Friendship Bread with Starter (Amish Friendship Bread Recipe)


friendship-bread

Recently our friend Debbie introduced us to the world of Friendship bread, although it’s really more of a cake than a bread so don’t be put off making it because it’s just bread, besides it really is quite tasty, trust me.

Although very often referred to as Amish Friendship Bread, it’s hard to find any real historic connection between the common variant and the Amish people. According to Elizabeth Coblentz, a member of the Old Order Amish and the author of the syndicated column and book “The Amish Cook”,true Amish Friendship Bread is “just sourdough bread that is passed around to the sick and needy”.

Friendship bread is a rather unique thing. It isn’t simply a recipe you throw together, it requires community in order to be done right. In this “instant gratification” world of ours it’s nice to see some things still force us to just relax and wait for the outcome. Because of this aspect Friendship bread is often made by church groups and at the holidays as gifts. The concept is quite simple. A starter dough similar to what would be used to make a sourdough is made from basic ingredients and split so that it may be passed on to ones friends and family. The person who receives the starter then “feeds” it with ingredients and tends it for around ten days until they have enough starter themselves to divide and give out while keeping enough to both bake a batch of the bread and continue the starter.

This passing on of the starter both fosters the community forcing us to actually visit with our friends to give them some of the bread and starter and also adds an interesting dimension to the recipe in that if you can imagine the starter moving through several groups of people and those people adding different types of flour and sugar to the mix as they create their own to be divided and passed on and this “chain” not being broken for years. I would think that the flavor of the bread would only tend to become deeper and more complex through this process and improving over time, not to mention the interesting thought that the starter you use may have components in it that date back decades. very cool!

So, to continue on to the good part… the recipe.

Open a printable version

I’ll begin with the starter because I’m guessing that if you’re reading this you don’t have any at the moment(if you ask around I’m sure someone you know has some should you want to continue with an existing one).

First of all you need to know that metal utensils and bowls are not to be used when mixing the starter or the bread dough. I’m no chemist, but I’ll just assume it will halt the reaction and kill the starter.

Ingredients for Starter:

  • 1 package(.25 oz) active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk

Method:

  1. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the water and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl(remember no metal) combine flour and sugar, mixing well.
  3. Slowly stir in the milk then the dissolved yeast, mixing until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature. When the mixture begins to bubble you know it’s working.
  • Now that you have the beginnings of what you need you can start the cycle. You are at Day 1.
  • Days 2 through 5 stir the mixture with a wooden or plastic spoon a couple times and cover.
  • On day 6 stir in 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk.
  • Days 7 through 9 stir the mixture a couple times and cover.
  • On day 10 stir in 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Now you can divide the starter up.

Using a measuring cup put 1 cup each of the starter into 3 medium Ziploc freezer bags. One of these bags you keep so that you can make the starter again. You can freeze the starter if you want, but you will have to leave the bag out at room temperature for 3 days before beginning the cycle over again. This allows the starter to become active again.

The two remaining bags are for you to give out to friends and what is left in the bowl is for making your own bread.

When you give out the bags you should include a piece of the bread you’ve made (assuming there is some left) and this INSTRUCTION SHEET telling them how to continue.

The recipe for the bread itself is as follows:

Pre-heat oven to 325F.

To the remaining starter add:

1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
2 tsp cinnamon
Optional:  add 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

Method:

  1. Pour into two large, greased and sugared (with some cinnamon and sugar mixed) loaf pans or one bundt cake pan.
  2. bake for 55-65 min. until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted.

There are several variations on the final recipe and I’ve included some for you to try if you want to be different.

Banana Nut Friendship Bread

When making the basic recipe, reduce oil to 1/3 cup. Omit
cinnamon.
Increase vanilla extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Add 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (banana skins
should be almost black) and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Chocolate Friendship Bread

Omit cinnamon from the basic recipe and add 1 (5.1 oz)
box of instant chocolate pudding, an additional 1/2 cup
milk, 3 tsp. cocoa and 3/4 cup chocolate chips.
Bake for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

Apple Cinnamon Friendship Bread

To the basic recipe add one cup of raisins and one ripe,
medium diced apple.

