Have you ever shared bread starter with a friend? This Amish Bread recipe is based on a tradition of passing a bread starter (a living yeast mix that provides the leavening) from person to person.
It’s kinda like a chain email but for homemade bread. Cool, right? That’s how it gets the name “Friendship Bread”. You make a batch of delicious Amish bread then pass the starter along to the next one in line.
I’ve been baking versions of this Friendship Bread for as long as I can remember. It very well may have been the first homemade bread I ever baked!
It’s a staple in our family, and there are usually several loaves frozen at any given time! Eaten fresh from the oven or toasted and slathered with butter, a slice of Friendship Bread tastes like love.
I didn’t even tell you about my favorite part of Amish Friendship Bread yet: the cinnamon crust.
The crust is a thick, crunchy cinnamon sugar coating, especially if you generously coat it before baking like I do. The satisfying crunch of the sweet crust paired with the soft fluffy interior of the bread is out of this world.
I’m often asked for the recipe for this bread, so here ya’ll go! I can’t wait to hear how you like it.
If you’re intimidated about making your own bread starter, don’t be: it’s super easy! With this bread, you can mix up the starter batter and use it in the bread right away or set it aside for later.
Traditionally, you’re supposed to give the remaining starter batter to a friend but. . .shhhh. . . I usually hold on to mine. When I have enough starter for 8 loaves, I bake them all at once and fill our kitchen with the mouthwatering aroma of baking cinnamon bread.
Are you ready to bake some fresh Friendship Bread yet?
Starter for Bread
First, we’re going to make the starter.
To do this, mix yeast with 1/2 cup hot water until yeast is dissolved. Add 1 1/2 cup hot water, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix until blended. Use whisk if needed.
You now have enough batter for 4 portions. Transfer 1 cup sized portions of the batter to individual freezer bags and set aside.
With the remaining starter batch, prepare the Amish bread.
Amish Bread Recipe
Add these ingredients to the bowl with your starter for bread and mix to combine:
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
You’ll have a thick and lumpy batter.
To Bake the Friendship Bread:
Combine sugar and cinnamon to make the topping.
Grease two loaf pans generously, After greasing the pan, sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mix. Divide batter between two pans then generously top each battered pan with remaining cinnamon sugar mix.
This is what provides a nice crunchy cinnamon layer on the bread so be generous here!
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about one hour. Cool about ten minutes in pan, then remove to cooling racks. Delicious served hot or cold (with butter of course)! Enjoy.
How to Use Starter for Bread
You know those three ziplog baggies full of good starter for bread you have leftover? You’re going to use them indefinitely to keep making more and more bread!
Follow these directions yourself OR write the directions on a note card to deliver with the bag of starter you give to a friend.
Life cycle of Amish bread starter:
- DAY 1: This is the day you make starter or receive bag! Do nothing.
- DAY 2- Day 5: Mush the bag with your hands to keep the yeast moving.
- DAY 6: Add more flour, sugar and milk to the bag.
- DAY 7- DAY 9: Mush bag daily again!
- DAY 10: Bread baking day!
Pour contents of bag in large bowl, add 1 1/2 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Measure out 1 cup into 3 ziploc bags like you did the first time you made the starter; the cycle keeps repeating.
With remaining batter follow instructions above for making bread. ENJOY!
Storing Amish Friendship Bread
This is one of my favorite loafs of bread to freeze! I’ll often make multiple loaves at once so we always have some stocked in the freezer.
When eaten fresh, this bread is best within a day or two. Leftovers are also amazing toasted (in the oven or toaster) or used in French Toast.
Whether you share your bread starter with friends or keep it all to yourself, this Amish Bread recipe is so much fun.
For the Starter:
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
For the Bread:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cup flour
- 1 large (or two small) instant vanilla pudding (not sugar free)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- For the Starter: To prepare the starter batch, mix yeast with 1/2 cup hot water until yeast is dissolved. Add 1 1/2 cup hot water, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix until blended. Use whisk if needed. You now have enough batter for 4 portions.
- In three ziploc freezer bags, add 1 cup of batter to each bag. These can be given away or used immediately.
- In your bowl will be a remaining one cup of batter. You can use this immediately following the directions below.
- For the Bread: Okay, with your 1 cup of batter, add remaining ingredients (except the last two). Mix. Will be slightly lumpy, that’s okay.
- In two loaf pans, grease generously. I like to grease my pans, lay parchment paper on just the bottom of the pan, then grease again! After greasing the pan, sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mix. Divide batter between two pans then generously top each battered pan with remaining cinnamon sugar mix. This is what provides a nice crunchy cinnamon layer on the bread, very important! Bake in a 325 degree oven for about one hour. Cool about ten minutes in pan, then remove to cooling racks. Delicious served hot or cold (with butter of course)! Enjoy.
- For the remaining 3 bags of batter, here are your instructions: (I usually write these on the bag with sharpie) DAY 1- Day you make starter or receive bag (do nothing) DAY 2- Day 5- Mush bag DAY 6- Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar to bag, Mush. DAY 7- DAY 9- Mush bag DAY 10- Pour contents of bag in large bowl, add 1 1/2 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Measure out 1 cup into 3 ziploc bags (the cycle keeps repeating), With remaining batter follow instructions above for making bread. ENJOY!