Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

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Use this Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe as a base for many sweet breads, dinner rolls, muffins and other baked goods. Hints for storing and using up the sourdough starter.


Download the Amish Friendship Bread Starter instructions here.

Click here to see how to bake the friendship bread.

Have I got a treat for you today! Classic Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe. Have you ever tried this sweet sourdough?

It’s one of those recipes that people seem to either love or hate. On one hand, you make a sweet sourdough that you have to keep dividing and using up, or passing out to your friends….or throw away. If you keep the starter going, it just…well…keeps going.

On the other hand, you make a sweet sourdough that is versatile and makes an amazing cinnamon quick bread. Quick bread that is so addicting that you can eat 6 loaves in a matter of 3 days.

Yeah….just please don’t ask. 🙂


Whether you make it this bread weekly, haven’t seen it in years, or are completely new to Amish Friendship Bread, my goal is to convince you to at least give easy sourdough recipe a try. I’m going to make it easy for you with hints! The recipe for the bread itself is coming soon, but first you need the starter.


How to Make Amish Friendship Bread Starter:

  1. Have Ziploc plastic bags (for easily storing the starter), glass bowls and wooden spoons on hand. For sourdough, you don’t want to use metal bowls or utensils. Sourdough is acidic and can dissolve some metals. It’s best to use anything but metal bowls and utensils.
  2. Write the directions right on the Ziploc bags using a permanent marker so you never have to go hunting for the directions.
  3. Make the starter recipe, then pour it into a Ziploc bag (with the directions written on it). You can also store this in a loosely covered glass bowl if you’d like. I just find it easier to use a Ziploc bag.
  4. While you are working your way through the 10-day process, store the starter at room temperature. If the Ziploc bag gets air in it, simply let it out.
  5. How much sourdough you end up with at the end of the 10 day process depends on how active your sourdough is. You’ll end up with about 5-6 cups.
  6. On Day 10 after you add last bit of flour, sugar and milk, separate out 1-cup portions into Ziploc bags (don’t forget those directions on the front!).
  7. At this point, you can give away some of those starter bags to friends along with the recipe and instructions so they can indulge in their own friendship bread.
  8. Keep a starter for yourself to continue the sourdough process (Day 10 is equal to Day 1), and make the Amish Friendship Bread with one of the other cups of starter.
  9. If you can’t find anyone who wants the sourdough starter, simply throw those 1-cup bags into the freezer until another time when you’d like to start the sourdough process our bake the bread. When you pull the sourdough out of the freezer, treat it as Day 1. Or just go ahead and use that cup to bake loaves of friendship bread!

You don’t have to feel like this is a never-ending recipe. Although it may seem that way, you can easily freeze the 1-cup sourdough portions at the end of the 10 days to make multiple recipes (that we’ll be sharing on our site soon!).

But this Amish cinnamon friendship bread? You’ll be wanting to make it. It’s the best in served warm with a slather of butter.

Although this sweet sourdough starter is very easy, you may have questions! Please comment below with your questions and I’ll update this article to answer your questions as you have them.

Other Recipes to Use our Starter in:

Download the Amish Friendship Bread Starter instructions here.

how to make amish friendship bread starter
how to make amish friendship bread starter

Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

4.74 from 229 votes
Use this Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe as a base for many sweet breads, dinner rolls, muffins and other baked goods. Hints for storing and using up the sourdough starter.
Servings 4 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

