Amish Friendship Bread . . . Pass It On!

amish friendship bread I remember the first time I had this bread was more than 17 years ago when we first moved to Utah from California. One of my new neighbors brought me over a loaf as a “Welcome To The Neighborhood” offering. It was over that loaf of bread that Amber and I became BFF’s. :-)  For years we have been sharing this bread with each other. Whenever one of us makes it…we make sure and give the other a loaf….and a starter.

Last week, after living across the street from each other for over 17 years, she moved away. :-(  (OK…she only moved about 1 mile and a half away….but still….)  So as a “Thanks For Being Such A Great Neighbor All These Years” gift….I broke out the old Amish Friendship Bread recipe. I haven’t made it for a couple of years, so I had to make my own “starter” for it (which is a ten-day process) but I figured her friendship was worth it. :-) And after the ten days I would have several starters and some delicious bread. A Win-Win.

What is a “starter” you ask? A starter is an “old-fashioned” method of leavening bread dough. Flour, water, and yeast, are allowed to ferment for different periods of time depending on the type of bread. A starter can also contain milk, sugar, or honey, which help speed the fermentation process. While starter breads require much more time to prepare, the flavor and texture of the bread is almost impossible to achieve with other leavening methods.

So now you know WHAT a starter is….and WHY it’s worth the wait….let’s make one.

amish friendship bread

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass containers when making this. Do not use metal! There’s a chemical reaction that occurs between the fermenting starter and metal. If your metal utensils and bowls are stainless steel it will probably be fine…but if they are scratched up at all, it will spoil your starter.


1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110ish degrees F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110ish degrees F)


In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture until combined.
Pour into a one gallon sized plastic baggie (or a plastic container). The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.
For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread below.

amish friendship bread


One of the reasons this is called “Friendship Bread” is obviously because it’s fun to share the bread and the starter with a friend. Typically, when you give the bread and a starter to that friend, you give it with instructions on what to do with the starter and the recipe for the bread. Here is how that info was given to me many moons ago!

(CLICK HERE for printable PDF)


NOTE: Do not refrigerate starter. It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment. If the bag starts to puff up, let some of the air out.

Day 1: Do nothing.
Day 2: Mash the bag.
Day 3: Mash the bag.
Day 4: Mash the bag.
Day 5: Mash the bag.
Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.
Day 7: Mash the bag.
Day 8: Mash the bag.
Day 9: Mash the bag.
Day 10: Follow the directions below:
Pour the entire bag into a nonmetal bowl.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk.
Measure out 1 cup of batter into 4 separate 1-gallon Ziploc bags.
Keep one of the bags for yourself, and give the other bags to 3 friends along with the recipe.

amish friendship bread

amish friendship bread


OK….we’ve waited LONG ENOUGH!  Let’s make the bread!

amish friendship bread


1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 large or 2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding


Preheat oven to 325° F
In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
Grease two large loaf pans.
Dust the greased pans with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture on the top.
Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens easily from the sides and a toothpick or knife blade inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

amish friendship bread

amish friendship bread

amish friendship bread

amish friendship bread

amish friendship bread


Now it’s time to reward yourself for being SO PATIENT by treating yourself to a slice or two…or three.  I had a nice thick slice of this for breakfast this morning with a nice, hot cup of Pero and it was DIVINE!!!


amish friendship bread


And after you treat YOURSELF…don’t forget to treat a friend and share the deliciousness!  Here is a cute packaging idea from Ms. Martha Stewart that I decided to try my hand at. It was fun to make and I think it makes a very nice presentation.


amish friendship bread

wax paper wrap

amish friendship bread



If you’ve had this bread before you KNOW how good it is and won’t have to be convinced that it’s definitely WORTH THE WAIT! If you HAVEN’T ever had it before….you’re going to have to trust me on this one.  This bread is SOOOO delicious!  I guarantee you will be either singing my praises for introducing it to you….or cursing my name because it’s SO addicting!  lol.  I hope it’s the former. :-)


P.S. I know I’ve given you a LOT of information here, and I’m certain there are going to be a LOT of questions. As always, I will do my best to answer (and, as always, I appreciate the people who jump in and answer questions in the comments. THANK YOU!)….but I wanted to point you in the direction of a terrific website called Friendship Bread Kitchen that has a Frequently Asked Questions section that addresses every question I think there could possibly be about this whole thing. It’s a GREAT resource!


