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. Hi, I was wondering when people substitute chocolate pudding if they still leave in the cinnamon and still do the cinnamon toppping?? Thanks for this website!!!

    Rebecca

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for the thanks! :) I’d leave the cinnamon out if I were using chocolate pudding. You can sprinkle some mini-choc chips in the batter or across the top if you’d like, or nuts, or other things that you/your family like with chocolate. How about chopped maraschino cherries mixed in the batter?

    But yes, the sugared topping is still delicious w/o the cinnamon!

    Mary

  3. I just made my first batch and it turned out VERY dense and heavy, fell in the center and crumbled when I took it out of the loaf pans. Any suggestions for my next batch to correct this? I am excited to try the variations, and the kids still loved the flavor, ate both “loaves” by day 3 of the new starters, but I’d love it to be more of a loaf than a pile! 😉

    Thanks in advance…
    Tracy

  4. Thanks Mary! I have one more question. What is the best way to freeze the bread once it has been baked?

  5. Hi! One of my colleagues told me that as she and her husband were gaining weight from all the baking, she cut down on feeding the yeast to slow the baking cycle. She started with about a cup, and on the appropriate days only added 1/4 cup each of milk/sugar/flour to the starter rather than the full cup. That way, she only had about a cup of starter to use at the end of 10 days cycle and another 1/2 cup or so to feed for the next 10 days. I’m keen to try it as I’ve been freezing mine in individual bags and then taking it out to use it. Thanks for the tips about the pudding, yeast, splenda and milk! I haven’t ever added the pudding, but the appleasauce substitution makes the consistency slightly spongier. Have you or anyone used the ginger bread recipe variation off the original sheet and actually been able to taste the ginger? I can’t seem to get that flavor to come out with this bread recipe, although using the equivalent amount in molasses cookies is fine??

  6. Hi Rebecca,
    Depending on how long you want to keep it in the freezer, you could get by for 2 weeks-1 month with it in a Ziplock freezer bag, or double bag it for longer storage. I recommend getting all the air out of the bag that you can…sometimes I put a straw in at the edge of the zipper closure and close the bag all the way over to the straw and then suck all the air out of the bag. It sounds kind of gross, but you’re not breathing into the bag and your mouth never touches the bag. HTHs!

    Hi Jessica! Your friend has found a good way to cut this back into a more manageable amount. I’ve outlined how I do that in “Easier Amish Friendship Bread”…very similar method, but fewer ingredients. For the gingerbread, try doubling the ginger and see what you think. I can’t say as we’ve noticed a lack, but I’ve not made the gingerbread in a long time.

    Good luck!
    Mary

  7. I received a starter and I used Splenda during the 10 days. I had read somewhere else that I could. I ended up with only 4 cups total of starter. I divided it in half and added the rest of the ingredients as were except I added only 1/2 cup of oil and added flour to the point of thick pancake batter. It turned out really well!!!! My kids love it and continue to ask for more. I used the whole thing b/c I didn’t want to give it away and it not work for someone else. Next time I’ll do the same thing but use one cup as the starter using regular sugar to see what happens!

    Debbie

  8. Debbie, no disrespect intended, but Splenda is not sugar, as I am sure you know, and the yeast in the starter can’t use it as food. That is why you only ended up with 4 cups of starter, there was nothing for the yeast to eat. Use real sugar (but make sure that it is from cane and not beets because all sugar beets grown in this country for sugar are genetically modified), and you will have much better results.

  9. I guess my whole thing was that I thought it wasn’t going to work at all using Splenda. I thought I would just end up with some gook or bad gook at that. I was pleasantly surprised that it ended up working. Like someone said, it is very forgiving.

  10. Thank you so much for the wonderful variations for Amish Friendship Bread. I found your blog by googling about the bread and YOU. I am going to try the Strawberry Bread today for my husband as a welcome home surprise. I will be checking your blog for more interesting topics in the future.

  11. Mommy of Two, we LOVE the Strawberry Bread! It’s wonderful! So glad you enjoyed reading this Amish Friendship Bread thread. I’ve gotten so many new family faves from all the tips/variations shared here! Hope you come back often and keep commenting! ;O)

  12. I have two starters, day 10 and ready to bake. But I do not want to be left with any starters but maybe one. Can I add all of the remaining ingredients and bake more bread rather than taking out for starters? And if I can, do I have to use more amounts of the ingredients? One final question, if I feed on day 10 but dont want to bake can I freeze it and then when I do use it add the remaining ingredients and bake when i thaw it out? Basically picking up where I left off?

    Sorry if this has been addressed somewhere, I could not find it discussed. And thank you!!!

  13. Yeah…that’s a bummer! But now you know…maybe you can get another starter from your friend, or start your own starter!

  14. Oh Michelle, I’m sorry that my answer is coming way too late to help you out! We were out of state for vacation, and came home to a hugely busy week of helping at Vacation Bible School. This is my first time at the website in a long time. Trying to get caught up today. I hope you figured out something that worked for your starters…I’ll go ahead and answer your questions.

