FAQs and Recipe Additions for Amish Friendship Bread

No one has time to browse the 273 comments at my original Amish Friendship Bread post to find answers to their questions, so in an effort to put all my Amish Friendship info into one place, I spent some time yesterday copying and pasting all the best of it into this post. Read on for tantalizingly great recipe additions and helpful feedback, all from the best AFB bakers out there: my readers!

First, answers to the most commonly asked questions. Yes, you can most certainly…

  • use non-fat milk or powdered milk
  • use raw milk, just scald it slightly beforehand to inactivate some of the enzymes (thanks, Sharon!)
  • use water instead of milk (thanks, Sharon!)
  • substitute applesauce for the oil
  • use 2 or 3 eggs per batch, your bread will turn out fine, just a different consistency
  • use one large box of pudding OR two small boxes or no pudding at all, it doesn’t matter
  • use fast-rising yeast–it will not affect the outcome
  • use self-rising flour–it will not affect your outcome
  • use whole wheat flour (thanks, Sharon!)
  • no, you can’t use Splenda. Splenda is not sugar. Yeast won’t recognize it as food. Use sugar for the starter, it’s okay. Like Kombucha, the yeast eats the sugar. (thanks, Sharon!)
  • freeze your starter for up to a year (just note which day you were on when you left off, and pick it up at that same point once thawed)
  • thaw frozen starter at room temp for three hours before carrying on with recipe
  • skip a day of squishing with no problems
  • forget to add ingredients or bake EXACTLY on schedule, a day or two off won’t hurt this recipe
  • bake it in a 9×13″ pan for 35 minutes
  • bake it in a Bundt pan, not sure for this one on baking times so just watch it and use the toothpick test
  • bake it as muffins
  • bake ALL your starter by simply dividing it equally between 4 bowls then add your ingredients. Each bowl should make 1-2 loaves. Give away the baked bread and good-bye starter!

Reader’s favorite recipe additions/combos:

  • White chocolate sugar-free pudding (two small pkgs) with half a bag of white chocolate chips and a cup of dried cranberries
  • Sugar-free cheesecake pudding and butterscotch chips
  • Lemon pudding with poppyseeds, substituting lemon flavoring for vanilla (minus cinnamon-sugar topping)
  • Banana pudding, mashed banana and nuts
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 cup chopped apples, and 1 cup chopped walnuts (2 loaves worth)
  • Chocolate pudding and 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Butterscotch pudding and 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • Pistachio with walnut (turns out a lovely green color!)
  • Pistachio with Marachino cherries
  • Cheesecake pudding with cranberry and walnut
  • Dried apricots, cherry craisins, and chopped almonds
  • Grated carrots, sunflower seeds, and additional spices
  • Lemon pudding with either raspberries or white chocolate chips (Lemon w/choc. chips tastes like Vanilla Wafers)
  • Blueberries with Cheesecake pudding
  • Pumpkin-spice–half a cup pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1/4-1/2 cup grated carrots or raisins
  • Savory Amish Friendship Bread – Omit cinnamon and sugar, add about 1 cup cheddar cheese and 3/4 pkg pepperoni, 1/2 flour and 1/2 cornmeal. 1 cup fresh corn. Serve with tomato sauce.
  • Make one with half the sugar and add lots of savory herbs, some ground beef and a taco seasoning mix instead of pudding. Great with spaghetti sauce.

Regular or Belgian Waffle recipe (from Erika)

  • 2 cups Starter
  • about 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. sugar (or less if you prefer less sweet)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Combine starter with enough flour for your preferred consistency. Add oil, eggs. sugar, salt and baking soda to the starter. Mix thoroughly with wooden or plastic spoon. Let the mixture rest for a little bit, maybe 10 minutes. Cook in your waffle iron. Serve with Syrup. Makes six fluffy Belgian waffles.

