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Easier Amish Friendship Bread

Exciting news for all the overwhelmed Amish Friendship Bread cooks out there! I’ve been experimenting…and you can make the initial starter recipe without as many ingredients… In fact, all I […]

Exciting news for all the overwhelmed Amish Friendship Bread cooks out there! I’ve been experimenting…and you can make the initial starter recipe without as many ingredients…

In fact, all I did was eliminate two cups flour, two cups sugar and two cups milk from the original recipe. And, my two rules of thumb for maintaining your starter couldn’t be easier…read on.

Amish Friendship Bread–the manageable “family” version!

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk

Day 1~

  1. Dissolve yeast in water. Let stand ten minutes.
  2. In 2 quart glass, ceramic, or plastic container (remember: no metal!) combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will lump when milk is added.
  3. Slowly stir in milk and dissolved yeast mixture.
  4. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature till bubbly.

Days 2-4~

  1. Stir starter with a wooden spoon. (no metal!)

Day 5~

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

Days 6-9~

  1. Stir starter with a wooden spoon. (no metal!)

Day 10~

  1. Stir into the starter: one cup flour, one cup sugar, and one cup milk. Now your starter is ready to bake into bread! *note: at this point you have 6 cups of starter total

Baking Instructions (notice I left out the instant pudding mix, you can put it back in if you want–one small box worth, plus any of your favorite variations, nuts, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Then mix the following well:

  • 1 cup starter
  • 2/3 cup oil or applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In separate bowl combine:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly. Grease two medium sized bread loaf pans well; or one large and two-three miniature pans. If desired, you could mix up some additional cinnamon and sugar and shake it into the greased pans to coat bottom and sides. Pour mix into pans. Again, if desired, shake a little cinnamon-sugar on top. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 1 hour or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, allow less time for the miniature pans. Cool completely before freezing.

Now, you wonder, what about the feeding schedule for my leftover starter? Simple, you can keep it all, or give a cup (or more) away making sure your friend has the recipe and that she/he knows the following info.

Maintaining what’s left: Stir each day (or squish and release the air if necessary if you’re storing it in a zip lock). Once every 8-10 days, feed your starter the requisite one cup each of flour, sugar and milk. At this same time, remove about a third of the starter and either bake bread or freeze it (thaw frozen starter at room temp and start the feed/divide process as though day one was just completed).

The goal is to keep your starter “alive” by feeding and dividing. No need to refrigerate, in fact, refrigeration might mess the process up. I’m not an expert on “refrigerating” my starter. I do know that once you have a healthy starter, you can bake the friendship bread at any point during the ten day process.

I, for one, am thrilled that I found a way to cut this recipe back and save on flour, sugar and milk! If anyone is interested, I doubled up when it was time to bake, using 2 cups of starter, etc and got 1 large loaf and 2 medium loaves of bread as a result.

Hey, anyone want any starter?

59 replies on “Easier Amish Friendship Bread”

I’m just wondering what happened to the Amish Friendship Bread blog with all of those wonderful entries? I went back to it today to see if there were any more helpful hints but it was gone! 🙂

Hello, when you get to the 10th day could you just cook all of the batter if you do not want to give any of the batter away? How many loaves would it make and would you have to put more ingredients in than if you would if you gave 4 starters away? (If you do not separate the 4 bags just use all of the batter in the bowl) Thank you for your time.

Hi Sandy,
If you want to use up the entire recipe(and I’m referring to this exact one here on the site) you’ll have six cups of starter, which will end up being six times what you need. One cup is needed for the recipe, so using all six cups would yield around 9 or 10 loaves of bread. It freezes great. Just to be clear, you’d have to multiply each ingredient in the above recipe by 6.

HTHs,
Mary

Thank you Mary for the information. It would be over whelming to make that much bread at one time. I will try your new way of making it. Thanks again. Sandy

Sandy, on the other Amish Friendship thread, here at this site, someone just posted that they successfully froze their starter for 5 months and when they thawed it and baked it, it was delicious. Maybe you could just freeze the starter you don’t want to use?