    First, yes, you could bake all your starter into breads and be done, not keeping any starter out. You do need to add more ingredients accordingly, after you’ve measured the total amount of starter you begin with. Yes to your second Q as well, feed on day 10, freeze (make a note on your freezer bag as to the fact that you’d added day 10’s ingredients) and then whenever you want to thaw it, begin as if you were ready for baking, saving out the next round of starter. People do this all the time!

    Good luck!

  15. I just wanted to make plain white bread can you do that with this bread I made the starter and it never said that is was a sweet bread til I recieved the recipe 10 days later when it was ready to bake thanks

  16. Hi,

    I have a starter and its day 8. I forgot to add the things on day 6. From what I read above I can go ahead and add today and it wont hurt it. BUT does it chnage the day? Since day 6 is add but its REALLY day 8 !! Help.. Thanks, Ange

  17. Hi Ange, I’m sorry I got so far behind here at keeping up with comments. Hopefully my tardiness won’t affect the outcome of what you decided to do for your bread! Adding ingredients on day 8 instead of day 6 is fine. You can keep to the same ten day plan, or go 12 days if you want. It will still turn out great. Very flexible stuff, this AFB! Enjoy!

  18. Thank you so much for putting this list of answers together, very helpful. God bless you and your family!

  19. What a wonderful list you ahve provided for us here – thank you for all the hard work and for giving us so many ideas! One quick question which could have an obvious answer – you said that you can freeze the starter – is that on day one?
    Thank you
    Shena

  20. Hi Shena,
    Thanks! The good news, is you can successfully freeze the starter on pretty much any day of the process. Just make a “note to self” on the ziplock as to which day you were on in the process and pick up where you left off once it’s thawed.

    Enjoy!
    Mary

  21. Thanks for the great batch of information here.
    This year I used dried apples that I diced in a food proccessor instead of using nuts. So far it has gone over great. And, I too modify the recipe by keeping only 1 starter and cooking the rest. I get four loaves per batch.
    My question is: How long can the bread be stored after it is baked?

    Thanks Again,
    David

  22. The dried apples sound delicious, David! I’d store the bread in the refrigerator if keeping it longer were an issue. Probably up to a week? Otherwise, freeze it and pull it out when needed. Tastes so fresh that way!

  23. I received my starter kit on jan 12–it’s beginning date is jan 11–
    been doing the steps but did not bake it on day 10 but squished it/kneaded it that day and then I was gone for a couple of days…Kneading it before i left…
    i cked it today and it smells fine…and the color is still a creamy color (kneaded it some yesterday and this morning)…should i go ahead and bake it today…jan 24 or should i just start over –with a new starter sometime? WONDERING–thanks
    Kathy Reynolds

  24. Hi Kathy,

    You’d be fine to go ahead and bake it up. Waiting three or so days, or on the flip side, baking 2 or 3 days early, doesn’t seem to affect the outcome much! It’s such a versatile bread!

    Enjoy!
    Mary

  25. Hi I resently recieved an AFB starter. Ive been to alot of sites and have found yours definately the most informative thank you. I woke up today (which is day 6) and really wanted to make some waffles for my kids. I think i get that I can just take a cup out and use it but only being on day six im not sure how much i have I still want to bake on day 10 and have friends who are waitin for some….. So i am wondering if I can add like 2 or three cups of flour sugar milk/water to increase my volume? can u add small amounts when u don plan on baking and then add large when you need more? And then how long ater i add more flour,sugar,milk do i have to wait to use it? if i add more on day 6 to add more volume will that mess up
    “Day one” for my friends???

  26. Hi Misty,
    Thanks! I don’t have an expert, tried and true answer for you! I wish I did. I’d love to know if this works for you…it sure seems like it would, but since I haven’t tried it (taking some out to bake with and just adding more in later to make up the diff) I can’t promise success. Please let me know if it works for you, should you go ahead and give it a whirl.

  27. Mary,
    I was reading your blog and love amish friendship bread. Gonna have to try the new recipe though with the diffren ingredients. I wanted to know if anyone has tried to substitue the flour for gluten free flour. I have a friend who uses glutten free flour due to an alergy. Can you use it or do you have to have flour?

    Jessica

  28. Jessica,
    I haven’t personally tried it, but I quickly googled the topic, hoping to find you some help. I figure someone, somewhere has done it, surely! Yay–looks like you can definitely substitute gluten free flour in this and have it turn out beautifully…check it out here: http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/37613-the-bread-that-keeps-on-giving-amish-friendship-bread/

    By the way, could you share what gluten-free flours you might use for this? I’m wondering b/c we have friends who use Teff, Tapioca and Amaranth for a lot of their baking as they have had to go grain free to get their young diabetic son off of insulin. (It’s worked, btw!) I think they’d love to be able to have this recipe work! I know they miss their breads! (Thanks!)

