Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Amish Friendship Bread

September 24th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Batter starter bag

If you have ever received a bag of leavening batter starter from a friend along with instructions to either mush the bag or stir the batter for 10 days, then you are part of the Amish friendship bread experience. I got my batter from my friend and boss Liz Cheek who got hers from her daughter, I have a batch ready to give out and who knows who they will eventually pass along some of the starter to. Now after 10 days two of the folks who received our starter made batches of the bread last night and now a whole new round of bread and starters are making their way to more folks. (NOTE: Click on images for a larger view.)

If, however, you have never received such a batter gift, then it is your lucky day as I’ve got the recipe here and a link to make your own starter too!

Loaves cooling in pan

Parts of the instructions tell you that if you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking this bread every 10 days. The bread is quite good as Liz gave me a sample before I got my starter bag, and it makes for a great gift too! Our first batch was a hit, Monique shared some at her work and passed along some starters there too. The instructions that I got state that only the Amish know how to create the “starter”, but a quick Internet search will result in a few of the starter recipes which includes yeast, and I’ve linked to one here that matches the similar ingredients of the batter in this recipe.

Here is the recipe and instructions as given to me with my starter batter:

DO NOT use any type of metal spoon or metal bowl for mixing.

DO NOT refrigerate the starter batter.

When air builds up in the bag, let it out. It is normal for the batter to rise, bubble and ferment.

Day 1   Do nothing – date the bag

Day 2   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 3   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 4   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 5   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 6   ADD to the batter: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup milk then mush the bag or stir well

Day 7   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 8   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 9   Mush the bag or stir the batter

Day 10 Follow the directions below for separating out the batter and baking two loves of bread.


  1. Pour the entire contents of the bag or batter into a non-metal bowl.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups granulated sugar and 1 ½ cups milk and mix well.
  3. Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 1-gallon freezer bags.
  4. Mark each bag with the date. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other 3 away to friends along with a copy of this recipe. Should the bags not be passed onto friends the first day, be certain to tell them what day the bag is on.
  5. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  6. Add to the batch of batter you are keeping for yourself the following:
Measuring out 1 cup batches of batter

Batter in the seperate bags

3 Each Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 ½ Tsp Baking powder
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Oil
2 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Baking soda
2 Boxes Instant vanilla pudding
½ Cup Milk
½ Tsp Vanilla
½ Tsp Salt
  1. Grease 2 large loaf pans, mix an additional ½-cup sugar, and 1 ½ tsp cinnamon. Dust the loaf pans with half of the sugar mixture.
  2. Batter ready for pans

  3. Pour the batter evenly into the loaf pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top of the batter.
  4. Bake for one hour or until a toothpick test for doneness comes up dry. Cool on a wire rack until loaf loosens from the pan evenly, about 10 minutes.

Optional: Add 1 cup chopped nuts, 1 cup dried blueberries or 1 cup dried cranberries or a combination of all three to batter just before baking.

Loaves cooking on wire rack

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Tags: Baking · Breakfast · Desserts · Recipes

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donalyn // Sep 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    This stuff is so yummy – it does kind of take over your life unless you have the courage to eventually just let it die or you know a LOT of people who like to bake 🙂

  • 2 Cajun Chef Ryan // Sep 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Yes, I agree, we are on our second iteration of this and it may become that everyone we know will have a batch of starter before too long! 🙂

  • 3 Jessie // Sep 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    very interesting way of making bread and it looks great too!

  • 4 Dana Max // Sep 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    This looks delicious!

  • 5 Southern Grace Gourmet // Sep 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I love this bread, but have never made it. My mom and her friends made it all the time. Our freezer was full of it. Our typical breakfast was friendship bread in whatever variety we dreamed up and scrambled eggs. Thanks for the recipe! I should make it soon!

  • 6 Aunt Carol // Sep 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Just copied the starter recipe — this will be ready just in time for cool weather. Can’t wait to make it – Love ya Ryan, thanks

  • 7 redkathy // Sep 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I remember visiting Amish country often when I was a child. All of their food was delicious, as I recall. Friendship bread looks like a really fun thing to participate in. Don’t think I know enough bakers, unfortunately. Either way, thanks for the lovely post.

  • 8 Miranda // Sep 27, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    This bread looks amazing 😛
    I am totally going to try this!!

  • 9 Cajun Chef Ryan // Sep 28, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Great to hear from so many folks on this one, please do let me know how it comes out for those who do try it!
    CCR =:~)

  • 10 Hugging the Coast // Oct 5, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Lovely idea! I wish I’d tried this back in the days when we lived not far from Amish country in Pennsylvania.

  • 11 Mia King // Jan 28, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Hi Chef Ryan!

    I love your post and your pictures of Amish Friendship Bread! I’m definitely going to try the variation with the dried blueberries and cranberries and walnuts–it sounds delicious! Just did the basic recipe with walnuts and raisins last night, along with a lemon poppy seed. Fabulous! Anyway, I would love to include your pictures and parts of your post in our friendship bread gallery! You’ll of course receive full credit and a link back here, so people can read the whole post and find more great recipes, too! (Those cheddar biscuits are on my to-make list, by the way.) I’ve worked with other food bloggers in the past including David Lebovitz and Clotilde Dusoulier. You can see how the other images are posted and let me know if you have any questions: Thanks for your consideration and have a great day, Chef!

  • 12 Irene Partridge // Aug 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Hi there:

    Please know that you don’t have to let the starter die or throw it out or any other unpleasant thing when you “get tired” of working with it.

    Just “freeze it”….no time limit, freeze it for as long as you want. When you take it out, it’s day 1 and then do your thing. When you’re done, freeze it again. Oh, it won’t really freeze, it just gets stiffer and stops fermenting. You can’t hurt it, but you can have your starter for years. I always have the 1 cup starters in my freezer for whenever and whoever wants some. Most of the time I double up on the starter (2 cups of everything) and then I take one day to do breads and cookies and freeze the rest, starter and baked goods. Try it, it’s easy and have fun.