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  1. Nelleke says

    I once got one of these, they are delicious! Here in the Netherlands it is called a ‘Herman’ btw

    I think you can easely make one GF by replacing the flour with a mixture of rice flour and corn starch.

  2. Wendy says

    I used to have a starter for this and made until we stopped eating the bread fast enough. It’s so delicious! I’m (mostly) vegan now, so I wonder if this would work using almond milk (we prefer that over soy) andy egg replacer. Has anyone ever tried it that way?

  3. Marce says

    What timing! I was flipping thru a box of recipes yesterday and came across the same recipe. Two times this recipes has crossed my path in 24 hrs. I guess, I need to make it again. And YES, it is so delish. Thank you Jillee, I think I will print out all this info to give to my “friend”!

  4. Barb B says

    I acquired a started for this 11 years ago and it has been a staple ever since. I have tweaked the recipe many times by changing the flavor of the pudding, addin chip, nuts or fruit. It is a very flexible bread. My personal favorite is cheesecake pudding and white chocolate chips.

    • Nicholle says

      I also change out the puddings, etc, to change it up. I have never used yeast though. I’ve made a starter from scratch just by guessing and never used the yeast. Hmmm…. And we were just talking about this too the other day and that I need to get some started because it would make great Christmas gifts. We don’t have a lot of money so I think I really am going to make home made Christmas gifts this year. :)

  5. says

    Hello, I´m from Spain and I have been given this identical recipe last year , it is called Tarta del Padre PIO, and you are supposed to make it and then give the starter dough to 3 persons whom you wish goog luck and it is a chain of friendship that keeps circulating.

  6. Susan says

    I have had a starter for this going on about 5 years now. I have gotten so many friends “addicted” to this bread. I, like Barb B, love the Cheesecake pudding and White Chocolate Chip Version. I have a list of all kinds of different variations. I freeze mine when I get tired of making the bread and need a break from it, then just lay it on counter and count that as day one!!!

  7. Bernie says

    Hi! This looks great! I have had a recipe for Amish Friendship Bread for 20+ years, but this one looks better! Going to try it starting this week! BTW: the PDF printable format didn’t seem to include the starter recipe. Maybe it was meant to do that, just wanted to let you know and thank you!! :)

    • Jenny says

      Bernie did your Amish bread not have pudding in it? I had that one over 10 years ago and have been looking for a starter for it ever since, do you know of one or maybe I could use this starter, any thoughts?

  8. Jill Mount says

    I have written before, but as I read through the Amish Friendship bread recipe I just started thinking about your home. You seem to have several different “science projects” started all over the place. Yesterday when you talked about the Greek yogurt in the crockpot, today the friendship bread starter that took 10 days. I admire you abilities to juggle all of these different projects. Your projects always show your willingness to help as you extend your hand of friendship to your readers. My Mother used to make this bread, I’m unable to make it now, but I’m saving the recipe because “one of these days…” I’m going to enjoy it again! Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Laurie Ehlke says

    Did you know you can “capture” wild yeast from the air around you? And use pineapple juice as a base? It is basically a sourdough starter, which is pretty much what friendship bread is ☺ Not to redirect anyone away from this wonderful site ♥ but if you check out, they tell you how to do it, along with tons of other bread recipes….I have actually done it this way, and I can tell you the results are awesome! My husband made me stop making bread, because he was gaining too much weight! Happy baking all!

  10. bre m says

    I used to make herman bread when I was little. Always got a kick out of it when gram would tell me it was time to feed herman though our started I thought was refrigerated. Its been a couple adds now so who knows. But……there were other recipes. You could use the starter to make coffee cake and pancakes as well and I’m sure other things too

  11. Cam B says

    I’ve been making this recipe for years! After tons and tons of starter being thrown out (no one would take it) my aunt said, “Honey, you know its easier to substitute 1 cup of buttermilk for starter”. I gave it a whirl…and wu lah! Amazing and even more moist than before. Now its much easier to throw together:) Hope this helps!

  12. says

    Thanks for this recipe! We just had a few new people move into the neighbourhood. I think I’ll make this up and bring some over! I know I’ll be asked the question, so I figure I should ask it first – can the starter be frozen?