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  • Pour the warm water into a small glass bowl.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let this stand for 5-8 minutes to allow it to dissolve.
  • In a larger glass bowl (or plastic bowl. Don’t use metal bowls or utensils for sourdough), mix together the flour and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the milk and then the yeast mixture.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to stand until bubbly.
  • Once the mixture is bubbly, pour it into a gallon-size zippered plastic bag and seal. Do not refrigerate. Allow the sourdough mixture to sit out at room temperature. This counts as Day 1.
  • Day 2: Mash the bag.
  • Day 3: Mash the bag.
  • Day 4: Mash the bag.
  • Day 5: Mash the bag.
  • Day 6: Add 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Mash the bag until it is mixed well.
  • Day 7: Mash the bag.
  • Day 8: Mash the bag.
  • Day 9: Mash the bag.
  • Day 10: Pour the sourdough into a glass (or other nonmetal) bowl. Add ½ cup each of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  • Divide out 1 cup portions of the starter, placing each one-cup portion in separate zippered plastic bags. You’ll get about 4-5 bags. 
  • Seal the bags, and give the starter away to friends along with the instructions, keeping one for yourself if desired. The starter then goes back to Day 1.
  • Keep one starter for yourself.



*Instant yeast will work as well.
**Calorie count shown above is for the friendship bread starter only and measures the calories in an entire cup. You use 1 cup of starter per two loaves of bread.


Calories: 337kcal
Author Julie Clark
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Calories 337
Keyword amish sourdough, friendship bread starter, herman sourdough, sourdough starter recipe
You can’t resist a slice of this warm, cinnamon Amish Friendship Bread. This quick bread starts with a sweet sourdough and makes two loaves.

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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6 years ago

I always use unsweetenend almond milk. It works.

Dana Pogue
6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this recipe for the Amish bread starter recipe! I use to make this 20 + years ago when someone shared a starter with me and I would make pumpkin bread and banana nut bread which was always a hit with my family. Unfortunately at some point I stopped making them and gave the starters I had away and I didn’t have the starter recipe. I have tried making homemade banana nut bread, ect but they were nothing like the friendship bread. I’m excited to now have the starter recipe and I can’t wait until Thanksgiving and… Read more »

1 year ago

today is my first day wish me luck with the starter receipt

6 years ago

5 stars
How much batter do I use to bake 1 loaf

Sue Buzard
1 year ago

5 stars
How long can you store starter in the freezer? I have had some for yeats.

2 years ago

4 stars
Your starter is 2 cups though, not 1? I’m confused. If i freeze some I’m doing 1 c. bags.

6 years ago

Years ago I received a starter kit but after baking for several weeks, I finally stopped. I would like to attempt a starter. I’m on the 9th day and forgot to mush the bag one day, will it still work or should I throw it out and start again.

thank you,

Helen Greene
6 years ago

5 stars
I was wondering if you could use self rising flour in this recipe??

mary fayia
2 years ago

5 stars
Thank you for this recipe and this page as a whole. I learn a lot about other recipes and tips that made my friendship bread. I only used a 1/3 of the sugar in the recipe and it was just as nice.

2 years ago

5 stars
I used this recipe with my gluten free flour mix and it turned out amazing!! The gluten free flour mix is 1c white rice flour, 1c brown rice flour, 1c sweet rice flour, 1 c tapioca flour and 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum., mixed well. Then it is one to one replacement. This recipe is not my own but it is the best gf baking flour mix we have tried for baking or making sausage gravy. Even my gluten eaters love this recipe:) Thanks for a walk down memory lane.

Kathy Gil
3 years ago

I already have sourdough starter that is fed with flour and water. Can I just separate a cup out of that and then start feeding it the milk and sugar or should I do that on day one?

6 years ago

After you divide it into bags to give away (or use) it says this is day one. Do you need to add all the original recipe list to start over as day one? Or is the one cup of starter day 1 by itself?
Thanks : )

Barbara Spradlin
6 years ago

Years ago there was a starter recipe for something we called “Herman” that we could used to make a great cinnamon coffee cake, cookies, and bread. . Is this the same recipe?

6 days ago

If I freeze the starter…. do I thaw in fridge? Can I immediately make bread upon thawing? Or does it need to be room temperature? Ect.

How do I use the frozen starter?

2 months ago

I missed day 6 adding I added it on day 7 will it still work or do i have to start over