps!

  14. Hi Bess,
    No…it’s different, more for sweet bread. There is a different recipe for sourdough on this site though, if you wanted to start from scratch. I’m assuming you already have AFB starter and want to switch gears?

  15. Hi!

    I was given a Herman starter today (Wednesday). I am to be bringing morning tea on Day 9 (Thursday). Would it work to bake it then (instead of Day 10)?


  16. Hi Irene, I’m not the one to ask on the Herman starter…having never tried it. Maybe someone else will chime in and answer your questions…


  17. can I make the 10 day recipe in 7 days? I’ve made this before doing the 10 day cycle, but I forgot to start it for thanksgiving and wondered if 7 days will yield the same results?

  18. I did not bake my bread right after the 10 days its still sitting out. Is it still ok to bake it and eat it.

  19. Hi Tracey and Freida, I’m sorry I didn’t get you answered before now…this week’s been a whirlwind of getting ready for Thanksgiving and company coming! I’m sure you’ve decided to plunge in by now and either bake your bread or toss the starter. Tracey…I’ve only gone over the 10 days in baking, not under, but I do know that going a day or two early doesn’t hurt it…3 days might be pushing it a bit? It’s anyone’s guess till you guinea pig it and let us know! Freida, it’s fine to go a couple days past the 10 days, as long as you squish it, etc.

    Again, I’m sorry I am replying so late, probably too late for your situations.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  20. I had some starter I froze on day one. I thawed it and got all the way to day six before I realized I didn’t have everything I needed to keep going, so I put it back in the freezer. Will it thaw ok a second time?

  21. Hi Katryna, I’m not sure. I’ve never refrozen. I’d go ahead and try it though, just thawing and starting in at day 6 where you left off. You might let us know if it turned out or not?

    Hope it works out for you!

  22. I tried browsing the comments for my question, but there’s so many. I apologize if you’ve gotten this one already.

    I was working on an amish bread starter that I got from someone else. Due to business, I let the starter ferment for three days longer than the recipe said to. The last time I smelled it, it smelled like sourdough. Today, it literally smells like wine. Is the starter ruined? Or will it still work and taste good?

    Also- this is my first time with a starter. I used a metal spoon with it today…did I ruin it anyway?

  23. Hi Jaclyn!
    Hmm. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a starter has gone bad. It definitely is supposed to smell fermented, but if you’ve not done very many, you wouldn’t know which kind of fermented it smells like, fermented -good, or fermented-bad. KWIM? Sometimes you can go by the color…if it is a pink or orange, it’s not good, throw it out. To be safe, I’d get rid of it, and ask for another starter. More than likely, your friend has plenty to spare, or knows someone who needs to find takers. :O) Yours has two things against it…the metal spoon, and the strong smell from sitting without being squished. Typically, it can go one or so days without being messed with, but it’s not ideal.

    Hope this helps!

  24. Hi, have been given a starter today by my mother.

    Have just been reading another thread which has the following comment:-

    Recipes that call for milk, cream or eggs in the starter will support the growth of some modern day bacteria. Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and staphylococcus areus like to grow in dairy products left at room temperature for hours. The modern day version is also refrigerated after 72 hours as an added safety feature.

    I am now a little confused as my instruction say this will kill Herman!

    Fridge or no fridge? That’s the question! Would love to read your comments.

  25. Hi Kerry. You know, I find your comment very thought provoking. Our family switched from store milk to raw milk 2+ years ago, because we’re convinced pasteurized/homogenized milk is dangerous to drink. I have never thought about it in terms of Amish Friendship Bread before now. Duh. Store milk is full of dead bacteria, b/c pasteurization kills ALL bacteria, good and bad, but it doesn’t remove it. So there are no good bacteria or enzymes in it to grow and overtake the bad. I can see why “modern” day bacteria might thrive if left on the counter for several days. If it makes you feel better, I made plenty of AFB with store milk for years and we never got sick eating it. But it does give me pause…and make me more thankful for yet another reason to go raw! ;O)

    You can try it in the fridge, and see if it works. Would love to hear the results, if you wouldn’t mind stopping back by.


  26. I am left with much more starter because the recipe math does not work out, I am left with much more than it says I should have. I feel like I am doing math from the movie “Clue”.

  27. I put a starter in the freezer for me to use at a later date and then took out and left on counter. I thought I first heard it had to sit out for 10 days before you start doing anything but I have only heard just now online that you start doing the process after it is thawed. Seeing I am on day 8 without doing anything (adding or mushing), it probably isn’t any good now?

  28. Hi, My bread will be ready for baking on the 19th. Will it be safe to leave it on the counter and continue to squish it for baking on the 23rd or the 24th?

  29. Hi Natasha, I would guess it’s probably safer to pitch it after 8 days. Bummer. Hopefully you have more in the freezer?

    Jamie, I’ve only gone a couple days over the 10 day cycle with my AFB, and it’s always been fine. So beyond the 21st…it might be iffy. Can you bake it on the 19th and freeze it to pull back out fresh on the 24th?

    Sorry I’m not the bearer of good news for you ladies today!


  30. I’ve had my starter for about three months and until today, everything was fine. This is baking day and when I added the flour, sugar and milk to the starter before separating it into 1 cup portions, I mistakenly used a metal spoon. After a moment, I realized what I had done, removed the spoon, and finished combining it properly, without a metal spoon. Have I ruined the starter that I saved?