Website with recipes for cookies, biscuits, pancakes etc, all using Amish Friendship Bread starter

Mary’s original Amish Friendship Bread starter recipe (with all 273 comments)

Mary’s Easier Amish Friendship Bread recipe

Doesn’t it just make you want to get in on the fun? I’m on Day 6, and have BIG plans for my baking day! Please share your tips/recipe faves in comments!

118 thoughts on “FAQs and Recipe Additions for Amish Friendship Bread”

  1. I’m SO glad you posted this Mary! Yesterday and today I have felt a bit better so I’m hoping that I am at the end of this morning sickness. Anyways I have felt well enough to cook dinner both nights (with meat…something that has not happened in a long time since the raw meat made me nauseous) and I can’t wait to try some of these ideas out! I will have to start a batch this week! Thank you!

  2. Woo-hoo, I am SO glad to hear you are on the good side of morning sickness, it’s been a rough couple of months, huh!

    I had a good friend and mom of 6 call this morning and ask to come have lunch and spend the day, so I went ahead and baked up all but two cups of my AFB starter for us to have as a mid-afternoon treat. It made the equivalent of 4 loaves, though I did two of them in a 9×13″ dish…turned out yummy! Two of the loaves we did the White Chocolate/Cherry (using dried cherries) and the other two we did in the dish using dried blueberries and the cheesecake pudding mix. They were both yummy! And I gave one cup of starter away to my friend and have one left for next week’s baking!

  3. I just read your new post and sounds like you all had a wonderful day! Sounds gorgeous out there. The last few days here have been nice (the snow is melting and in the center of our yard we can actually see the grass!) so we have taken LO outside and he just LOVED it. But today was rainy and overcast.

    I love the idea of using the start for waffles. Now on Sunday morning when I am craving waffles they are half done for me!

  4. That sounds so yummy! I have always wanted to make friendship bread, but was too intimidated. But after reading this, I think I should attempt to make it!

    Thanks for taking the time to compile all of this!

    Julie’s last blog post..I would think so

  5. I know, Geri, I’m craving waffles suddenly! Might have to try that on my next AFB baking day…

    Yes, Julie, you should try it, it’s so simple! The only intimidating thing is trying to remember which day to bake, and even that isn’t that big of a deal, to bake a day or two early or late won’t hurt anything. :)

  6. I got a starter kit, I followed all the directions. When it came to the 10th day, I forgot to bake it. I am 3 days late, is it too late? Do i have to start a new kit. If not, when i bake it and add the other ingeridients and separate them, is that consider day one, or three? Help!!!

  7. Hi Mia,
    I’m sorry it took me so long to see your comment in moderation…all first time posters go in the queue, and my online time lately has been hectic and in a hurry!

    I hope you went ahead and baked it, it wouldn’t have mattered…I think I covered that in the above post, I should have! Going three days over isn’t too big of a deal, especially if you continued the squishing of the bag. If it smells “off” or is a pink or orange color, then toss it. When you add the day 10 ingredients and separate and bake, those new starter kits are day 1.

    Hths, and again, I apologize!

    Mary

  8. Hello Mary,

    I was so happy to find your site. I teach American cooking to Japanese people living here in the States. many of my students return to Japan. I would like to give them a recipe for the Amish bread that does not use the instant pudding. Is there something else? preferably something more natural. Thank you so much!

  9. Hi Krista,

    Glad you found us here! What a fun job you have…and the answer to your Q is that the instant pudding can be omitted without affecting the outcome. I’ve never left it out, but have had others vouch that it works. Some of the puddings I’ve added haven’t seemed to add much flavor, so who knows, it might be highly overrated! 😉

    If you come up with a more natural alternative, let me know, I’ve wondered the same thing. Definitely add fruits (dried fruits or chopped fine–like apples–or mashed bananas) and substitute applesauce for the oil, things like that. You could probably use extracts for additional flavor, but that’s not natural I guess!

    HTHs, have fun cooking!
    Mary

  10. Hi Mary,

    Thank you for replying. I will try it without the pudding, but add extra vanilla. I’ll let you know how is works.

    Cheers!