  13. Deborah Jennings says

    This bread is so good! I think I am going to have to make some for Christmas gifts this year. The only difference in your recipe and mine is I put mine in a jar and cover it with a clean cloth, tied on with a rubber band. Have you ever tried adding nuts to it? It is good that way, too.

  14. Margaret says

    Seems lovely!
    But, how much is one dry yeast package? I never use dry yeast, but I know I can buy it.
    The other problem is the Jello instant pudding, I cannnot buy it in Sweden. Can I omit it or change it with somethig else?

  15. says

    YAY! I haven’t had this bread since we moved from Kodiak…14 yrs ago!! Never knew how to make the starter! Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year!! LOL My kids love to add things to it…like (of course) chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, etc. Thanks so much Jillee!!xoxoxo

  16. Heather says

    I am sorry but I’ve never done this. I am a little confused. When you get to the stage that you break it into 4 zip lock bags do you make a loaf of bread then? With the 4 bags do you start the 10 day process again? From my understanding it’s passed on and on is that right? Thanks for helping me understand this process better, I really want to do this and thanks for you AWESOME post all the time.

    • Diane says

      Yes, you make a loaf then. You can either start the process over again (and end up with several batches of starter ready to use for bread) or pass it on to some friends.

      You can also use it to make friendship bread without restarting the starter (and say that 3 times fast!). I have some stocked up in my freezer (I did it on purpose to have some ready to go at a moment’s notice) and just pull out a bag about 15 minutes before I want to mix the batter and continue as normal. HTH!

      • Charlene Ogle says

        I can’t give away all my “starters”. Can I make bread from the 1 cup starters I can’t give away and if I can do I use 2 of the starters for 2 loaves of bread? This is my first time ever to make this bread. After I measured out the 4 starters I measured the “rest” and it was approximately 2 cups so do I need 2 of the starters to make 2 more loaves of bread?
        Pardon my ignorance.

  17. Chris says

    Jillee I have a question. I have a recipe almost the same as this one and all through out it, it says do not use metal. I noticed on your pictures you used a metal measuring cup to dip up the one cup starter bags for later and also used a metal whisk. Now my question is can you use metal and not have any issues with it? I have always been chicken to try and just wanted to know.

    • says

      good question Chris. :-) Since my utensils are stainless steel I don’t really worry about using them. (But I should have made that more clear.) Other types of metal–like silver, aluminum, copper, etc, will change the color of the utensil & leave a metallic taste in the food. Stainless steel prevents this.

  18. Linda Barnes says

    Well I make this all the time , also this time of the year I put I can of pumpkin in it , also I make it in chocolate , using chocolate pudding and nuts and chocolate chips , also I do lemon with poppy seeds , just change the pudding to lemon, this is so flexable , if you don’t have anyone to give the starter too use it to bake another cake {2 cakes . J ust have fun with it .

  19. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been the recipient of the shared mix but I never knew how to make my own starter! We love this bread so much I would freeze an extra so we could make it again and again! I might add a tip for you, I have used many different pudding mixes in mine, we love the cheesecake pudding, lemon pudding and pumpkin pudding the best! I mix lemon zest with the sugar instead of the cinnamon for the lemon pudding. Oh yes the pistachio was wonderful too! I will surely be making this tomorrow!

  20. Melanie says

    I was just looking for a good Amish Friendship Bread starter last week, but was too scared to try one! I’m going to try yours though- because for some reason I trust you :) Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  21. Amanda says

    You know what I have never understood about this recipe? The pudding. Do the Amish REALLY go out and buy a box of pudding to add to their bread?! That’s also the reason I end up throwing out most starters people give me, because I just don’t ever have pudding on hand and I rarely have it on the day I’m supposed to bake the bread. If anyone could find an Amish Friendship Bread recipe without the pudding, that would be one I would want to try! :)

    • says

      Amanda….not ALL Amish Friendship Bread recipes have pudding in them.

      Here is one I found:

      Friendship Cake with Herman Sourdourgh Starter

      3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup oil, 2 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

      Beat until smooth. Add your choice of raisins, chopped nuts, dried fruit, chopped apples, cherries, pineapple, etc. Pour into tube or bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (start checking after 40 min.)