  31. I am going to freeze the starter for AMB for the first time. For those of you who have done it all ready, how did it turn out?
    Thanks ~ Kristin

  32. Speaking for myself, Kristin, it turns out great after freezing, and many others have said the same. So you should be good to go!

    Ruth, I’m not sure what to tell you. I know using metal is a no-no with AFB, but it’s been years since I researched “why exactly”! I just never use metal, so haven’t had a problem. If I were you, I’d google it till I found the answer. You might get some tips on what to look for to see if your starter is ruined. Things like color and smell.

  33. I have the Amish Friendship Starter and would like to make a 9×13 cake with it. What recipe(s) would you suggest and how long do I bake the cake? Do I have to use a glass cake pan? Thank you.

  34. Hello again Colleen! It’s a great idea to use the AFB batter to make a cake. I’m sure any of the recipe additions mentioned here or at the FAQs and Recipe Additions for Amish Friendship Bread post found elsewhere at this site would work nicely. A glass cake pan is not necessary, and baking times would vary. I would begin checking the cake at 25-30 minutes, and then at 5 minute intervals till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Hope this helps!

  35. I used Splenda instead of sugar in my starter and after reading your notes added one cup of sugar after two days. Have I messed up the recipe? Will I have bread out of this confusion? I thought Splenda could be used instead of sugar. Thank you for your help.

  36. What happens if you used self-rising flour on the Day 7 instead of all-purpose? And will it affect the starters for the friends that I gave it to?

  37. Angela, go ahead and add ingredients if it’s only been a day or two. Should be okay!
    Heather, I’ve never used self-rising flour on this…so my best advice is to google it and see what others have to say? Sorry I’m not more help!
    Joan, so you read at the FAQs post for AFB, that the yeast will not recognize Splenda as sugar, right? I’m not sure if the Splenda being in there will affect the outcome now that you’ve added sugar…my guess is that not adding sugar in the beginning is what will cause problems. Wish I could speak from experience and tell you it will be okay!

  38. Heather, I’ve never used self-rising flour on this…so my best advice is to google it and see what others have to say? Sorry I’m not more help!
    Joan, so you read at the FAQs post for AFB, that the yeast will not recognize Splenda as sugar, right? I’m not sure if the Splenda being in there will affect the outcome now that you’ve added sugar…my guess is that not adding sugar in the beginning is what will cause problems. Wish I could speak from experience and tell you it will be okay!

  39. So glad that I found this site, and that you are still patiently answering questions. I read in the comments that the batter, after having been separated into give away batches and frozen, can be thawed and baked the same day. My questions are, 1)once thawed, do you start from day 10 in the recipe adding those day 10 ingredients and then bake? 2)Do I still have to separate the batter into give away bags? 3)Is there a recipe to make enough batter for 1-2 loaves of bread without having give away batter left over? Thanks in advance for your help.

  40. Hi Carlotta,
    Yes, I’m still here! I never dreamed the Amish Friendship Bread post would draw so many comments, especially so many years later! I love its ability to be frozen, then thawed and reused! B/c sometimes we just need a break from the stuff! It’s demanding! ;O) My answers to your Q’s are as follows: 1) Once thawed, you start from whatever day you froze it…if day 10, then start in right there. And in fact, that’s my best recommendation…to freeze it at one of the big feeding days. But others have reported that it doesn’t matter which day in the process, as long as you make a note on the bag for future reference. 2) It’s up to you. Personally, I would separate the batter and give it away fresh–most people would probably rather get theirs with the option to jump right in, rather than receiving a frozen bag, but then again, maybe they’d prefer it frozen! 3) Check out my post on Easier Amish Friendship Bread It is a recipe for a more manageable family friendly version that after separated for baking, leaves you with enough to make more, or still the option to give away a cup or more to friends of the starter.
    Hope this is helpful!

  41. Hello- I have some start thats been in the freezer for a couple of years. Is it still good or have I lost it? Thanks for your help -Anita

  42. Hi Anita,
    I’m not sure! My first inclination is that you’d be better off starting over. 2 years is a long time for anything in the freezer. One gal wrote in a while ago and said she leaves hers in for a year at a time w/no problems…baking it up for the holidays. But you could always give it a go and hope for the best. If you do, and it works, could you come back and let us know?

  43. Hello, Mary! This time I saved your blog in my favorites so I wouldn’t lose it. I haven’t been on in a looong time but I wanted to post about my latest AFB news. Now, 2 more kids later (for a total of four…we finally got our girl..haha!), I am back at making the Amish friendship bread. I have been making loaves with the same starter from back in February 2007!! So it does freeze very well! I’ve had my latest starter in the freezer for over a year and a half and it still did GREAT when I thawed it out! Here’s a great variation to try if you like chocolate cherry….use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla, add 3 tbs. of cocoa powder, add 1/2 cup more milk and one can of cherry pie filling (rinsed and patted dry) or one can of cherries in water (drained). We like the way the cherries are in the cherry pie filling so I just use those but the cherries in water do fine, too! Soooo yummy!!! I loved reading all of the new posts!

  44. Hi Maria! Congrats on your two new babies and THANK you for sharing your success with AFB in the freezer for 1.5 years! Wow. That is by far the longest we have had reported, here, and I’m sure Anita (if she checks back here) will be glad to hear it too, since she just asked!

    Your chocolate cherry AFB sounds delectable! Will have to sic my 14 year old baker on it! ;O)

    Nice to see you here again!

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