Amish Friendship BreadEstimated Cost:  $10.00

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Wait Time:  10 days

Cook Time:  1 hour

Serves: 16

Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use.

A common recipe using this starter suggests using one cup of it to make bread, keeping one cup to start a new cycle, and giving the remaining three cups to friends. The process of sharing the starter makes it somewhat like a chain letter. One cup of starter makes one standard loaf of bread.

What I like about Amish Friendship bread is that you get to share it with friends. I like to print out a copy of the recipe to hand along with the 1 cup of starter. Many times I’ll give all 4 cups of starter away, knowing in 10 or 20 days I am likely to get one back.

I would like to share two recipes in this posting. The first is how to begin the process. The second is the recipe you use the starter in (the good stuff).

Of special note, avoid using any metal containers or utensils in either of these recipes. This is one of those times I wish I was Alton Brown to better explain the scientific reason behind this rule. It’s my understanding that certain metals can break down during the fermentation process of the yeast. As it breaks down the metal puts off something that kills the yeast and stops the fermentation process. Not to mention, who wants some nasty metal byproduct in their Amish Friendship Bread?

So you don’t have someone to give you a cup of starter? Not sure how to begin? No worries, Kitchen Survival has you covered!

Amish Friendship Bread Starter:

1 pkg. (.25 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk, divided

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

2. On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.

3. Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread (see recipe below), give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).

So now you made it through the 10 days and you have given away your friendship starters to friends and are ready to bake some yummy bread? Read on avid quick-bread baking enthusiast!

Amish Cinnamon Bread:

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread starter (Day 10 above)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp. salt

Although I avoid using metal mixing bowls or utensils, I have used metal loaf pans to bake the bread in. I would use glass if available, however.

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease two loaf pans.

2. In a medium-bowl combine the starter, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.

3. In a separate large-bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, instant pudding, and salt; mix to combine well. Pour evenly into the two greased loaf pans.

4. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.

Mike’s comments:

Amish Friendship Bread is a blast to make, fun to share, and yummy to eat. Keep in mind though, not everyone (including yourself most likely) wants to have to bake a quick bread every 10 days, even one this delish. Don’t be offended if one of your friends don’t follow through with the process. If the “chain” breaks, you can always make the starter again.

I like to put the starters in large Ziploc freezer bags. Don’t zip them up all the way during the fermentation process, as natural gasses need to escape. I buy the bags that allow you write on them with a sharpie. In this way I can keep track of which day the process is on.