Amish Friendship Bread Instructions


Start to Finish: 10 days for starter, 1 hour for bread
Servings: 2 loaves bread, 4 starter portions
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Amish friendship bread not only means sharing the bread but also the starter that makes possible this delicious and hearty baked delight. It's not a recipe you can whip up with electric mixer or any sort of modern equipment; use wooden spoons and ceramic containers to make the starter. After that, keep one starter portion to bake your bread and share the remaining portions with friends or family members. That's what makes it friendship bread.


  • For the Starter

    • 1/4 ounce package of active instant dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 cup granulated or baker's sugar
    • 1 cup warmed whole milk
    • 2 cups each of flour, sugar and milk for day 5 and day 10 of starter process

    For the Bread

    • 1 cup starter
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)

Kick Start the Starter

  • If you are nervous about making it yourself, order a starter kit. It takes just as long but it's foolproof.

    Day 1

    • In a small glass bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
    • With a wooden spoon, slow stir in the yeast mixture and the milk.
    • Cover loosely and let the mixture stand for a day in a warm, dry place. It will become bubbly.

    Days 2 to 4

    • For the next 3 days, stir the starter 10 times each day. Do not refrigerate.

    Day 5 and Beyond

    • On day 5, stir in 1 cup each of flour, milk and sugar.
    • Stir with a wooden spoon several times a day.

    • On day 10, add another 1 cup each of flour, milk and sugar and blend well with a wooden spoon.

    Reserve 1 cup of starter for your bread, make up one cup portions in glass jars or sturdy plastic bags to share with your friends.

Bake the Bread

  • Using a wooden spoon, combine all the bread ingredients in the order given. Leave out the nuts and raisins if you prefer.

    Divide the batter into two battered and sugared loaf pans and bake for an hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tips, Tricks and Additions

    • If you are lucky enough to have a friend with a spare batch of starter, you'll be able to start baking your friendship bread right away.

    • Do not use metal utensils or bowls in preparation of the starter.

    • Using butter to grease the baking pan adds a rich flavor dimension.

    • Three ounces of instant vanilla pudding is a modern addition that makes the bread more moist.

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  • Photo Credit Nancy Brammer/iStock/Getty Images
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