Monday, June 2, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread + Starter Recipe

A sweet cinnamon bread that is made with a batch of Amish Friendship Bread Starter. Friendship Bread recipe has several flavor variations and is perfect to share with friends.
I have been introduced to Amish Friendship Bread. All I can say is Oh My Lord I'm definitely addicted to this stuff. This is my 6th time of baking bread. I get so excited to see what flavor I can come up with next. I don't see an end any time soon. What is Amish Friendship Bread? 

Friendship bread is a delicious sweet quick bread made with a live starter. You make the bread and then pass on the starter and the recipe to your friends, so they can make the bread themselves. That's why it's called Friendship Bread. It's a great way of reaffirming friendships that originated with the Amish but is now practiced by persons of all nationalities and religions.

The is such a versatile bread and I've made so many flavor combinations along the way (see end of post).  Amish Friendship Bread starts with a Friendship Bread Starter. I was lucky enough to have a starter given to me by a friend. Amish Friendship Bread makes the perfect gift. Especially mini loaves, just slip each of them in little gift bags and tie on a pretty ribbon around the bread for a festive touch.

If you’d like to give the Amish Friendship Bread a try, but don’t have a starter, click here to get the Friendship Bread Starter Recipe and directions. 

If  you've been given a prepared starter see the directions below to begin baking the bread 

Day 1: Do Nothing.
Day 2: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 3: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 4: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 5: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 6: Add to the bag 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. 
Mush the bag and let the air out.
Day 7: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 8: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 9: Mush the bag and let the air out
Day 10: Mix and divide starter as follows. 

Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour,
1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 1/2 cups milk. Next measure 1 cup batter into 4 - 5 separate gallon size zip lock bags. 

Keep one of the bags for yourself or leave 1 - cup of the mixture in the mixing bowl if you plan to bake the bread right away. 

Give all the remaining starter bags to friends or just keep all the starters and freeze them. The starters are ready to bake right out of the freezer (so you do not need to feed them unless it is your last starter bag.  

Be certain to tell the recipient which day the bag is given to them. The day you give them their bag of starter is day one for them. If you keep starter for yourself you will be baking every 10 days (unless you freeze the individual starters). 

You can freeze some of the starter bags instead of giving them all away. Once you remove the bag of starter from the freezer it is ready to be baked into bread (no need to follow the 10 steps to feed the starter).

With your 1 cup of starter prepare and bake the Amish friendship bread using the recipe below. 

Amish Friendship Bread  

1 - cup Amish friendship bread starter
3 - eggs
1/2 - cup milk
1/2 - teaspoon salt
1 1/2 - teaspoon baking powder
1/2 - teaspoon baking soda
1 - cup sugar
1 - large box instant pudding, vanilla or chocolate (or two 3.5 oz boxes)
1/2 - teaspoon vanilla
2 - teaspoon cinnamon
1 - cup canola or vegetable 
2 - cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degreesGrease two large loaf pans, one 13 x 9  inch pan or 3 disposable (8 x 3 x 2 in) loaf pans.  

Mix 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half the mixture and set aside. 

In a large bowl add the ingredients as listed. Pour batter into the pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon mixture on top. 

Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour cool until bread loosens from the pan and is completely cooked through and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  

Recipe yields:  3 loaves of friendship bread.  

Chocolate and Butterscotch Bread pictured..

Chocolate Bread pictured. 

Friendship Bread Flavor Variations:

Chocolate Bread: 
Use the basic mix recipe except use Chocolate Pudding instead of Vanilla make sure to add the 2 teaspoons cinnamon it really makes the bread taste the best.

Peanut Butter Cup: 

Use basic mix recipe, except use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla. Omit the 2 tsp cinnamon in the batter. Add 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter to the batter and one cup Reese's  peanut butter chips.

Cherry or Strawberry Cheese Cake: 

Use the basic recipe and omit the cinnamon. Use two small boxes of instant cheese cake pudding, 3 oz of softened cream cheese, and 1/4 cup more milk. Add some Cherry or Strawberry pie filling after adding the batter into the pans. Add couple spoons of cherry or strawberry pie filling on top of batter and swirl around with spoon to mix. Bake at 325 until golden brown and cooked through.

Cinnamon Streusel: 

Before starting the Amish bread I get my pans ready and make up  the streusel. 1 stick butter or margarine at room temp. 2/3 C – 1 cup packed brown sugar 2/3 C – 1 cup flour cinnamon - as much as you like. Put the ingredients together. (1 cup chopped pecans are optional.) This will make approx. 2 cups. If you like a little more, increase the sugar and flour to 1 cup each.