    Krista

  11. my daughter baked her bread about midnight and give me a starter i baked it the next night is that alright to do this???thank you

  12. The Amish Friendship Bread is very forgiving. At first I followed directions exactly, but you can’t always be there so I tried leaving it. I have had it on the counter now for about 6 weeks, baking some from time to time, and it’s done fine. Also, I ran out of pudding and tried none and found it adds body and firmness to the bread so it crumbles less.

  13. Sure, Pat! In fact, that’s a good way to use it all right up! I’ve often baked the whole batch up and given away the “done deal” rather than the bags of starter. One day early or late doesn’t affect this batter at all.

    Thanks for chiming in Julie! I’m glad to know the perks of leaving out the pudding. It’s been a while since I’ve omitted it, admittedly, I just like playing around with the flavors too much, I guess! 😉

  14. Hello Mary,
    I found this site from a google search for applesauce afb and just finished skimming all of the 200+ comments and am feeling a bit dazed! : { Was glad to read that the starter can be frozen for quite a while giving me a lot more freedom to have the bread and starter but not have to keep adding and giving away. I use lots of plastic bags for lunch, and hope to not have to wash more!
    One thing I found about the metal utensils point by doing other net searches is that if a metal utensil is used to stir the starter but it is ‘stainless steel’, then nothing will happen to the starter. The ‘stainless’ part makes it react very little which is why is doesn’t rust or anything like that quickly, so using ss for a bowl or mixing won’t hurt anything. …unless you try to store your starter in a ss container, then something might happen! I just automatically reach for a whisk when I am mixing things up, and used one without thinking both times I’ve added to the starter. Can’t wait to try the variations including the pudding-free… since the pudding makes it stick together better, couldn’t an extra egg or two be used instead of the pudding?
    thanks,
    charles

  15. Hi Charles!

    Congratulations for making it through all those hundreds of comments! Lots of info there, huh! I’m always glad to hear how people find my site, so thanks for that tidbit as well!

    You know with egg sizes being available in small, medium or large, or even in “beaters”…I’d bet you’re onto something. Even adding a small egg, or amount of “beaters” couldn’t hurt anything. It would be an interesting experiment. According to Julie, it makes a firmer bread to leave out the pudding, so maybe you wouldn’t need to do anything?

    That’s great to know about the stainless steel! As you could see, that’s probably the most asked question, and I’ve never used metal utensils so my standard answer is basically what I’d searched out on the net.

    So glad you took the time to comment, I appreciate it!

    Happy Baking!
    Mary

  16. This bread is wonderful! But I have one problem, I can’t eat it or even sample it, because there’s so much sugar. Can it be substantially reduced or completely substituted with Splenda? My best friend loves it, too, but is concerned with the amount of sugar. She’s not diabetic either.

  17. Hi Janean,

    Yes, substituting with Splenda makes no difference in the outcome, though Splenda scares me more than sugar, honestly! I haven’t ever tried leaving the sugar out, but there is a natural sweetener that comes in powdered form called Stevia, you might try it. It wouldn’t take near as much though, so the consistency of the bread might be strange. The nice thing, is that with this recipe, you have a lot of starter to experiment with…if you do, please let us know how it turned out!

    Wish I was more help,
    Mary

  18. Hello Janean,
    I’ve made the recipe using only 1/4 cup of sugar added to the final baked ingredients along with unsweetened apple sauce instead of most of the oil, added two very ripe bananas and the result was still fairly sweet. Pudding has sugar of course… the bread was just fine, probably better than any banana bread I’ve had.
    One other thing that you might want to look for and try is a sweetener called xylitol. It is a natural substance made from different plant fibers, can be used and tastes just like sucrose, and I believe it has 40% less calories. If you use a large amount you might have some digestive issues so you need to use a little at a time until your body is adjusted to it. Your dentist may actually have good info on it, or can do a google search. It can’t be used for rising with yeast since the bacteria can’t use it, but then what is good is that the bacteria found in the mouth also can’t use it to grow. I try to stay away from all artificial sweeteners, problem is many now are so strong that they are listed as ‘natural flavor’ in ingredients and you don’t know they are there.
    I don’t want this to be an ad for xylitol, but you can use much less sugar in the bread and it has worked well for me.