HTHs,
Mary

Yes that sounds like a good idea. When this person took out the starter after the six months did she just go from day 10 or did she start from day 1? Thank you again for all of your help.

No problem. 🙂 She didn’t say, but what you’d need to do is thaw it at room temp and start the whole process as if day 1 had just been completed. So day 1 would be the thawing day, and the next morning would start day 2.

I love how versatile this stuff is.

God bless!

Mary

Thanks for the prompt reply Mary, checked out the easier recipe and think mine might be easier/smaller still…not sure since I didnt “start” this batter. The thing is I am only putting 1/2 cup batter in each bag I give away! To make it more clearer as to what I am doing:
I received a bag of starter (1/2 cup in ziploc bag)
Day 6 = Add 1C each SRflour, milk, sugar
Day 10= Add 1C each SRflour, milk, sugar, then put 1/2 cup in 4 bags named Day 1. With the remaining to be cooked batter I am to add all the usual suspects except 2C SR flour instead of 1.
If I only make 2 bags named day 1 then I have an extra cup of “to be cooked” batter! How do I adjust recipe so I wont have 4 loaves or 48 muffins?
Thanks, by the way, I am also thinking of thinning the batter out and using it in bread pudding…not sure if it will work but the first time I did this that’s what it reminded me of on day 10 as I was adding ingredients. Here goes nothing and it seems the batter forgives us for goofing anyways 😉

Hm, I’ll think on it Sindyanne…my head’s in a blur after reading all that, and it doesn’t help that its been a particularly busy day with appts and home-school co-op meetings. My first thought is to try adding half the ingredients on days 6 and 10, and end up with a half cup of batter in 2 bags, instead of 4? If I think of anything better, I’ll add it here ASAP.

Anyone else have any ideas on this recipe?

Mary

Just letting you know that the starter is freezable. I brought the original starter from Indiana Amish and I froze it for 5 years and just brought it out and have made 7 batches. Had it for our Presbyterian church Dam site Days. made 20 loaves of miniature, 7 loaves of next size 4 loaves of next size and 4 loaves of regular size. and the mixture can be lumpy on the day it is all added to, as the next day after working it will mellow out and not be lumpy. Tywllah

5 years!!! Wow. I’ve had people report that 6 months is doable, but years, that’s amazing! And you bought yours straight from the Amish? How neat. Thanks, Tywllah, for these tips, very good to know.

7 batches, you were busy! Bet your house smelled great!

Mmmmm…just made my first batch last night (it was supposed to be made the night before but Kyle was teething and had to be held by Momma!) and it is delicious! It was done by midnight last night since we were gone all day so I had a slice (or 2) with my coffee this morning…I know Bad Geri!! Cinnamon sugar and all…and Kyle wanted to try some so I let him have a few bites…so yummy and great for the Christmas season!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

I made our first batch in a 9×13 pan (took 35 minutes at 325) and it was gone as soon as it was cool. I’m feeding mine one day a week and then using it to bake whatever day I feel like it. We’ll see how that works. I used the recipe at top with a tablespoon or so of oil and then filled to 2/3 cup with applesauce. I put all of it in the 9×13 and it was a perfect amount for the pan. My daughter calls it Amish (with a long A sound) Buddy Bread! Everyone loved it. Thank you.

These kind of raves are why I love to share recipes! Makes my day that your crew loved it, Cena! And thanks for following up and telling me how you did it! I love the idea of baking it in a 9×13″ pan! Dressing it up like cake…I’ll try that next time.

Isn’t the applesauce/oil trick the best? I do that all the time with cakes, etc. It’s never failed.

I like the Amish Buddy Bread! 🙂

My recipe called for 1 cup of oil, however the bread was too heavy. For my second batch I substituted 1 stick of melted margarine; added two mashed bananas and walnuts to one batch; blueberries and cinnamon to the next; and drained crushed pineapple with cinnamon to the last. I also increased the oven temperature to 350 and baked the breads for one hour – four for us and four for the church Christmas bazaar. I’m now freezing batter before it takes over the house!

So how did it turn out with the butter/banana substitute? Like you, I never use the full amount of oil called for, usually substituting all of it, or most of it with applesauce if I have it on hand (toddler goes through applesauce fast!). I’m very interested to know if you think the half-cup butter/banana is something you’d try again!

