Monday, November 23, 2009

How To Lose A Friend In 10 Days...Amish Friendship Bread

I remember back in the 90's when this bread hit the scene big. You couldn't walk into the church doors without being handed ten bags of Amish Friendship Bread Starter. At first I was amazed at the whole concept. I then realized that it was just a chain letter that festered on my counter. It seemed like this would be a great way to lose friends! I ended up taking some bags home. A little interested....a little nervous. Each day I reluctantly squeezed the bags and watch them bubble and grow. By day five I could hear the bags groaning in the kitchen, begging to be put out of their misery. I didn't want to go near them. It was sorta really gross. On day ten I was instructed to bake it into bread. I was afraid. Why was I doing this? I followed the rules and added to and divided the goo into bags for my friends. Friends? I thought it might be better to give them away to people I didn't really like that much. Or friends I'd like to see gain some weight. Or donate them to science. It just didn't seem like a nice thing to hand someone you cared about. I managed to get two loaves in the oven. It smelled good. I was hopeful. But in the end I thought it tasted like a sponge soaked in oil, topped with cinnamon. I know people LOVED it, but it didn't thrill me. I grabbed the starter bags I had just divided and tossed them in the trash. Who would I give them to anyway? EVERYONE already dozens of these things on their counters. Far be it from me to force anything on anyone.

Flash forward 15 years.....I am at a gathering of homeschool Moms. I am visiting and passing time. One lady I like very much comes up to me and offers me four bags of "friendship". She's, she's beaming...wait a second....Is that fear I see in her eye? Poor is. I sadly shake my head and say "I pass." The fear quickly turns to full on panic. I won't take them?? WHAT is she going to do with all of these starters?! She cannot throw them away...potential...FOOD? She turns to the person next to her. They also shake their heads. She backs up slowly, ready to cry. "Just take them back home," I tell her. "We don't want that stuff here." She stands there stunned, bags hanging. "Bake it all at once," I say. Blink........blink....."Freeze it," I offer. She sighs, she turns, she leaves. Yes, I feel for her. But I also feel relieved for myself. I then look down and see her recipe sitting on the table.

"Pumpkin Amish Friendship Bread"

Well..... that is a different story! Anything with Pumpkin is indeed a sign of Friendship and Goodwill. I LOVE Pumpkin. I run out the door calling her name. I catch up to her in the parking lot and tell her quickly "I changed my mind! I would love to try it. I didn't know you could add pumpkin and chocolate chips!" Her hands were empty. She had already given it away. She found some real friends. I ask her for the recipe for the starter. She says she will bring it, but she doesn't sound too happy about it.

A couple of weeks later she walked up and thrusted paper into my hand and stomped off. Not one word uttered. I will give this one more shot. And if I come up to you with a pleading look in my eye, just take the bag. You can toss it later. I will never know.


Do not use any metal bowls or spoons when making this!

Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

(.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

3 cups all-purpose flour,

divided3 cups white sugar,

divided3 cups milk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Put one cup in a gallon zip lock bags to give out to your friends. You can also freeze the starter for later use.

How to make the bread.

1 cup starter

Day 1:Do nothing with the starter.

Days 2-5:Knead the bag

Day 6:Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk to the bag and knead.

Days 7-9:Knead the bag

Day 10:Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir.

Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends.To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil

1/2 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 - large box instant vanilla pudding or two small boxes

1/2 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Amish Friendship Bread Variation

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Friendship Bread:

Add small can of pumpkin, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips; decrease oil to 1/2 cup. Omit cinnamon.


  1. Did you make it yet? I want to see a pic of it. Was it good? I have never done one of the friendship breads, I usually just throw that stuff away. I remember getting chain mails where you get books from all over the world and pot holders and........on and on and on. I just never had the patience anymore than I do for those annoying email things you get about bad luck coming to you if you don't email to 400 friends in 4 min!

    I want to know if this recipe is good, if it is give me some fermented friendship bread dough! LOL :)

  2. Hilarious! A "friend" gave me the stupid starter too one time. Didn't she realize I was a slacker? I did everything you were suppose to except bake it. It just sat on my counter forever until I knew I couldn't actually bake it because it was too old. Now, pumpkin starter I could do. Sounds really great. Let me know how it turns out.