Amish Friendship Bread (+ Starter)

What is Amish Friendship Bread? It’s a sweet bread made with a sourdough/yeast starter. It’s a community bread that is passed on from friend-to-friend. It’s shared like a chain-letter.

Before this friendship bread, I had never attempted a sourdough starter. I was excited to learn just how easy and low-maintenance it was!

It’s truly one of the most heavenly-tasting breads I’ve ever made. There are a few recipes out there for Amish Friendship Bread, but I have tested and adjusted this recipe to perfection…and even included a Pumpkin Amish Friendship Bread recipe!

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Day 1: Make the starter (see below) and place in the bag.
Days 2-4:
Mash the bag daily.
Day 5:
Feed the starter (see below). Mash the bag.
Days 7-9:
Mash the bag daily.
Day 10:
Feed the starter, then follow the bread recipe (see below), and gift to friends

I highly recommend that you go through the 10-day cycle and bake the bread according to directions. Then, if you want to make adjustments, you can with later batches. Note: Do not refrigerate starter. It needs to be at room-temperatue to rise and ferment.

STARTER (Day 1):

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk

Directions: Stir yeast into warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir sugar and flour together. Whisk in milk, until mixture is smooth. Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture. When finished mixing, place mixture in a gallon ziploc bag and seal, releasing all the air. Store on the counter.

Don’t forget to do the following after making the starter…

  • Days 2-4: Mash the bag.
  • Day 5: Feed the starter (Feeding #1) — see below
  • Days 6-9: Mash the bag.
  • Day 10: Feed the starter (Feeding #2), Bake the bread, and Gift part of starter to friends

FEEDING #1 (Day 5):

Feed the starter: add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk to the bag and then seal the bag. Mash until ingredients are incorporated.

BREAD RECIPE / FEEDING #2 (Day 10):

Before you bake the bread, feed the starter: add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk to the bag and then seal the bag. Mash until ingredients are incorporated.

Next, reserve 1 cup starter to continue growing on your counter. Consider Day 10 to be Day 1 (restart the cycle) and repeat all the instructions starting with Day 2 tomorrow.

Then, remove 1 cup starter to use in the Amish Friendship Bread Recipe (see below).

To gift to friends, measure out 1 cup of remaining starter in a new gallon ziploc bag for each friend. Make sure you have saved enough for the bread recipe and for restarting the cycle (see above).

AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD RECIPE

  • 1 cup starter
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (whole wheat floor also works well)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • + cinnamon sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease pan(s) well with nonstick spray or shortening. (Note: you can bake bread in 2 bread pans or in 1 cake pan (9×13). If possible, use a light-colored pan, as darker pans will make the bottom of the bread brown faster.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine starter, oil sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix gently until fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
  4. Place batter in prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake bread for 35-45 minutes. Make sure to check the bread starting at 35 minutes, as each oven varies in heat distribution. Bread will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.

BONUS: Pumpkin Amish Friendship Bread…you’re welcome.

PUMPKIN AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD RECIPE

  • 1 cup starter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (whole wheat floor also works well)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • + cinnamon sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease pan(s) well with nonstick spray or shortening. (Note: you can bake bread in 2 bread pans or in 1 cake pan (9×13). If possible, use a light-colored pan, as darker pans will make the bottom of the bread brown faster.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine starter, pumpkin, oil sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix gently until fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
  4. Place batter in prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake bread for 35-45 minutes. Make sure to check the bread starting at 35 minutes, as each oven varies in heat distribution. Bread will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.
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