Make your Amish bread according to directions. Use French Vanilla pudding or Vanilla Pudding. Put approx. 1-1/2 cup batter in the bottom of each pan and spread into the corners. (Batter will not be runny - sort of a heavy batter.) Top with 1/2 cup streusel, remaining batter and remaining streusel.

Banana Nut Bread: 

Use the basic mix with 1 cup of walnuts or pecans , 2 large mashed bananas and 1 large box of banana cream pudding instead of vanilla pudding.

Lemon Bread: 

Substitute lemon pudding mix and use 2 teaspoons lemon extract instead of vanilla, omit the cinnamon and nuts. For Lemon Poppy Seed just add some poppy seeds.

Butterscotch Bread: 

Add 1 Large box of butterscotch pudding and 1 cup of butterscotch chips. Omit cinnamon. proceed with recipe. 

Apple Cinnamon Bread: 
Make the streusel 1 stick butter or margarine at room temp. 2/3 cup – 1 cup packed brown sugar, 2/3 cup, 1 cup flour,  cinnamon as much as you like. Add the ingredients together. (1 cup chopped pecans are optional.) This will make approx. 2 cups of streusel. If you like a little more, increase the sugar and flour to 1 cup each. Make your Amish bread according to directions. 

Use Vanilla or French Vanilla pudding. Put approx. 1-1/2 cups batter in the bottom of each pan and spread into the corners.(Batter will not be runny - sort of a heavy batter.) Add 1 can apple pie filling evenly throughout the each loaf. Top each loaf with remaining batter and the Add streusel topping last, bake as directed.

So you see there are so many variations. If you have a variation not listed leave a comment and tell me what it is. I love new friendship bread flavors. See below for more recipe you can make using the Amish Friendship Bread Starter. 
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Blueberry Muffins
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Bread Chocolate Brownies
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Carrot Cake 
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Oatmeal Muffins
  • Click here to make Amish Friendship Bread Fruitcake (Christmas)

Check out the
The Friendship Bread Kitchen for more friendship bread flavors as well as recipes for Gluten Free versions.

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Stephanie said... #

I'm so glad you posted the starter recipe! I have had this friendship bread a few times, but didn't keep any starter for myself. Now I can make some and have the bread whenever I want! Hooray!

The Smith's said... #

I have made this bread for years. I actually used to make about 700-1,000 mini loaves a year and would donate the proceeds to Light the Night for Leukemia & Lymphoma research.

However the last couple of years I have been making the bread to help raise money for our adoption. My husband and I recently adopted a 2 year old boy from China.

This bread is so amazing and extremely addictive to all those that try it. I have people that even if I am not making the bread want to place orders, especially around Christmas time to give as gifts or to take as a dish to pass.

I have a couple of other variations that you may want to try.

Orange Pecan:
Use Orange extract (I use about 4 Tbsp). You can also add 1/3 c. of orange juice and use only 2/3 c. of the oil. I have also used Orange Zest as well and then use the juice of the orange instead of juice. I have used chopped peacans and have also done it with toasted Almonds as well.

Tropical paradise:
I used the Cheesecake pudding
1 small can of mandarin oranges
1 small can of crushed pineapple
(I mix the oranges and pineapple together to equal about 1/2-3/4 c. of fruit)
1/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. Chopped macadamia nuts
This bread is so moist you have to cook it a little longer than usual.

German Chocolate:

I use the chocolate pudding instead of vanilla.

Take a can of German Chocolate frosting and cut it into the pans using a knife.

This takes a little longer to bake as well.

I love this recipe because it is so versitile and so forgiving. I have never had a batch fail.

Anonymous said... #

I like your site just fine and was linked here from Southern Plate. Just a grammar police moment. The link on the right side of the page that says "Family Photo’s" doesn't need the apostrophe. You want the plural of photo to be photos and not the possessive photo's.

Anonymous said... #

I'm looking for recipe variations that do not include pudding. I have made the sour dough bread recipe, but we found it too sweet, so I cut down the sugar. Also a huge hit in my house is the cinnamon rolls. My family loves them!! The only thing I did to fix that recipe is I put 3 teaspoons of cinnamon right in the batter. And I used brown sugar instead of white sugar in the filling.
So does anyone have any other non-pudding variations?

Anonymous said... #

This has always been one of my favorites....and it is soooooo addicting..I have made mine as coffee can freeze a baggie of starter for later use..and it works wonderfully!

sheila said... #

I cant wait to try this recipe.My mom used to make bread from a starter when I was young, and I have not eaten it since. I loved that bread. Thanks for posting the recipe, its great, brings back alot of memories.