  19. Charles, thanks so much for sharing the above–and I’ve heard good things about xylitol, my aunt really recommends it, so it’s good to hear your testimony to it as well!

    This was great info!

  20. I posted this to the main thread earlier as a follow-up to Haley’s comment about making the bread less cake-like.

    But it seems appropriate as a response to Janean’s comment about the sugar content.

    I add no additional sugar to the baking ingredients—I just add the required sugar for feeding the starter. And I also don’t add any pudding mix. I do add an additional cup of flour (3 cups instead of 2) to help make up for the missing volume. Mine AFB comes out with a texture and taste that’s between a not-too-sweet coffee cake and bread. I also cut the oil down to 2/3 cup.

    Robin

  21. Have you ever tried the recipe with stawberry/banana applesauce and diced strawberries and bananas mixed in? I used vanilla pudding still too, my girls ate it with gusto! Also thank you so very much for the starter recipe, I have been looking for one for awhile! My husband sure misses AFB!!

  22. That sounds delicious!! I’ve not tried that combo, but I’ve made strawberry bread before, and it’s wonderful…so the two together would be great!

    Thanks, Shawna! I’m glad the site helped you too!

  23. My family loves Friendship Bread but I ran out of people to give starter to and didn’t want to waste it. So I varied the recipe by only using 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and milk for each feeding (on the 5th and last days). On baking day, I scoop out 1 cup for a new starter. Then use all the remaining and double the recipe to make four loaves.

  24. Hi Deb,
    First, I’m so sorry I didn’t see this comment–normally new comments show up in the “Active Discussions” in the sidebar, and I don’t remember seeing yours! I’ve not used Splenda in the starter, but it’s supposed to be able to be used interchangeably for sugar, so give it a whirl! In the above comment, when I said that Splenda would make no difference in the outcome, I wasn’t thinking about using it in the initial starter…but in the actual quick bread–which contradicts itself if you’re staying completely away from sugar. If you do try it, please let us know how it turned out!

    Thanks!

    Debbie,
    That’s great info! I cut the recipe in half for my Easier AFB, and suspected that I could go even smaller…it is easy to be overwhelmed with all that starter!

    Thanks!!
    Mary

  25. Another tasty variation to this is Chocolate pudding and Andies Mints…..I will enjoy trying some of the ideas listed. Yummy :)

  26. I just added my flour, sugar, and milk in the middle of the 10-day process, and when I opened the bag, it smelled like a strong vinegar? Is this OK???? Thanks, Lisa

  27. Hi Lisa,
    It does have a strong scent, I’ve always thought of it as a “yeasty” smell, but it does kind of resemble vinegar. Is the color okay, or is it tinted with pink or orange in the light? If it is, then toss it. But if it is still a creamy color, it’s probably fine. You could go ahead and add the ingredients and watch it. Don’t forget to burp the bag every so often. Maybe your fermenting process is just really good!

    Hope it works out for you,
    Mary

  28. Any idea how all wheat flour would affect the starter? On day 10 all wheat flour was added to the starters (and the bread which baked fine). I didn’t know if that would affect the fermenting process?
    Janet

  29. That sounds like a delicious recipe that I’m sure my entire family can enjoy over the holiday season. I will let you know how they like it.

  30. Oh Janet, I don’t know how I missed this question of yours…usually I get email notifications, but I didn’t in this case. It’s way too late to answer, but I’ve never tried substituting ww flour in this recipe. So I really don’t have an answer for you! Wish I did. Did you try it?

    Taylor, thanks! I hope you do come back and update! Merry Christmas!

  31. I’ve just found this awesome FAQ after a typical google for AFB. Want to answer the one lady about the Splenda. Splenda is not sugar. Yeast won’t recognize it as food. Use sugar for the starter, it’s ok. Like Kombucha, the yeast eats the sugar.