And I can relate to it taking over the house…especially if you just made 8 loaves! Wow! I can just smell your house right about now…

Merry Christmas, Emily! Thanks for sharing your variations with us!

Wow I have been reading for the past half hour and found a lot of great information! A question similar to mine was asked but I still feel confused after reading the answer. This is my first time making AFB. One of my neighbors passed them out to those of us who live near her and I have been very good about following instructions. Today is day 11, as I had to wait to get some of the ingredients until today (due to a teething baby as well!) and I read that it’s fine to go ahead and bake today. However, one of my neighbors isn’t as excited about the idea as I am and passed her starter to me. I am excited because I want to give starters and/or loaves for Christmas gifts this year but this neighbor never added any ingredients. She has been mashing the bag every day, but has not added anything. Do you think it would turn out alright if I added the overdue ingredients at the same time I’m adding the 1oth day ones, then bake today?

Sorry to be so verbose but I wanted to be clear. I’m going to go ahead and bake my bread and hope to hear back from you today about dividing and baking my neighbor’s starter.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

Jenny in Torrance, CA

Hi Jenny,
Hope the teething lets up for your little one! So hard on their little gums! 🙁

You’ll be fine with your neighbor’s starter, even though she didn’t add the middle of the week ingredients…just add the day ten ingredients, and divide and bake following this paragraph on maintenance, taken from the above post:

“Maintaining what’s left: Stir each day (or squish and release the air if necessary if you’re storing it in a zip lock). Once every 8-10 days, feed your starter the requisite one cup each of flour, sugar and milk. At this same time, remove about a third of the starter and either bake bread or freeze it (thaw frozen starter at room temp and start the feed/divide process as though day one was just completed).”

So don’t try to play “catch up” by adding all the missing ingredients…just add the day ten and split the starter up, baking some and carrying on with the rest. It should be fine if she really has been squishing it each day!

God bless, and feel free to ask away if you have any other questions!
Mary

I have recently just started baking the bread – made about 3 batches – and found this site. It is filled with great info but I was wondering whether I could bake the bread in muffin tins using paper muffin cups (the tins that holds 12 muffins)and if so for how long would I need to bake them. By the way my last batch was from batter that I had frozen and you could not tell the difference. Thanks again for a fab site.

Yes, Lucille, I know you can bake them into muffins b/c someone shared (somewhere on this site) that they do it all the time! I would think you’d just need to keep an eye on them the first time you bake them as muffins to know for sure, but most muffins take 20 or more minutes to bake. You can also bake this in a 9×13 pan…

And you’re welcome, I’m glad you liked the site, hope you come back and share your findings on muffins/times baking!

Mary

I think this would make a great Fruit cake starter. But what fruit should I add besides cherries, nuts, dates, rasins, apples?

Hi Joyce,
This could be a yummy version of fruitcake, it’s definitely not as dense, but experiment away! Blueberries, dried cranberries, and isn’t dried pineapple in many fruitcakes? Let us know what you did and how it turned out!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Mary

You do not know how happy I am to find your website. I love making Amish Friendship Bread for my family of 5 counting myself and kept loosing the recipe. And when I would ask around for it I would get the same comment. Don’t know how to make the starter try online. and we know how many results come up with the search. It wasn’t until I searched “Can you freeze amish friendship bread” that I found you. Thank you for making a website like this.

Kimberly Strano (Orlando, FL)

You’re welcome, Kimberly! Thank you for taking time to comment, I hope you come back and share your favorite variations! When you make this stuff all the time, it’s nice to change it up often! ;O)

Hi,
I have a batch of batter which reached the 10th day (Wednesday), but I couldn’t bake it so I refrigerate it. Today (Saturday)it is the 3rd day later … I am wondering if I can bake it and it will be fine.

Yes, Sandra, go ahead and bake it. I think it will be okay! When I say, I *think*, I’m only wondering if the refrigeration would have messed with the process. I’m not at all worried about it being safe to eat!

I was wondering what is the purpose of the pudding mix, and if you leave it out, is there something else that needs to be added in?

