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Amish Friendship Bread

A delicious Amish Friendship Bread recipe covered in a cinnamon sugar mix. The starter recipe is included so you can share with friends!

Loaf of cinnamon sugar crusted amish friendship bread on a white platter with a few slices cut.

Have you ever shared a 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.

What is Amish Friendship Bread

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.

FAVORITE BREADS: Snickerdoodle Banana Bread | Lemon Bread

Two slices of amish bread with melted butter on top.

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 THREE individual gallon size freezer bags and set aside.

With the remaining starter batch, prepare the Amish bread.

Step by step photos on how to make amish friendship bread.

Ingredients Needed

Add these ingredients to the bowl with your starter for bread and mix to  combine:

  • Eggs 
  • Milk
  • Oil
  • Flour
  • 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.

Ingredients for amish bread with bag.

Life cycle of Amish bread starter

Be sure to write these directions ON the ziploc bag.

  • 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.

Two slices of amish bread on a white plate with a loaf of bread sliced in the back.

More Bread Recipes

Yield: 16 servings

Amish Cinnamon Bread with Starter Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

A delicious Amish Friendship Bread recipe covered in a cinnamon sugar mix. The starter recipe is included so you can share with friends!

Ingredients

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

Instructions

For the Starter: 

  1. 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.
  2. In three ziploc gallon sized freezer bags, add 1 cup of batter to each bag. These can be given away or used immediately.
  3. In your bowl will be a remaining one cup of batter. You can use this immediately following the directions below.

For the Bread: 

  1. Okay, with your 1 cup of batter, add remaining ingredients (except the last two). Mix. Will be slightly lumpy, that’s okay.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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. 
  5. For the remaining 3 bags of batter, here are your instructions: (I usually write these on the bag with sharpie)
  6. DAY 1- Day you make starter or receive bag (do nothing)
  7. DAY 2- Day 5- Mush bag
  8. DAY 6- Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar to bag, Mush.
  9. DAY 7- DAY 9- Mush bag
  10. 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!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 5g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Whether you share your bread starter with friends or keep it all to yourself, this Amish Bread recipe is so much fun. 

Aimee

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on June 6, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. I have no one else that wants the dough,seems to be a big deal getting anyone interested.But,I have more almost ready to cook.What Iam wondering is can I omit the extra stuff and the dividing the dough step and just go right to adding all the stuff ,or number ten?I dont want any more dough.

  2. Ours was horrible! It was super dark and didn’t cook. Can you clarify the size of the pudding. Large and small don’t help. There are so many sizes.

  3. When you freeze them, do you slice and then just pull out slices and toast them?  Or freeze as whole loaf?

  4. can I freeze the starter on day 1, take it out later, and start the 10 day process from there, or does the starter need a day to start fermenting before freezing. I have been told I can freeze the starter…

  5. Thanks so much for the recipe, I had lost mine! Was wanting to make loaves of bread for Christmas gifts!  Looking forward to baking again. I used to add bananas, nuts, raisins! Have a wonderful Christmas! 

      1. Aimee, I was wondering if you knew what the cooking time would be if I wanted to use a bunt pan instead of a loaf pan.  My husbands Oma used to make this every Christmas, and it is a family favourite.

  6. When you get too many  bags  of starter you can put them in the freezer. They keep indefinitely. When you take one out start directions for day 1. I’ve found that I get better results with the bag of batter if I pick the bag up everyday and squeeze it along the bottom. You may have to let some of the air out of the bag on the days after you feed it. Always use QUART size ziploc bags.  

  7. my daughter and husband gave dairy allergies, do you think I could substitute almond or soy milk for milk and what can I sub for instant pudding as it has milk in it. New to this dairy free thing.

  8. THANK YOU for the starter recipe! I have maintained some starter for probably 10 years and have been worried a couple of times that I had neglected it too long.

  9. I love this recipe! A friend of mine gave it to me years ago. We are now gluten-free…can this be made using gluten-free flour (no wheat) instead of regular all purpose flour? Thanks.

  10. Hi this sounds lovely but I am wondering if there is anything else you could substitute the vanilla instant pudding for? many thanks

  11. I wish there was a way to just make it, with enough “starter” for myself only, after awhile you run out of friends to give these to.

    1. That’s why I usually bake the entire starter batch (8 loaves of bread). They are perfect for freezing. Or they make a great gift to a friend!

  12. IM CONFUSED MY DAUGHTER HAS MADE THIS BUT I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IF YOU KEEP ALL THE STARTERS FOR YOURSELF DO YOU HALF TO ADD THE FLOUR SUGAR ETC ON THE 10TH DAY OR COULD YOU JUST BAKE RIGHT AWAY AS NOT SURE IF YOU WOULD STILL ADD ON THE 10TH DAYS THOSE INGREDIENTS AND ALSO IF YOU MAKE 4 LOAVES FOR YOURSELF WITHOUT GIVING STARTES AWAY COULD YOU SEND ME RECIPE FOR THE INGREDIENTS AS THIS RECIPE I BELIVE IS FOR 4 LOAVES THANKS YOU SO MUCH AND ALSO DO YOU GREASE AND FLOUR THE PANS PLEASE EMAIL ME THANKS AGAIN

    1. Did you find out the answer to this question? I too would like to know the details for baking the entire batch and not making starter bags to give away. I thought I saw that it would make 8 loves. 2 for the batter left and then 2 each for the other cups of starter. I’m just not sure and would love to know before I give it a try!

      1. When you separate all the batter into the 4 sections, you can then bake each batch, adding in the full ingredients. No need to wait.