    Wheat flour is ok to use for the starter as well.

    I put my starter in half gallon jars. Well, after I put it in quart jars. That was funny. The starter grew up and spilled out over the jar. Glad I put the jar in a bowl. Now I have the starters in half gallon jars with sandwich baggies on the top.

    Thanks for all the good ideas and suggestions. I didn’t want to use pudding mixes (try to eat a no chemical diet).

    Sharon
    ===================
    author of First They Came for the Cows – An Activist’s Story about the fight against the takeover of food by the government.
    Click through to my blog for more information and a link to a preview
    Henwhisperer.blogspot.com

    HennyPenny’s last blog post..Honest to God, who is in control in the government?

  32. Sharon!!! You are an angel for sharing this info here…those questions have been asked so many times and I’ve not had a chance to experiment, nor have I wanted to with the Splenda, as we don’t think it’s the safest way to go in sugar substitutes! I’m going to add these tips to the main body of the post…it’s wonderful to know that using WW flour doesn’t affect the outcome! I just found your comment incredibly helpful. THANKS!

    Am anticipating a visit to your henwhisperer blog! I LOVE my chickens! And your book title is right up my alley! I’ve been passing around a DVD called, “The Future of Food” which covers a lot of the crop ground side of that same argument…very sad how insurmountable the whole wall of “seed company patents” has become.

    Thanks again for taking time to comment, I really appreciate it!

  33. Ok, I am actually going to do something with this beast called AFB starter today. It is really funny stuff, isn’t it? I’ve got it in a 1/2 gallon jar and it still manages to find its way up and out of the jar. You could wallpaper with it, too!

    I don’t want to put milk in it either. That is because I buy raw milk and it is hard to get at this time of year. I’m putting water in rather than milk because it will work, just like making sourdough starter, which is what this really is anyway. For anyone else who uses raw milk, be sure to scald it slightly before you use it to inactivate some of the enzymes.

    Now I am going to make some biscuits, but I don’t want to use oil. And, I don’t want to make it “low fat”, so I’m not going to use applesauce. Anyone know the reason they call for oil rather than melted butter? I’m going to try it and I’ll let you know how it works.

    Sharon

    HennyPenny’s last blog post..Honest to God, who is in control in the government?

  34. Update!

    The biscuit recipe turned out pretty well. Very, very sweet. That is the result of the amount of sugar in the starter. I did use melted butter instead of the oil. Worked out fine, just as I suspected it would. The biscuits are nice and moist.

    Made new batches of the starter and used water, rather than milk (see my previous comment). This morning the starter is just a vigorous as it was before, still trying to get away out of its 1/2 gallon jar prison. :-)

    Have fun!

    Sharon

    HennyPenny’s last blog post..Honest to God, who is in control in the government?

  35. I am on my third “cycle” of this bread and I love it! I had given my neighbor a starter and she had done this before. She commented that it didn’t swell up in the bag as others had done so she threw it out. I have to say, none of mine have really blown up in the bag as it says it should but the bread tastes wonderful! It’s dense and very tasty. Is there something wrong with the starter I recieved? It does have bubbles throughout the process but I never have to let much air out of the bag at all.

  36. Wow, Sharon! I’m going to have to try biscuits as well. I need to get another batch of this stuff on the make! Laughed at your comment that it would be great for wallpaper paste! That’s the truth! I wish I could find a source for raw milk…maybe this is the year to really hunt down a local source. I’m experimenting with Kefir currently…and would really like to use raw milk. The best milk I’m coming up with is from Braum’s. Thank you for the update on the biscuits, and for the mini-education in each of your comments! I’m loving it!

    (Btw, I tried to download your first chapter, and must not have Adobe Acrobat capabilities…it wouldn’t work. It could have been the server that day too, I need to go try again!)

