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It’s one of the most delicious quick breads that you will ever taste, and you’ve just GOT to share it with friends! This easy Amish Friendship Bread is laced with notes of cinnamon and sugar for a sweet breakfast, snack or dessert that pairs perfectly with a warm cup of coffee.
Have you guys heard about Amish Friendship Bread before? I recently tried it for the first time when my friend Jackie brought me some of her bread (along with a bag of the starter), and I was hooked. I just had to share this with all of you! After all, you’re my friends, right?!
Before we get into the details of exactly what Amish Friendship Bread is, let me just say that this is one of the best quick breads that I’ve ever made! It’s so moist, so rich in flavor, and so warmly spiced for the season. Thanks to a cinnamon-sugar topping, you get a great sweet crust on the top and a fluffy, tender inside. You’re seriously going to love it!
This Amish Friendship Bread is so good, in fact, that it earned a spot in the breadbasket on our Thanksgiving table. My kids were definitely happy about that!
What is Amish Friendship Bread?
This cinnamon-flavored bread has the consistency of a pound cake or coffee cake, and is dusted with a cinnamon-sugar topping. It’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, snack, dessert, or even a side dish with a special dinner.
What is the story behind Amish Friendship Bread?
So here’s the deal with Amish Friendship Bread: each batch begins with a starter (made with flour, yeast, sugar, and milk). You’re supposed to share the starter with 3 friends every time you prepare a batch of the bread. Those friends then make their own bread, and share the starter with 3 more friends. You get the idea — it’s basically like the bread version of an old-school chain letter! The recipe (and starter) is passed along like a chain from one friend to the next.
But don’t worry! You don’t have to wait for a friend to give you a batch of her starter in order to be able to prepare this Amish Friendship Bread!
My friend Jackie gave me my first batch of starter and the bread recipe to go with it, but I have also included the instructions for making your own starter here. Now you can get the chain going!
Is Amish Friendship Bread the same as sourdough?
No, the starter used for Amish Friendship Bread includes milk and sugar, so it’s much sweeter than a traditional sourdough starter.
Amish Friendship Bread without Starter
Don’t want to mess with a large batch of starter? You can enjoy this version of Amish Friendship Bread that’s made without starter.
Printable Amish Friendship Bread Instructions and Recipe
I have included the recipe and instructions in this printable PDF so that you can share it with all of your friends!
Here’s a quick look at the process for making the Amish Friendship Bread, which is incredibly EASY! Yes, it takes 10 days, but you don’t have to do much other than squish your bag around and wait during that 10-day period.
How to Make Amish Friendship Bread
It’s a fun activity for the kids to get involved with, and it’s a great way to share some love and baked goods with friends this holiday season!
Don’t forget that you can print out a full set of instructions with the recipe HERE.
Tips for the Best Amish Friendship Bread Recipe
- Do NOT use any metal spoons or bowls when mixing.
- Do NOT refrigerate the starter.
- If air gets into the bag, let it out.
- It’s normal for the starter to rise, bubble and ferment.
Amish Friendship Bread Instructions and Baking Schedule:
- Day 1: Do nothing. This is the date that you receive the bag of starter (or the date that you make your own batch of starter). Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 2: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 3: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 4: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 5: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 6: Add to the bag – 1 CUP OF FLOUR, 1 CUP OF SUGAR, and 1 CUP OF MILK. Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 7: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 8: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 9: Squish and mush the bag.
- Day 10: BAKING DAY! Mix and divide the starter as follows:
Mixing and Dividing the Starter on Day 10:
Pour the entire contents of the starter bag into a non-metal bowl and add:
- 1 ½ cups of flour
- 1 ½ cups of sugar
- 1 ½ cups of milk
Measure out 4 separate batches of the starter batter (1 cup each) and place into large gallon-size Ziploc bags. Keep one bag of starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends, along with a copy of these instructions. The batter that remains in the large bowl will be used for baking your Amish Friendship Bread, as instructed below:
Cinnamon Sugar Amish Friendship Bread
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 large (5 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix (just the dry mix)
- For the Topping: 1/4 cup of sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
TO PREPARE THE AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD ON DAY 10:
- Preheat oven to 325F/160C. Spray two large loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
- After adding the additional flour, sugar, and milk to the starter and dividing the starter into separate bags (as instructed above), you should have some starter batter still left in your large bowl.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the starter batter in the large bowl (eggs through pudding mix).
- Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared loaf pans.
- In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Bake in the 325F/160C oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then remove bread from pans.
- If you keep a starter bag for yourself, you can repeat the baking process every 10 days.
RE: Out of friends, overwhelmed by starter
This starter was given to me, and we made delicious bread! I decided to keep all the new starters to make neighbor treats, but now I have four batches ready to go, and no way to get rid of 16 new starters. Is there a way to make the bread on Day 10 without creating the host of starters from each one? I only have so many friends and freezer space, and if the start becomes sentient, my kitchen is doomed.
Hi, May! I think that I understand your question. 🙂 I honestly don’t know what to suggest, since I’ve never tried making the bread without the full recipe. You might do what one reader suggested in a comment — just make the bread from scratch without a starter (see her recipe). That way you’re not creating a bunch of extra starters that you don’t have any use for. Hope that helps!
May, I have done this before (on a smaller scale). On day 10, I add the milk/flour/sugar. Then I put 1c of the mixture into two bags. I double the recipe for what you add to the bowl, then bake 4 loaves. I then either freeze or give away the two starter bags. I think we have 6 starter bags in our freezer right now, and are no longer slaves to ta starter 🙂
Theoretically, if you wanted to use up all of the starter mix, you could add the milk/flour/sugar, leave it all in the bowl, and multiply the other ingredients you add by 4. Then bake 8 loaves, and you’re good to go!
Hope this helps.
Has anyone used banana pudding and bananas in their recipe? How did it turn out?
Hi, thank you for the recipe. I made mine and it was absolutely delicious. I have a question though, what if it’s day 10 and I don’t want to share the starter, can I divide the whole batch of starter to make 4 loaves instead of 2 loaves only?
On day 10, after i have added the milk sugar and flour and divided into 4 batches … do i add more milk flour and sugar to the bowl with the remainder ingredients? Im trying to decipher what it means to “add remaining ingredients”
Hey, Alisha! On Day 10, after you’ve divided the 4 batches, you can set aside 3 bags of starter to give to your friends and keep 1 cup of the starter for yourself. Put your 1 cup of starter in a non-metal bowl. To your 1 cup of starter in the bowl, add the 3 eggs, 1 cup of canola oil, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups flour, 1 large box dry instant pudding mix). Stir together. This is your batter. Divide the batter between two loaf pans and bake as instructed.
Yes. Replace the pudding with banana pudding and add a mashed banana everything c else the same. Makes 2 nice loaves. Everyone loved it!
Great tip, Pam!
My recipe calls to feed on the 5th and 10th day. It is 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk added both times.
I accidentally added 1.5 cups each of sugar , flour and milk in day 6. What should I do? I am in day 10 today.
Hi, Shannon! I honestly don’t know. 🙁
Can you make this without the instant pudding? Very hard to find here, especially now with grocery shopping time extremely limited. Also, do you know if there is a substitution for yeast that can be used? Love this recipe and would love to be able to make it with my limited resources.
Hi, Teresa! I know, it’s definitely tough to find groceries at the moment! I’ve never tried the bread without the pudding mix, so I have no idea if it would work or how the consistency/flavor would change. I also haven’t tried making it without the yeast, and I worry that the texture would be really off without it. Not sure though!
It sounds like what you’re looking for it a cinnamon-sugar quick bread recipe. I would suggest using this recipe for my Brown Sugar Cinnamon Muffins, but bake the batter in a loaf pan instead of in a muffin tin. It doesn’t require pudding mix or yeast, but will give you a similar flavor. https://www.theseasonedmom.com/cinnamon-muffins/ If baking in a loaf pan, I would use a 350 degree F oven for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until cooked through. Hope that helps!
Thank you Blair. Just now saw your reply, so apologize for the late response. I have tried without the pudding and it didn’t change the consistency all that much. Of course living at 8000 ft above sea level makes baking a challenge to itself. Thank you for all your delicious recipes. Take care and God bless.
Great to know! Thanks, Teresa! 🙂
Just viewed recipe. The printable directions, 2 pages, with your logo, is missing milk in the bread baking part of recipe. I have a recipe for 1/2 cup of milk. Yours on web page says 1 cup. But not on the printable one! Which is correct??? Thanks.
