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Amish Friendship Bread


This delicious recipe is courtesy of Mary Bodor. Note: Do not use metal cooking utensils, bowls, or baking pans with this recipe, since they will interfere with the fermenting process.

  • Yield: Makes 2 loaves and 3 starters

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, July Summer 2008


  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  1. To prepare starter: Place 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and knead mixture until well combined. Let stand at room temperature overnight.

  2. For the next 4 days, continue kneading mixture once a day; keep at room temperature. On the sixth day add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk to bag. Seal and knead to combine; let stand at room temperature overnight.

  3. For the next 3 days, knead mixture twice a day. On the 10th day, transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk; mix until well combined. Measure 1 cup of the mixture into each of 3 resealable plastic bags. Seal plastic bags and give each bag of starter mixture to a friend to make their own friendship bread.

  4. To make bread: Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Add oil to bowl with remaining starter mixture along with eggs, remaining 1/2 cup milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined; set aside.

  5. In another large bowl, mix together remaining 2 cups flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt, baking soda, pudding, and nuts, if desired. Add dry ingredients to starter mixture and stir until well combined. Divide batter evenly between two 8-by-4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans.

  6. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over batter. Transfer to oven and bake for 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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