Sila Lumenn said... #

Thank you for posting the starter recipe! I've had the bread recipe for many years, but without a starter I couldn't make it.

I always keep my starter in a quart canning jar covered with a loose weave fabric and stir with a wooden spoon.

Kitchen Stewardship said... #

I made this stuff like it was going out of style a few winters ago - my favorite flavor variation is Chocolate Almond Cherry: use choc pudding, almond extract instead of vanilla, cinnamon optional, and dried or frozen cherries and chocolate chips mixed in. Almond slivers on top make it look exquisite! I just wish I could do this w/o pudding mix too - haven't tried it, but I have a hunch you could just omit it and add a little cocoa or something. I doubt the Amish rely on pudding mixes! (Too processed for my food snobbery nowadays.)

:) Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

Kathleen said... #

I have a question about the amish starter bread. I am teaching a science class this Friday that we want to do the starter bread in class with young students. Will we be able to mix all the ingredients together and seal the bags right away and send them home with their zip lock gallon bag of starter bread in 55 minutes? Or does it take longer to do this, then one class period?

Unknown said... #

I have made Amish Friendship Bread for years. I keep several bags of starter in the freezer, at day 1, 6, and 10. I always have one I can pull out and make the bread. Our church gives small loaves of breads to visitors, and I can make about 40 loaves at a time.

GeeGee said... #

I got busy and forgot about my starter for a few days during the process... so instead of 10 days, I ended up finishing in about 15 days.
The bread tastes pretty good, but I'm hoping I didn't ruin the starters I gave out to my friends. What do you think?

Anonymous said... #

I have a question on the starter - where does it say to add the milk? Dissolve yeast-it shows adding rest of warm water, flour and sugar - when does the milk go in for the starter?

Anonymous said... #

I use pistachio pudding in my breads. Its nice for Christmas and St. Pats day. I had made quite a few loaves and put in my freezer. I was shocked to find them gone. Found out my 20 year old had had them for snacks. Time to do more baking thanks to my nephew who gave me a starter. So, happy to find all the variations to the bread. Can't wait to start baking.
Cindi A.

Corbett Smith said... #

How do you vary the cooking time and/or degrees when using mini loaf pans?

Tina Butler said... #

For the mini loveas I bake at the same temperature but only bake for about 20 minutes.

Brittany said... #

I have actually just started this starter today and have a post of it on my blogsite I hope this starter turns out well as this is my first time in making a starter or even a bread that has yeast in it.

For the question regarding where to add in the milk, add it in with the dissolved yeast mixture.

Unknown said... #

I made a pumpkin bread that was better than pumpking pie. You omit the pudding and use libby's pumpkin, instead of cinnamon you use pumpkin pie spice, and instead of white sugar, use brown, also use 1/2 cup of oil, and 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of a whole cup of oil

Unknown said... #

Does anyone know how to make the recipe without creating any new starters.

Friendship Bread Kitchen said... #

Hi Tina,
We added your Amish Friendship Bread photos to Friendship Bread Kitchen. Thank you for your permission.

Chasing Lightning Bugs said... #

Do you know how many ounces the large vanilla pudding is?? :)

Tina Butler said... #

One large pudding mix is 5 0z.

Anonymous said... #

How much pumpkin do you put in the pumpkin amish bread?

Tina Butler said... #

I don't have a pumpkin variation listed. I found a version at the friendship bread kitchen and here is the link:

Pumpkin Friendship Bread

Anonymous said... #

How much libby`s pumpkin do you put in the pumpkin bread?

Unknown said... #

I think Anonymous was talking about Cassandra's comment where she gave a recipe for pumpkin bread in November of 2011. It says substitute Libbys pumpkin for the vanilla pudding but doesnt say how much to use.

Anonymous said... #

Thank you Tracy Vajda. That is what I was talking about. I just want to know how much pumpkin Cassandra put in her pumpkin bread. Thank you Tina for the pumkpin bread link. Thanks again.

Anonymous said... #

How long is the starter good for when it's been kept frozen? My mom has some inner freezer from several years ago and I was wandering if it would still be good!

Goodtwin said... #

In regards to the Pumpkin Bread variation, I have a recipe that states to use 1 cup Libby's canned Pumpkin as the last ingredient that you stir in before baking. I don't remember which site I found it on

Anonymous said... #

why doesn,t the milk go bad?