Also, on day 10 my recipe calls for only 1 cup each of flour, sugar & milk. Will that be ok? Yours says
1 1/2 cup.
Hi, Barbara! I just double-checked both sets of directions and they both include 1 cup of milk when you go to bake your portion of the starter on baking day. Hope that helps. 🙂
Hello! I received a starter from a family member but got confused o. The day. So I didn’t add the Day 6 ingredients until Day 7. Should I bake on Day 10 even though the ingredients in the middle were added a day late or wait and bake on Day 11? Thanks in advance!
I would wait until day 11. I have waited to bake on day 11, and it was delicious! Plus that gives your day 6 (7) ingredients the full 4 days to ferment.
Yes — I agree with Heather! It won’t hurt to wait until day 11 to bake. 🙂
Is it okay to make it on day 10? That would be more convenient for me but I don’t want to mess it up lol
Yes, I would think so. 🙂
Hi, I was just wondering if you could use Instant Yeast for this bread. I have never tried it before and that’s what I have on hand. So I was just wonder if it would work just as good as the dry active yeast.
Hi, Jo! I think it can be done with no problem, but I haven’t tried it myself. Here’s a helpful link that explains how to swap out the regular dry active yeast for instant yeast in recipes: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/6620-yeast-types
Hope that helps, and enjoy!
I am so grateful to find this recipe! I had it years ago when a friend of mine gave it to me with some starter. I continued making the recipe, in mini loaves so I could give one as a sample with the recipe and starter, for over a year. I also put walnuts in mine. People who were unable to make their own requested it from me every ten days! It’s so delicious! In many moves the recipe was lost. I now live in an Assisted Living facility and would like to make this for my new friends and my church family. Thank you so much for posting it. I also put it in my Pinterest account. That way I shouldn’t lose it again.
That’s awesome, Cheryl! I’m so glad that you found the recipe so that you can share it with your new friends now. Enjoy!!!
I made this recipe today,absolutely delicious I have 4 bags of starter. I can freeze them no problem. I am not able to give any bags away.. My question is, after I defrost a bag and do the day process, can I bake 2 loaves without making additional bags?
Hi, Linda! I’m not really sure how that would work. To just bake 2 loaves from the thawed bag, you’d have to discard 3/4 of that bag and then just use the remaining 1/4 of the bag with 1/4 of the dry ingredients called for in the recipe. It would be a lot of math, but you could do it. 🙂
I am at day 10, and I’m not sharing any. Can I just take 1 cup out of my bag and do the bake, with out having to add the last bit of milk, sugar and flour? I don’t see why I have to add to just throw it away. Every 10 days I’ve been baking and just want to stop for a while. Already have some in the freezer.
Hi, Linda! I honestly don’t know. I haven’t tried baking some of the mix without adding the other ingredients. If you give it a shot, let me know if it turns out. That would be helpful for others to know, too. 🙂
I finally tried this yesterday. It worked well and the bread was great. The only difference was that the loaves were smaller than usual. So adding the extra flour, sugar and milk must increase the batter a little to make 2 loaves. Next time I will make one large loaf and some smaller loaves with what is left.
I’m not understanding why I would have to discard 3/4 of bag. Can’t I just use 1 cup, before I add on day 10, and then add baking ingredients to bake? Wouldn’t it be the same as day 10 instructions without adding? I just feel it is such a waste to add and throw it out.
Hi Linda! Removing a portion is a component in every starter to achieve the desired end result. You have to do the same for sourdough starter too. You don’t need to toss it though; you can use it in a recipe instead. Try subbing for sour cream in cake or tea bread. I bet it would be delicious!
Thanks for explaining that, Robyn! 🙂
Delicious.! It takes like a cake.
Thanks, Tabitha! I totally agree — such a treat! 🙂
I got a starter from a friend and just baked the bread two days ago. It was delicious! My husband loved it. I was wondering if I could add mashed bananas to make it like a banana bread? Would I leave something out and use the banana as a substitute maybe? Maybe the milk? Thanks! Was also glad to learn I can freeze the starters. I was only able to give one away so still have 3.
Hi, Christine! I’m so glad that it was a hit! Bananas are a great substitute for some of the fat that’s typically called for in quick bread recipes. I would try replacing half of the oil with an equal amount of mashed bananas and see how that works. Let us know if you give it a shot!