  13. I used to have a recipe for amish blueberry bread. Can you help me convert this to that? This is the only recipe I can find that has a crusty shell!! That was the best part!! The bread was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!

    1. This recipe can be made without the pudding mix, it will just be less moist. I would add a couple extra drops of vanilla to make up for the missing flavor from the pudding though.

  14. I used this exact recipe and made my starter months ago. I had one given to me around 15 years ago and I kept it for around a year. I cryer when I lost it!!! But I followed this recipe and it’s been great!!! I keep 3 of my starters and bake with them on day ten and I use one to keep it going. It really does get better and better to keep it going!! I make chocolate,vanilla,pumpkin.lemon with poppy seeds,egg nog.

  15. I usually freeze my starter then when I want to make a loaf I thaw and follow the recipe for making the bread, skipping the 10 days of proofing and it works perfect. I also change up the pudding flavor to get different breads!

  16. I never got to eat the bread bc I accidentally killed the yeast. This is my very first time working with yeast and I put too hot of water in the bowl. You should really make it clear for the novice baker not to use hot water.

  17. Mmm.my favorite bread for years!!! I too always have some in the freezer and I also keep and bake all of the starters,lol I end up with 12 loaves:) I made my own starter using the method you put down and it’s the ONLY one I recommend!!! Not using yeast never seemed right and I didn’t trust it!

  18. I have a good amish white bread recipe if anyone wants it and .. Its great I makes great bread I make 4 loaves week my boys love it and freezes well ..

  19. I use all flavors of pudding in these. Add nuts, choc chips, raisins, really anything you want to add/.

  20. I have been making this for years and you do not need a starter. Just make the recipe as directed and there is no change in the taste. I even go fat free and use all milk and no oil for a healthier version. They all come out great!

    1. so if you don’t need a starter do you mean you just skip the whoile yeast thing and make up the other ingredients for the loaves Reenie,

  21. I am curious about this and want to make it, but I have never baked using starters. Do the bags of starter stay in or out of the refrigerator. Thanks, this looks good and I want to make it.

    Denise

  22. Made this bread today and like MrsSmith posted…my bread fell in the middle where the cinnamon sugar was…..only to sink to the inside and it didnt cook all the way through. Which I didnt know until I cut into the bread. But the outter part yummy. Any thoughts?

    1. Not sure why it would sink. Unless measurements were somehow mistaken or your oven temperature may be off? Sorry!

      1. The altitude DOES make a difference. I live at 6240 AMSL and add about 1 T. flour and reduce the liquid for every cup of flour. Perhaps this is why the bread fell in the middle. Bread pan size can make a difference as well, but you can adjust for that.

  23. Yum love this bread, but am from New Zealand and our yeast doesnt come in envelope size? what would the quantity of one of the be please?

    thanks =]

  24. I love making these. I actually make them in small individual size loaf pans and mix them up. Some get white chocolate chips, some milk chocolate, some rasins, some a crazy mixture of everything. They freeze really well to, and make a great item to add to a packed lunch.

  25. So this is basically a recipe from an Amish Friendship Bread Starter. (Which is not really Amish at all) It is really a good one. One that I have not had in a long time. Thank you for the reminder!!

  26. My bread completely fell in the middle (and I mean like the Grand Canyon). We live in Colorado, so the altitude does affect some baked goods, but I’ve never had anything fall this badly. I was wondering if maybe putting all of the 1 c. sugar and 2 T. cinnamon split between the top of the two loaves was too heavy and made them fall, because quite a bit of the topping did not sink in and was just sitting on top of the crust after baking. Any ideas? When you say “generously top” them, do you split the entire 1 c. and 2 T. between the loaves, or do you have some left in the bowl afterwards?

    (It was still very tasty, even if it wasn’t very pretty!)

    1. The topping does create a crust around the entire bread. I’m not sure why it sank in though…I always use the entire amount on both loaves. I do use some of the topping to coat the inside of the greased pans as well. Glad it tasted good, sorry I can’t be of more help!

  27. I make this all the time, but for the starter I just put 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Also, I put crushed pecans on top with the cinnamon and sugar and it is delicious!

  28. So technically if you werent going to give any away couldn’t you make loaves with all of the other “starter” bags on the day you made them? You don’t have to feed that last 1 cup that is left you can just make the bread right away??

  29. Hi! Just stopping by to let you know that your recipe was #2 on Sweet Indulgences Sunday last week. Hope you’ll stop by and share another recipe this week.

  30. This is a really interesting recipe. I’ve never seen anything like it. I love the color of the bread, and cinnamon with apples – you can’t go wrong with that!

  31. I was just talking to my family about this bread starter last month. Now I have a recipe to share with them! Thanks!!

  32. I love this bread! We always called it Amish Friendship bread, as you make friends when you give it away… err, I guess when you keep the other starters for yourself and give the recipe away?? Either way, thanks!

  33. I am soooo excited to find this recipe for the starter!!! This is one of my favorite kinds of bread and I was just craving it something mad- now I have you to thank. 🙂
    Found you over at Sweet Peas and Bumblebees link up and so glad I did! Newest follower.
    -Robyn from http://tipsfromtheheart.blogspot.com

  34. I’ve had Amish bread but never with a cinnamon/sugar crust. I can’t wait to try this…thanks 🙂 Don’t worry, I keep my starters too!

  35. You are pure evil you know? 🙂 This is one of our favorite breads in our house. (I never give the starters away either…gotta love the freezer option:-) But I have never googled the actual start method because this bread is so addicting!!! And then you go and post how to make a start! Curse you!!!

    You know I still love ya right? 🙂

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