Anonymous said... #

Hi! I used to make Amish Friendship Cake all the time...I'd bake the cake in bundt pans and freeze them and give them away as gifts at the holidays or any time. For the Lemon cake I made a lemon poppyseed cake that was beautiful and delicions! Just add poppyseeds to the recipe! So pretty!

Anonymous said... #

Is the day you make the starter day 1 or is the next day?

Marybeth Hauksson said... #

Hi I read through the recipe and but when it came time to make it I forgot about the no metal thing and when it said "beat the starter" I always think beaters, mixers... Anyway should I chuck it and start over? I'm very glad to have this recipe. My sister used to make this years ago and I love it!

Anonymous said... #

I realize this post is really old, but I am hoping people still come here. I too used a whisk and then realized it was made out of metal. I am on day 1 of the starter and it looks like spoile cottage cheese. is this normal?

Anonymous said... #

I'm confused. If I want to freeze starter do I do that after the first set of 10 steps or the second set of 10 steps? I can't wait to try this but knowing when to freeze the starter would help

Unknown said... #

I freeze starter after the day six addition of flour, sugar, & milk. I also freeze on day 10 before the last addition, & also after the last addition. I label each bag with the day,

Tina Butler said... #

You can freeze your starter at any point once the starter is complete. After the 10 step cycle from making the original starter, after a starter is gifted to you, or after you make a batch of bread and yield more starter from that.

Unknown said... #

I have making Amish bread for about 15 years and have tried many different puddings. At Thanksgiving you can buy "Pumpkin Spice" pudding and tastes so good. Also try Eggnog or Buttermilk when making the bread instead of the milk. I have always used a metal bowl and metal whisk and find no difference.

Anonymous said... #

Lovely post but please from uk what puddings do you mean? To add? Like instant mouses? Think a bit got lost in translation but looks fab! Thanks so much cant wait to try!!! Thank you umm i wonder if it will go in the breadmaker???

Anonymous said... #

I'm confused! Im on day 10 of my starter and the recipe has changed I'm almost certain! I swear there was step by step directions for the starter. Please tell me Im not crazy!

katie said... #

I used to make this years ago and I used chocolate pudding and then added coconut and sliced almond, think Almond Joy. then instead of the cinnamon I used Quick chocolate mix and a bit of white sugar as the pan coating and sprinkle on the top.. tasted wonderful

Anonymous said... #

you can not read the page for the red and poka dots, thank you

Tina Butler said... #

This is a issue on your end as you are not letting my page fully load into your browser. The inside background is solid white. You need to update your browser or try a new one.

Anonymous said... #

In the starter recipe, how much sugar is there supposed to be? My recipe copy just says 1-sugar?

Tina said... #

I need a recipe for baked pumpkin donuts, not gluten free. Can anyone help? Please!

SBTLady said... #

Hi, I just found your blog. I'm confused w/the start of this recipe.
"To the remaining batter in the bowl (about 2 cups) add:" What is the remaining batter? Hate to sound so dense, but if I make this, I want to do it right.

Lynda said... #

Thanks for posting your different variations a while back. Just wondering though, when you say you make a double batch on baking day, does that mean you only take out 2 cups for 2 starter bags to keep and then you just double all the other ingredients with what is left in the bowl? Also, if you freeze a starter, you can just take it out, add the regular ingredients and bake? Not go through the process of increasing the batter through the several days, right? No feeding. It's just that bag for one baking session. I'm just trying to be clear. I've done bread before several years ago, but didn't ever double my baking day and haven't ever frozen starters. Thanks!!

Anonymous said... #

After I pull it out the freezer can I pour it directly into the loaf pan?

Ann said... #

The recipe sounds great but in the starter it says not to use metal bowls but to use a wire whisk is this alright?

Tina Butler said... #

If it is a stainless steel whisk it is fine. You can also use a wooden spoon.

Anonymous said... #

Omgosh! So glad u posted this. I was making dif flavors every 10 days for about 3 yrs in a row. Had a fam emergency, new I would be gone for 3 wks. I put a starter in freezer(dont know if that would have worked, but was going try!!) Came bck and starter had been thrown out. I was devistated!!!!! Gonna try this starter and have great bread every 10 days!!!!! I am sooo exicted!!! Ty & God Bless

Anonymous said... #


Anonymous said... #

I like to make waffles with my batter. They are so yummy, freeze beautifully and come out of the toaster as a delicious after school snack for the kiddos. Plus it uses two cups of the batter versus the one cup used in the bread. I always save out one cup to keep for myself as the starter and make the rest up in waffles.

