May 6, 2014

My First Amish Friendship Bread


Amish Friendship Bread

When my son was born last year my friend Amy brought us a delicious cinnamon-y bundt cake as part of our dinner train meal. The warm, moist quick bread was the perfect balm to soothe my sleep-frazzled nerves. When I asked for the recipe I expected her to share one for cake and was shocked to learn it was classic Amish friendship bread. I had always envisioned Amish friendship bread to be a yeasty loaf-like bread that was used for sandwiches. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This spring, now that I (mostly) have my feet back under me, Amy shared a cup of her starter with me and I’ve been having a blast learning how to use it.

There are several stories about the start of Amish friendship bread. As far as I can tell it was named after the Amish tradition of passing sourdough bread around to those who are sick. The starter, which is just like a sourdough starter, is used as the base of the recipe. Over time the actually recipe has morphed from sourdough bread to the cinnamon bread I tasted. It is like a light cinnamon pound cake, or a coffee cake with a light, fluffy crumb.

I did some research about caring for the starter and landed on using these instructions from All Recipes. It worked beautifully. I “woke up” my starter from the freezer and followed steps 2 and 3 before baking my bread. Amy also shared her favorite Amish Friendship Bread recipe from an old King Arthur Flour cookbook and I loved it. If you search for Amish Friendship Bread you’ll find endless variations so I encourage you to share your own below, or try whatever you feel comfortable with. There are many possibilities for making a delicious loaf.

Now that I’ve made the bread and given away a cup of start with it, along with the recipe, I’m going to freeze my remaining cup of starter until I am ready to make my next loaf. I hope to try more variations and will keep you posted when I do!

Amish Friendship Bread

adapted from King Arthur Flour

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  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Friendship starter
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in the starter until smooth. Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda, powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 40 to 44 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

One Response to “My First Amish Friendship Bread”

  1. […] AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD:  I will confess to having never heard of Amish Friendship Bread until after beginning The Amish Cook column in the early 1990s.  I heard about it first from readers asking Elizabeth Coblentz how to make it, but she wasn’t familiar with it either at first I think, historically, it has been more of a Lancaster Amish thing).  Anyway, over the years I have become acclimated with this popular pastime in the kitchen.  A blog this past week really laid out an easy Amish Friendship Bread recipe (complete with a link to a starter). So if you’ve always wanted to try Amish Friendship Bread but were a little intimidated by it, try this recipe and starter instructions! […]