Hi! Just made this bread at it was delicious!
Question.. the recipe says to put a cup of starter into 4 bags, then make bread with what is left in the bowl. With the 4th bag you save for yourself, can I just make bread 10 days later? Or do I have to split that bag into 4 again?
Hi, Rosie! Great question…and I’m not sure that I have the correct answer since I’ve never tried to think this through before. Maybe someone else can weigh in, too! My thought is that since you have to “feed” the starter to keep it alive by adding the flour, sugar and milk on Day 6, you’ll need to divide it up again at the end to keep the ratios/proportions correct for each loaf.
Hello, this is the first time I will be making this! Do you need to bake the bread in glass loaf pans or can they be metal? Thank you for posting!
Hi, Colleen! You can use any loaf pan — metal will be fine! 🙂
Love this, we are on our second round. I am wondering if anyone has tried transitioning this starter into a sourdough bread recipe? Best regards!
Thanks, Michael! I honestly have no idea if the starter would work for sourdough bread. Sorry I’m not an expert in that arena. 🙂
Hello. Many asked how much batter is left after you divide up the 4, one cup bags. I made mine today and I measured it out so everyone would k ow and it was 2 cups. I also added 3 ripe mashed bananas and cut the oil down to 1/2 cup and it came out great! Happy baking and Thanksgiving everyone.
That’s so helpful, Debi! Thanks for taking the time to measure and leave a note! 🙂
Are there other non-sweet bread recipes you can use this same starter for? For instance, a white bread or sourdough bread? I have tried to find some but the starter recipes are different, this is the starter that I have.
I’ve used my friendship starter to make French bread before; it came out sweet, a bit like Hawaiian bread. I would guess that any savory bread you make will have a sweet undertone because of the amount of sugar in the starter. I bet it would make an excellent corn bread. You should be able to substitute the starter for any recipe that has sour cream or buttermilk. I have this sourdough jalapeno cornbread recipe that I’ve been wanting to try with friendship starter – if you make it let me know how it goes!
Alaska Jack’s Jalapeno Pepper Cornbread
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups starter
1 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
2 eggs – slightly beaten
1 cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese – shredded
1 cup onion -chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
Combine corn meal, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Scald milk, pour over corn meal; cool to lukewarm. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into buttered 9 inch square pan. Bake at 425 F for 40 minutes.
Sounds awesome! Thanks, Robyn!
How should you store baked Amish friendship bread. How long will it last?
I let mine cool 24 hours in the pan, cover it with parchment paper, placed carefully in a freezer bag and put it in freezer. I done this because I’m making a Hard Candy Christmas and my ppl will be getting homemade food/gifts. I will be making the last two loaves today, 6 loaves total.
Great tip, and a great gift idea, Gayle! 🙂
Hi, Mary! Let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly and store it at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
Hi! So, I pulled some starter out of the freezer about 9 days ago. I remember when we were using it before, I found myself “burping” the bag almost daily. I haven’t had to release any gases this time! Do you think it will still be good? I’m hoping to give loaves away to the neighbors for the holidays, so I’m hoping it’ll still work! Thanks in advance.
Hi, Heather! I know that many folks have had great success with freezing the starter, so I think it should work fine for you. No guarantees, though, since I have no idea if your particular starter is still good. I’d do a test batch and see how it turns out. If it doesn’t work well, then you can change plans slightly and still bake a version of the bread without starter to share with friends. Just google “Amish Friendship Bread no starter” and you should find plenty of options. Hope that helps!
Update: they did great!! I had two bags of starter and made 10 loaves of bread (plus two bags of starter). Did one triple batch and one double batch. I haven’t tasted them yet, but they seem to have turned out perfectly!
Awesome, Heather! I’m so glad that it worked well for you. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note and let me know!
I forgot to add the ingredients on Day 6. Now it is day 11. Do you think I could add the ingredients of Day 6 and then wait 4 days to to begin the process to make additional starters and bake some bread for myself?
Yes, I think that will be fine! 🙂
On Day 10, if I want to bake the bread without making 4 starters, what would I do?
Hi, Becky! I suppose you could measure out just 1/4 of the starter, add 1/4 of the additional ingredients (so just 0.375 cups each of flour, sugar and milk), and then prepare according to the recipe from there. You’d still have extra starter leftover, which you could discard if you don’t want to use it.