    Good luck with it!
    Mary

  29. Ok, I’ve read the blogs, but here’s my situation:
    I made the bread and no one took any starters, so I continued the cycle and now have 4 bags on my counter that are at day 10. I DO NOT want 16 more starter bags, so how do I just bake it all?
    I’ve read to omit the 1.5 c of flour, sugar, and milk on day 10, keep 1 cup for a starter, and just double the recipe. Is this correct? That would give me 16 loaves of bread, which is fine, but I want to be correct in this.
    PLEASE HELP!!!

  30. I just made a loaf of “Elvis Friendship Bread.” Mix in 2-3 mashed bananas and 15 roughly chopped mini peanut butter cups (about 1 Cup). Mix 1/4 Cup sugar with 1 tsp cocoa powder, grease the pans, then sprinkle generously with the sugar mixture before filling with batter.
    This bread is super moist and doesn’t need any pudding mix. I also used applesauce instead of oil, so I don’t feel as guilty about the peanut butter cups. :)

  31. Hi!

    I am on day six of my starter for AFB and put in my “feed”. While I was squishing my bag some of the starter glopped out on the counter top. I scrapped it in to a new bag and added the old bag in and squished away. Has this happened to any one else before? Will my bread turn out alright? I saw the comments about the smell and color change so I will chuck it if this happens. Just wanting to know if I have ruined my starter and shouldn’t even waste the time backing in 4 days.

    Thanks

  32. Hi all, I am loving all the great info on this site! I have made AFB in the past the then starter took over and ran us out of the house. :-) This time I am hoping to control it a little better.

    I noticed that some people had success with adding less sugar at feedings… any ideas on how much less we can add and still ‘feed’ Herman (AFB)?

    Also I know people have said the sugar is ‘eaten’ during the fermentation process but people have commented on the sweetness of the final bread. I like a sweet bread as much as the next person but would like the option of making a savory bread to go with my winter stews and soups as well. Will the starter be sweet if the bread recipe doesn’t add any sugar?

    Thanks for your help!

  33. The Amish definitely use pudding mix and ziploc bags. Many people are confused with what they are allowed to do, because they think that their rules don’t make sense. I lived in Amish country, and the rules don’t make sense. I know where an Amish phone booth is. It looks like a school bus stop (little house for the kids to wait in), but I’ve seen Amish buggies parked by it, and one day an Amish lady stuck her head out while attached to a phone cord. The rules state that they can’t have a phone in their house, but they have plenty of community phones. They avoid convenience things, but this doesn’t always apply to food choices. It isn’t about healthy habits either, because I have seen Amish men smoking.

  34. What can I do so that the Amish Friendship Bread is not so heavy? I even baked the bread longer, as it seemed doughy.

    I would appreciate a response to my email address, please.
    Colleen

  35. Carolynscousin, that is so interesting…I’ve gleaned a bit of that from the few “Amish” based books I’ve read. Hiring drivers, etc. The life sounds so romantic, but in reality it’s a lot of hard work, huh. I’m glad they get to use ziplock baggies! ;O)

    Colleen, AFB is a little on the heavy side, but it shouldn’t be doughy. I’m not sure what to tell you. I hope you check back and see this, in future, if you click the box beneath your comment box, it says something like “notify me of future comments”, you’ll know when I reply b/c it will send a notice to your email inbox. Eventually you will want to come back and unclick/unsubscribe b/c this post gets a LOT of comments, even years old as it is! I’m sorry I don’t have any better answers for you on the heaviness and doughy issues.

  36. I have just started my starter and I used a metal fork to mix the yeast and warm water. Will that affect the process? I used a wooden spoon after that to mix the flour, sugar and milk/yeast mixture. Help!

  37. Hi Virginia,
    I’m sorry I missed your comments here, 2 days later. I hope you just went ahead with your AFB batter. I think the metal issues come from non-stainless steel utensils…so your fork, most likely being SS, is probably okay. I think. :O) I would go ahead with it, but from now on using wooden or plastic utensils.
    Hope all is well with your bread!
    Mary

  38. I just discovered a bag of starter that’s a couple of months old – I know I had taken it through the day 6 additions/feeding, but it got neglected & wound up sitting in a corner of my kitchen! Fortunately, a fairly cool corner, but still! It hasn’t turned any colors, and it still smells fine . . . do you think it’s safe to use?

  39. Interesting that it smells fine and hasn’t changed color. I’d be scared to try it, even so! This might be your call, but I’d call it a loss and scrap it. ((Sorry!!))

  40. I “fed” my starter on day 7 instead of day 6. Should I still bake on day10 or should I wait one extra day?

  41. Hi Lisa,
    Your choice! It probably won’t matter, but I’d bake on day 11. Just to give it the right number of days to ferment…

    Hope this helps!
    Mary

  42. I have four starters that are done and not in the mood to bake bread. Already have a lot of it frozen. Can I just combine all four starters together in one big container and not use it until later. If I can do this must I add anything to the combined four starters since on the day you bake your suppose to add stuff to the mix? If I can do this on day 6 would I still add just one cup of everything or have to double the amounts since it is a combined starter? Thanks so much just learning about this bread.

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