Butterscotch Friendship Bread

To the basic recipe add 1 (5.1 oz) box of butterscotch
pudding, an additional 1/2 cup milk, and 1 cup of
butterscotch chips.
Omit the cinnamon.

Mounds Bar 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.

Chocolate Mint Friendship Bread

Substitute Mint Extract for the vanilla flavoring.
To the basic recipe add one box of fudge pudding mix and an additional 1/2 cup milk.
Omit the cinnamon.

Lemon Friendship Bread

Substitute Lemon Extract for the vanilla flavoring.
To the basic recipe add 1 box of lemon pudding and an additional 1/2 cup milk.
Omit the cinnamon and nuts, and add 1/4 cup of poppy seeds.
For extra flavor, add 2 cups shredded coconut.

Cranberry-Orange 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.

Banana-Chocolate Chip Friendship Bread

When making the basic recipe, reduce oil to 1/3 cup.
Reduce cinnamon to 1 teaspoon.
Add 1 (5.1 oz) box of instant banana pudding mix and an additional 1/2 cup milk.
Before baking, stir in 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
minichips.

Cherry Friendship Bread

When making the basic recipe, substitute almond extract for vanilla.
Omit the cinnamon.
Before baking, stir in 1 cup dried cherries.

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.

Pumpkin Spice Friendship Bread

When making the basic recipe, reduce oil to 1/3 cup.
Reduce cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar.
Add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Before baking, stir in 1 cup canned pumpkin.

Strawberry 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.

Chocolate Cherry Friendship Bread

Omit cinnamon from the basic recipe.
Replace the vanilla flavoring with almond flavoring.
Add 1 (5.1 oz) box of instant chocolate pudding, an additional 1/2 cup milk, 3 tsp. cocoa and
1 can tart red cherries in water, drained.

Carrot Cake Friendship Bread

Increase the cinnamon in the basic recipe to 1 Tablespoon.
Add to the basic recipe the following ingredients:
3 medium carrots shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chunky homestyle applesauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Use a a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Can be frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Friendship Chocolate Muffins

1 cup of starter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 (3.9 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate pudding mix.
  3. Make a well and add the Starter, oil (and applesauce, if using), milk, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.
  4. Stir in about 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each cupcake.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Allow to cool on rack.
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5 responses to “Friendship Bread with Starter (Amish Friendship Bread Recipe)

  1. Pingback: Making Friendship Bread and sharing with Friends | amomwithalessonplan

  2. Oh my goodness… thank you so much for all of the variations! I think I’ll be keeping starter for months to come. :)

  3. Dear Rune Rider,
    You have given me back my life again. I was given an AFB starter 30 days ago and have since experienced the same feelings of responsibility that I had when my children were newborn. I was afraid to leave it for any length of time as I needed to feed it and “mush” it regularly. I woke up often during the night not remembering if I’d missed “Day 6″. I wondered how my back door neighbor (who regularly bakes Friendship Bread) could live life so carefree. She was always coming and going, taking trips for several days at a time, seemingly untethered to her starter.

    Finally, after a bout of post-AFB depression, I ran across your website and this post. My eyes did a double take at one certain line: “You can freeze the starter if you want”. What? I can FREEZE THE STARTER? I cannot tell you the relief and elation that this culinary revelation brought to me. So I say thankyouthankyouthankyou, RuneRider for bringing me tidings of joy (however unintended) this Christmas season!

    (Oh, and I love the optional additions and flavors. These will make a variety of tasty gifts!)

  4. I have recently received a bread starter from a friend which uses instant potato flakes. I’ve been using it for approximately 1 month and LOVE how easy it is and have been searching the internet for new recipes. About 2 weeks about I made the most delicious (moist) carrot cake. There is not much out on the internet about this starter – AND IT IS SO EASY TO FEED AND PASS ON. (I’ve made LOTS of bread, cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls and muffins and love trying new recipes.) Thanks…. Just wanted to pass along the info.

    Ingredients:

    Starter (first time):
    1 cup warm water
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
    3 level Tablespoons instant potato flakes
    .
    Starter Feeder (subsequent times):
    1 cup warm water
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 Tablespoons potato flakes
    .
    To Make Bread:
    6 cups bread flour
    1 Tablespoon salt
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup oil
    1-1/4 cups warm water
    1 cup starter (See notes below)

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