  22. Cynthia says

    Jillee, this is an amazing gift idea. So cute the way you packaged it, too. I wonder if I could find a cute way to package the starter as well, so I can give it, too? Great idea for the holidays!

    • Cynthia says

      Oh! And…what do you do with the rest of the starter? I mean, put starter into 4 bags before you made the bread, right? So, if you give a loaf of bread and a bag of starter to one friend, what happens to the other 3 bags?

    • Desiree says

      You could think about putting it in the fancy mason jars or buying regular mason jars and putting a decorative paper on top of the lid before you put on the ring. And then printing the recipe on a cute card and attaching it by stringing it through a ribbon and then tying it to the jar. That’s what I’m thinking about doing.

  23. susan d. says

    I have a question . . . is there any way that the bread can be made without the INSTANT PUDDING??? I would hate to go through all that work with all those great ingredients and ruin it with a bunch of yucky chemicals. Any suggestions out there?

  24. Jennifer says

    I don’t have the patience to read all the comments but I wanted to tell you that you can freeze the starters when everyone you know is so sick of them they won’t take them anymore haha. I’ve done it a few times and then just taken one out to make a loaf, or eventually made new starters to give when people start asking about it again.

  25. Catrina mathis says

    If have buttermilk to use up how do i substitute it please…..and I just love this blog I’ve made so many of your posts and love to introduce my friends to your site thank you fot doing it

  26. says

    Hi! Love your blog and emails. My Mom had a starter for over 10 years. It was lost after she passed. Is it possible to keep it alive outside of the freezer. Could I keep it in a mason jar? Does it need to be fed? If so what and how much? Don’t know how she did it. Just remember people asking her for some. Thanks in advance. Dee

  27. sally pooh says

    If you are really into Friendship Bread; there is a GREAT book out by the same name. The story is great & there are all sorts of recipies @ the end of the book. Love this bread! Thank You Jillie for reminding us about it. Fall is the perfect time for this bread.

  28. says

    oh my goodness i just made this a few days ago. It turned out FANTASTIC. Thanks for the “science” behind the process. I didn’t keep a starter because I didn’t feel like making another batch but tonight my husband’s grandma asked for more and I told her I couldn’t make it because I didn’t know how to start it, but now I do thanks to you!

  29. Melissa says

    I used to make this all the time. I was able to divide the recipe down so instead of making 4 starters each time it only made on and I continued to make my own bread every 10 days. I also changed up the pudding mix. Chocolate pudding is really good and my favorite (perfect for the fall season) is the limited edition pumpkin pudding. So Yummy!

  30. Jan Luna says

    Hello, I love this bread but didn’t know you could freeze the starter! Thank you so much for that info!
    We love it with raisins and pecans. Yum! My kids bought this starter home from school one year. Or I
    would just be learning of it now. Oh and by the way, I have seen and heard the Amish and Mennonite
    Ladies in the store, say, Get some instant pudding for the bread! They also fill up on tomato sauce, canned
    soup, boxes of crackers. Their groceries look just like mine at the check out. LOL Their lives have been
    changed in a lot of ways. They are busier making crafts to sell, and furniture, Quilts, food, etc. Some
    of the Mennonites in our area drive cars, and use tractors too. The Amish won’t use the cars and tractors,
    but they will use a phone, ride in a neighbor’s car to the grocery store. And they have paid other farmers
    to plow their land with tractors. This old world is changing. And everything changes with it at some point.
    Thank you for this web site. I love it. And I know how much work you put into it. Hugs, and Prayers, Jan

  31. Jan Luna says

    Sorry, it’s me again. My Daughter in law uses butterscotch pudding as well. And boy is it Good!
    Also, I put in less oil, and then used a cup of applesauce when baking, added raisins and pecans
    or walnuts. That was also good. Oh and I have also put zucchini or shredded carrots, and raisins,
    and nuts. It comes out like a mini carrot cake. I put a little cream cheese frosting on it and serve it
    for dessert! Just play with it. You can make all kinds of things.
    I know, I’m wordy, forgive me. Hugs, Jan

    • Cynthia says

      I’m SO glad you posted about the mini carrot cake idea! I was just thinking that I need to make a carrot cake from scratch. This sounds like it would be amazing as one, and not nearly as time-consuming!
      Also, I bet that instead of applesauce, you could use other purees as well. Like, for example, pumpkin or butternut squash. Besides keeping the cake moist, it would boost the nutrition factor by a bunch! Thanks for the ideas. I can’t wait to share these recipes with my friends and family.