I’ve left the pudding mix out and the bread is still good, but without whatever flavor your pudding mix would have added. You don’t need to substitute anything for the pudding if you choose to leave it out! HTHs!

Love your website. Just wanted to say that I have froze my starter with success! I take it out of the freezer let it get to room temp then bake. If I am running low on starter and need moreI add day six ingredients divide and put some back in the freezer and bake what I want. I have tried many pudding flavorings (pistachio being my favorite) and all have come out great. I even have made them in a bundt pan! I am glad I saw the oil/applesauce trick I will definately use that from now on! I can’t wait for pumpkin pudding to come out this fall!! 🙂

Hi Angel! Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your success with freezing the starter! Yay, we love hearing from fellow AFB lovers! ;O) You sound like a kindred spirit! You might want to check out the link for FAQ on Amish Friendship Bread. I compiled the best tips from readers all in one post.

Best wishes! Please come again! :O)

Mary

Hi I am in the process of making the bread, but instead of giving the 4 bags away i would like to freeze. From reading you’re website I want to make sure that yes I can freeze it and for how long? Also, when I take out of freezer do I start from Day 1 and continue the steps as directed? Would love to know as soon as possible as I will have 4 bags to deal with. Thank You

Hello Jane,
Yes, you can freeze this starter! One commenter said that she always freezes her from one December to the next and thaws it to make a number of AFB’s for co-worker’s Christmas presents. So we have it on record that a year isn’t too long in the freezer. Typically, I’d think 6 mos would be pushing it, but you can go with your preference and see what you think. When you stick it in the freezer, make a note on the freezer bag as to which day in the process you were on and then when you thaw it, you’ll know exactly where in the process you need to pick up and go! I’d also double bag it to keep it protected from freezer burn, and make note of the month/year.

Good luck!

Mary

Does the starter have to be refrigerated after day 10 or could I just leave it out on my counter top? Does it ever have to go into the fridge?

hi – when I freeze the starter, will it get SOLID?? We put it in on the door (it is a standing frezzer only unit), and it didn’t get solid….has it gone “bad” now??

Thanks! =)

Nancy =)

Nancy, I was hoping someone else would respond to this. I’ve only frozen mine once, and it was a long time ago. I thought it got solid…I am as stymied as you. :O/ Does it look or smell bad?

well, it all seemed to work out okay! I took it out of the freezer and just cooked it up as a bread – seems to be fine, and my husband and I did not get sick, so I guess it was good! =)

I had it on the door, but moved it more inside – it seems (I think) a little more “frozen” but I can’t be 100% sure of that!

I have read the following posts and came up with a question that I haven’t seen before. Do you think it would work to cut the feeding ingredients (sugar, flour & milk) to 1/3 cup instead of 1 cup to cut back on quantity? We are AFB lovers! We even have a crock on the counter for our starter! My mom and I will be adjusting the more managable recipe you have listed here for the future! We are running out of friends – they are afraid we will give them more starter! Ha! Thanks for all the good info on your site. I’m truly enjoying the information and questions.

Mary, thank you so much for maintaining such an informative blog. I am slightly confused by the following posting by you on the other page, and the one on this page. I thought I read that it takes 2 cups of starter to make one batch, or 2 loaves, of bread. Then on this page it appears to read that it takes 1 cup of starter to make 2 loaves of bread. I am sure my mind is just reeling from info overload, but can you clarify?
“This last time I baked all but two bags of starter. I kept one, and gave the other one away. I split the remaining starter up for two different recipes and ended up with the equivalent of 4 loaves of bread. It takes two cups of starter per batch, and once you add those day 10 ingredients, you should have a total of 6 cups altogether. (It’s important to note that this is *before* adding the actual baking ingredients–pudding, berries, etc).”
and
“Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Then mix the following well:

1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil or applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
In separate bowl combine:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly. Grease two medium sized bread loaf pans well; or one large and two-three miniature pans”

Hi Cindy,
Well, keep in mind I first wrote this post 3 years ago, and I went great guns for so long with AFB, that we’ve kind of worn out on it! So it’s been over a year since I’ve made any. Here is how I’d explain what I *think*I meant. :O)