    Suzanne, I’ve had bags that didn’t swell much at all, but the starter turned into wonderful bread. I wouldn’t worry about it. I think the weather/temp in the house affects that somewhat as well. I bet Sharon could shed some light on the subject! 😉 If you have bubbles, and are letting even a little bit of air out of the bag, then you’re in business, IMO. It’s when you leave it for three days, forgotten, that you might have an explosion!

  37. Hi there. I am going to check it, since I saw a comment in another site regarding \”and Recipe Additions for Amish Friendship Bread at Home-Steeped Hope\”. Someone related to diabetic chocolate pie. Thanks anyway.

  38. Chocolate Diabetic pie… don’t know how to make that from AFB, but perhaps, as I did for a man I cooked for as his private chef, a ground nut crust, filled with diabetic chocolate pudding. Then no-sugar cool whip on the top. It’s an idea, anyway.

    Back to AFB… the amount it bubbles and rises up is totally dependent on your local environment like humidity, altitude, etc. As long as it is bubbling and smelling good, it is just right.

    Go ahead and move your starter into a glass jar, a half gallon Ball jar works well. I’ve covered the top of mine with a sandwich bag. When it starts to rise up, just give it a shake.

    I have been turning mine in a sourdough and away from the over-sweet AFB. I’ve been adding rye blend from King Arthur’s flour, just one coffee spoonful of sugar every other time, and water, not milk. Made sourdough pancakes yesterday morning, with a nice addition of blueberries we grew here. The starter isn’t sour enough, so I’m going to keep working it.

    What a fun way to while away the winter!

    Check out my book. It got published on Amazon! Very exciting.

    HennyPenny’s last blog post..First They Came for the Cows is available on Amazon.com

  39. Congrats on your book!!! That is very exciting! I’ll pass that along to some friends I know would also be interested in your topic. So much I’m learning about Monsanto and our foods…scary stuff!

    Where do you pick up half gallon jars? Lol. I’d love to have a few. Surely there are ways other than buying pickles in bulk? 😉

    Your sourdough with rye sounds SO good! I need to come hang out with you for a day, I’d learn a ton, I’m sure. Wow. Thanks for sharing here and for the diabetic pie recipe, hopefully Gonzalo subscribed to comments. If you want to send a book review my way, I’d be glad to post it on the blog to spread awareness. Really. Just shoot me an email with the body and book cover picture… Mary[@]homesteepedhope.com (without the brackets)

  40. Hi Mary! I am going to give you a blog award just as soon as I finish my blog post. It is for excellence in blogcasting. You have to pass it on. Congratulations! Go to my blog to collect it.

    Shalom!

    Sharon

  41. This page has been so helpful! Any idea how much starter there would be on day nine? My ziploc bag broke during “squishing” last night and I’d still like to try baking… Just not sure how much flour and sugar and milk to add before dividing the batter. I might just eyeball it and cross my fingers!

  42. Hi Suzanne,
    The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s very forgiving. If you didn’t lose too much when the bag broke (less than 1/2 cup?) then don’t worry about changing up your additions…it will still work just fine. Off the top of my head I can’t think of how much starter there would have been in your bag. If you were given a cup’s worth of starter and added to it on day five…just add all that up. Normally one cup is what people give away in their friendship baggies.

    HTHS!
    Mary

  43. Hi! Great info on this webpage! Thanks for all the great ideas!
    My question is, can you bake the bread in a bread machine? Just curious!

    Thanks
    Nikki

  44. Hi Nikki,
    I’m not an expert on bread machines…the one I own is practically an antique, so I don’t know the capabilities of newer machines. If your bread machine bakes quick breads (as opposed to yeast breads only) then yes, it would probably work. Again, I’ve not ever heard of a bread machine that cooks quick breads, as the whole point of owning a bread machine *used to be* to eliminate the kneading/rising/baking steps for the cook. I think it would be just as easy to pour the AFB batter in a loaf pan and stick it in the oven, personally, or make a cake out of it by using a 9×9 square dish.

    Good luck with it!
    Mary

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