  32. Suzanne says

    Cranberry-Orange Amish Friendship Bread
    When making the basic recipe, substitute orange juice for milk. Before baking, stir in 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (colored portion of peel) and 1 cup dried cranberries.
    Mounds Bar Amish Friendship Bread
    To the basic recipe add 1 (5.1 oz) box of chocolate instant pudding, an additional 1/2 cup milk, chocolate chips and coconut
    Caramel Apple Friendship Bread
    Omit cinnamon from the basic recipe. Add 1 (5.1 oz) box of instant caramel pudding, an additional 1/2 cup milk and 2 cups dried apples.
    Strawberry Amish Friendship Bread
    To the basic recipe add 1 small box of strawberry jello and an additional 1/2 cup milk. Add 1 cup thawed strawberries.
    Have fun with it!

  33. Dawn Beimler says

    OMG!!!! I was given a starter back in 1987 and kept it going about a year and made every type of bread loaf you could imagine! Always wanted to make more! Thank you for sharing the starter recipe and bringing up some wonderful old memories! :)

  34. Amanda says

    Jillee, I <3 your website! It's fabulous! I use tips from it all the time. This starter is one I have used yrs ago and reminds me of my mom, grandma & church ladies I grew up around! Thanks so much for sharing, I will make a starter tomorrow & look forward to sharing with my friends.

  35. Anna says

    I recently took the plunge and purchased a jar of yeast. Now I’m not sure how much was actually in each package and all the recipes I want to try call for 1 package. Is that equal to 1 tsp?

  36. chefdrea says

    I made this years ago from a recipe that was posted in our newspaper. I must have made hundreds of loaves of this stuff over the years and besides the traditional cinnamon/sugar and the chocolate with chocolate chips these were a few others that were extremely popular with my recipients.

    Butterscotch pudding, nuts, toffee bits, or chocolate chips
    Coconut cream pudding,coconut, chocolate chips, vanilla or chocolate flavoring
    Banana cream pudding, bananas, nuts

    There are so many variations and they’re all great! My recipe also includes how to change the measurements to limit to one starter or increase to several starters. Good to see people making this again!

  37. WendyW says

    If i freeze the starter(after the 10 day fermenting process).. would i just freeze it it in the 1 cup batches and then take out the 1 cup batch and count that as day 1 of the process?
    And the bread will rise after the yeast being frozen? Thanks for any help!

  38. WendyW says

    Chefdrea… could you please share how we can cut down the recipe so we dont have so many starters? I dont have many people to share this with and i’d hate for all the extra starters to go to waste.. Thank you.

  39. says

    I understand the first part of making the
    after I keep one bag for myself, and give the other 3 away, What do I do with the one that I keep? I understand that I can freeze it. But how do I keep it going if I want more?

    • Tonya says


      With the starter you keep, you just do the same thing all over (day 10 has now become day 1). You mash the bag each day, then feed it on day 6, then feed and bake again on day 10.

      My family and I love it so much we started a second batch so we could bake every 5 days instead of 10. :-)


  40. says

    Sorry, I didn’t finish this sentence….I understand the first part of making the bread but after I keep one bag for myself, and give the other 3 away, What do I do with the one that I keep? I understand that I can freeze it. But how do I keep it going if I want more?

    • says

      The best way to maintain your starter is to freeze it, then give it a feeding before you bake. If you freeze one cup of starter then feed it 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk once it’s thawed, it’ll start bubbling soon as it returns to room temperature and then you’ll have enough to bake and put the remainder back in the freezer.

      • says

        Thanks Jillee, So let me see if I understand completely. I have to make this!! So I make the starter. Divide it into 4 bags. Freeze a bag for myself. When I’m ready to use that bag add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk once it’s thawed. Then I’ll just use 1 cup of that and put the rest in the freezer for another time. Then when I’m ready to make more I’ll add another 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk once it’s thawed and repeat this over and over again? No more yeast?


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