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

4.72 from 137 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


  • 1/4 cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • 1 package active dry yeast* (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk (2% or higher fat)


  • 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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Jolene Rogers
1 year ago

Can I bake on day 2?

Kathy Zinn
1 year ago

I mistakenly thought I was supposed to add an egg to the starter at Day 6. Can I still use the starter or will it harm someone?

1 year ago

Thank you so much for this recipe. I just finished making this Amish Friendship bread this morning. It turned out so good! I didn’t want to the use the store-bought instant vanilla pudding mix, so I made up my own. The store-bought ones, if you look at the ingredients on the box, are made up of sugar, corn starch, artificial color and flavors. Instead, I added 4.5 oz of powder sugar and 2.25 oz of corn starch. I also added extra vanilla extract (half TBSP total). I was really scared it wouldn’t turn out right, but thankfully it did. I… Read more »

1 year ago

Day 6: Add 1 cup of flour, sugar and milk. Mash the bag until it is mixed well.

Wendy Buzzell
1 year ago

I have an interesting question…I don’t eat sugar, can I use Splenda instead?

1 year ago

What happens to the mixture if you add the flour sugar and milk on day 5 instead of day 6 by accident

1 year ago

I’ve always made mine, but never used yeast in the starter when I make one.

Lisa Byrnes
1 year ago

I’m using starter that was frozen. Now after 10 days I’m ready to bake, but the starter smells VERY strong. Is this the way it should smell? How do I know if it’s spoiled?

Julie Stice
1 year ago

A friend gave me the starter on day 7, but on day 10 I wasn’t able to add the additional ingredients and separate it out. Today is day 12….will it still work to continue on with it?

1 year ago

Has anyone tried this using gluten free all purpose flour? We have gluten allergies.

1 year ago

5 stars
The only question I would have is the original recipe I had from my mom (years ago) lists everything exactly the same as this recipe, except on day 10 it says to add 1 1/2 cups each of milk, sugar, and flour. I didn’t know if this was a typo to only add 1/2 cup each. Thanks.

1 year ago

Is this starter only good for this recipe? Is it the yeast?

1 year ago

I used half homemade buttermilk and half homo milk. As well, I lined my pans with parchment paper, sugared and added some of the sugar in middle and then the top. The bread was moist and delicious.

1 year ago

I’m new at this. I just finished my 10 days. I e divided my starter. I plan to use two bags to make bread today. Then I will start 10 days on the starters I have separated out. My question is this: if I decide I want to make bread before the 10 days is up can I go ahead and do that or do I have to finish out the 10 day process first?

1 year 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.