Normally, when you split up your starter to give to friends, you give several friends 1 cup starter in a baggie, and you keep 1 cup to bake with. I think that’s where I was coming from with the recipe equivalents. I was assuming the readers would want the base recipe, and could double it if they wanted to. Did you get the part in quotation marks from my “Amish Friendship Bread–All You Need to Know” post? If so, then I think the difference is that this post on “Easier AFB” is just reflecting the fact that I used less ingredients to make it easier to maintain. However, I do get your confusion on how many loaves you’d get as an end result from 1 cup of starter! Sorry. If you look at the 2nd to last paragraph on this post, you’ll see that I clarified: “I doubled up when it was time to bake, using 2 cups of starter, etc and got 1 large loaf and 2 medium loaves of bread as a result.” So using 1 cup of starter, should yield 2 medium-large loaves.

I hope this helps, and isn’t more confusing!

:O)
Mary

Hi Mary! I did get the different posts from different blog pages and different years! I have read through the original page, the FAQ page, and easier page! I work at a Dr.’s office and a patient brought in a loaf for our staff, and we just loved it! She brought us each in a bag of starter about a week later, with basic instructions. I found your blog searching out answers to my many questions about the details involved! I really do appreciate your patience and willingness to share your knowledge with us beginners! And the fact that you answer the same questions over and over again! If I understand correctly, on baking day when you add the 2cups flour, 3 eggs, oil or applesauce, milk, etc. you need 1 cup of starter. For me I think that yields 2 9×5 bread loafs. Hope life is treating you and your family well! God Bless!

Cindy

Mary, I was wondering if you have the contact info for the woman who told about the brothers of Hermann. I would like to ask her for the recipes of all the brothers.

Thank you.

P.S. I am experimenting on an even more abbreviated version for the single person and will post it when I have it in recipe format.

Hi Landa,
I was looking for her comment, but can’t find it! If I find it, I can go behind the scenes and email her giving her your contact info so she can get in touch. I’ll let you know what I find out!

Will be looking forward to your “experiment” update! Thanks!

Mary

Thanks Ladies for all the insight. After reading all the posts, I saw this suggestion twice… cut back on the amount of “feed” but keep it within proportion. Has anyone had success wih this? I would like to keep my starter going, not have to overload my friends, and not overload my freezer. Hence… Does feeding it less really keep the starter alive at the same time as just producing less? Thanks!

Dear Mary,
I believe Landa is looking for me as I wrote about the “brothers” last year. If she still wanted to contact me, would You be so kind and give her my E-mail address!
Thank You, Reka

Can I bake Amish Friendship bread on Day 6 instead of Day 10? Should I do anything extra to the batter/starter at that point to make it come out right?

It depends…are you starting your AFB from scratch this week as per the recipe above, or are you maintaining a batch from an already established starter? If you are starting from scratch, you better wait till day 10 to bake bread…but if you are feeding a starter someone passed along to you, then you are okay to speed up the process by a couple of days. I have never baked it earlier than Day 8 of the process, but you could try it. No need to add anything different, just follow the directions as if you were on Day 10. Hope this helps!

Hi,
I have a starter that I’ve made from scratch, I’m currently on day 2, but I was wondering on day 10 (since I won’t have starters to give away) if I could just take a cup for myself to bake with and freeze the left over starter until I’m ready to bake again?

enjoyed reading and learning about starter. cook a lot but this is the first time I can remember doing the starter. I was concerned about the leftover bags and finding something to do with them each time. The first time I made the bread I did a triple batch and gave bread as gifts to 4-H judges but do not need this much each time. Made a batch of bread yesterday and now I am freezing and also reduced the amount of milk, flour and sugar I use to feed the starter so I will have less starter. will see how this works. Tried banana pudding and mashed banana and it was a hit with my son. Just wondering if anyone has tried using butterscotch chips and pudding?

The starter I got do I really need to give it away or can I bake all the bread myself then give that away and can i bake it all the same day just have to triple the recipe

Sorry I’m just now seeing this, Donna…of course you can bake all the bread up and give it away baked, yes just triple the recipe! Should work out great!

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