Anonymous said... #

I forgot on my previous comment about the waffles that I use apple sauce instead of oil.

Anonymous said... #

I make the regular version with vanilla pudding and cinnamon, would love to try the chocolate.

I have started freezing the starter kits ,but have done the 10 day thing thing though. that is the only way it could be done isn't it ??

and mine only makes two loaves not 3 ??

Tina Butler said... #

This recipe makes 2 large loaves or 3 small loaves using the disposable pans I mentioned in the post and recipe (8 x 3 x 2 in).

Anonymous said... #

Glad I have access to this recipe now. Was fun passing it around, but then the hubby over ruled the last batch and made me throw them away. But not before I did some experimenting.
Cherry Vanilla- add cut up maraschino cherries and tbsp of vanilla
Egg Nog- just like it sounds add about a cup of eggnog, and a dash of nutmeg.
Orange chocolate- add 2 to 3 tbsp of zested orange peel and a handful of chocolate chips.
Pumpkin- add 1 cup of canned pumpkin pie and a dash of nutmeg or pumpkin spice.
I did one other, but I can remember. The cherry vanilla and orange chocolates were huge hits. The others were good, just not favorites around here.

Unknown said... #

I don't understand when i can freeze this.
I have made Friendship many times..... Love it! Didn't know it could be frozen !

Marci said... #

Cherry Nut; I've added (to the vanilla) 1 jar of maraschino cherries (quartered) & 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Tina Butler said... #

You can freeze the starters after you are given a starter bag from a friend and you follow the 10 day cycle to feed and separate the starter. This would be the point to freeze the individual starters instead of giving them to friends.

If you are making the starter from scratch you need to follow the recipe after the starter bubbles place the starter into a large zip lock bag. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. For the next 10 days handle the starter according to the instructions. When separating the starter this is the point where you will freeze the starters instead of giving them away.

Anonymous said... #

I still don't understand I made the starter but I'm a little confused on what to on days 2-10 am I suppose to keep adding ingredients everyday?

Anonymous said... #

Hello I started my Abs today... I used bread flour instead of all purpose will it still come out the same? Also on day 6 do I need to use all purpose instead of the bread flour?

Tina Butler said... #

If you made the starter yourself you still need to go through steps 1-10. you are not adding anything until day 10. In the homemade starter recipe it states: Place the homemade starter into a large zip lock bag. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. For the next 10 days handle the starter according to the instructions above for the Amish Friendship Bread 10 day cycle. After the 10 day cycle you can separate and give it away or freeze them in individual bags.

Tina Butler said... #

I have never used bread flour for amish friendship bread, so I do not know how the results will be. I have only used all purpose as the recipe states.

Anonymous said... #

Thank you very much I started a new starter bag with all purpose flour I'll work both of them and hopefully the bread flout will come out the same...

M Stewart said... #

I have used 1 cup each of the flour, sugar and milk as a starter and it still turns out.

M Stewart said... #

I actually do use my stand mixer, but with a glass or plastic bowl that is tall enough and my beaters are not metal

Anonymous said... #

To Anonymous of May 28, 2015, do you realize that using language correctly for written communication is more important than following recipes accurately! No need to be boorish toward someone who strives for accuracy in communication. How did you do in school? Judy

Unknown said... #

I make this bread but bake in muffin tins. Huge hit. I like to add dried tropical fruit to mine.

Unknown said... #

I just started and was wondering can I use smaller bread loaf pans for smaller breads?

AJ Alicea said... #

You can use any size or shape pan. I have used the mini loaf pan and for fun I have used mini bunte and a tulip shaped pan(made 6 @ a time)

AJ Alicea said... #

Try the sugar free pudding

AJ Alicea said... #

Most "Sour Dough" starters are very forgiving. I and others have done the same thing, no problems.

AJ Alicea said... #

Use them to make your bread or any of the other various items you can use the starter for. Or like the other folks freeze the starters until you are ready to use.

AJ Alicea said... #

I only use bread flour and have never had any problems.

AJ Alicea said... #

I just found this site. Love it! Everyone gives something new to try. I will be trying your starter, the 1 I've been using has no yeast in it.

Anonymous said... #

I always use bread flour and it works beautifully every time. Bread flour simply has a higher gluten content than AP flour. It can be substituted in any recipe.

Shelby said... #

Just thought I'd chime in...this is a bread I always love to do too!
I often swap out the oil and replace it with applesauce.

LDL said... #

Hi! I made these loaves today (the cinnamon ones) but it came out much lighter in color than the photo of your finished loaves. Any tips on how to achieve the deeper color?