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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
Amish Friendship Bread

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.

Reviews (67)

  • Tyrel Harness 1 May, 2014

    Can anyone tell me if you can use dry cake mix instead of flour? I have a couple of very large, almost "industrial" size boxes of dry cake mix leftover from a dinner at my Church. The mix is just an "add water and bake" kind of thing. I'm just trying to find a way to use it all up within this decade!

  • ruby n jingo 10 Dec, 2012

    I love this recipe---I add red or black raspberries, applesauce for the oil, blueberries, you name it!!! Great for gifts!! I also keep and use two cups for the baking instead of one--better quality bread!!!

  • Alabaxter 18 Oct, 2008

    BEWARE - if you don't plan on doing bake sales, giving breads, muffins, and mix away to friends - this will soon consume your frig and freezer. That is if you are using just the plain old fashioned Amish Friendship Bread.

  • tjbaker 14 Sep, 2008

    I really like this, but I don't make the bread. I make giant muffins. Just shorten the baking time. I add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, this is a favorite with all my friends. I have made plain lemon, also. Substitute lemon pudding. I am next going to try apple slices.

  • Hamish1 9 Aug, 2008

    I found this recipe to be way too sweet. The amount of sugar is extraordinary. I also don't think Amish use pudding mix in traditional bread recipes. I mashed a banana, cut back the sugar and used turbinado sugar for more flavor, kicked up the baking soda a little and mixed flour, cinnamon, butter and oatmeal for a struesel topping. MUCH BETTER! The bread was great and now I plan to use this mix to make zuchinni bread. I also did a batch using applesauce for flavor and different spices.

  • 3girlsmama 3 Aug, 2008

    I've decided that there's not really any way to ruin this bread. So many of us have different ways of doing it and they all come out wonderfully. I've fudged on my days and it always works. And I've let my batter sit in a stainless steel bowl with its lid on and still the bread turned out fine. I haven't tried making my own starter yet but I think I will just to see if it works. If Martha's simple starter is correct then I don't know why it's been such a secret all these years.

  • nodms 2 Aug, 2008

    I tried to figure out why my starter has not started fermenting after 6 days. I did a search on the internet. Most recipes require yeast, but I am convinced this recipe does not. I found a recipe with the same ingredients as this one except the time for creating the original starter is different... instead of a ten day process, it requires a 27 day process giving the starter time to mature. The 10 day process is continues from there:

  • whynotme 1 Aug, 2008

    So I searched the internet and decided to try it one more time before I gave up. I went to the store and bought some Dry Active Yeast mixed it with n n n n cup Luke warm water. Let it sit approx 10 minutes (you will see it start to rise in the cup) I made another Fresh starter with 1 cup All purpose Flour, 1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Milk Mix well. Then add in the liquid Yeast and Mix well. I fixed mine just before I went to bed around 10pm and by 8am the bag looked like it was going to burst. Finally!

  • whynotme 1 Aug, 2008

    So I searched the internet and decided to try it one more time before I gave up. I went to the store and bought some Dry Active Yeast mixed it with n n n n cup Luke warm water. Let it sit approx 10 minutes (you will see it start to rise in the cup) I made another Fresh starter with 1 cup All purpose Flour, 1 cup Sugar

  • whynotme 1 Aug, 2008

    So I searched the internet and decided to try it one more time before I gave up. I went to the store and bought some Dry Active Yeast mixed it with n n n n cup Luke warm water. Let it sit approx 10 minutes (you will see it start to rise in the cup)
    I made another Fresh starter with 1 cup All purpose Flour, 1 cup Sugar

  • whynotme 1 Aug, 2008

    I had the same Problem. I tried 2 Starters 1 using Self Rising Flour and 1 using All Purpose Flour. Six Days, and no signs of bubbles or gasses with either Type of Flour.
    To work correctly it has to show some signs of fermentation. You can see little bubbles form all over in the mix not just on the top. It should also be giving off gasses. At least once a day you should have to open the bag to let the gasses out. NO Bubbles No Gas = NO Good.

  • Denise_in_TN 31 Jul, 2008

    I very disappointed with Martha's lack of understanding the recipe. She should have read and understood it before going on air. I thought it really made her look "silly". Also the Amish do not watch TV. The recipe does NOT even list the instant pudding so it is wrong also. What's up with this? Martha can do better than this. She should do another show and do it correctly.

  • TrueBlissBaking 31 Jul, 2008

    I used to have this recipe a while back and just stopped doing it after 4 months. I ran out of people to give starters to. The recipe I had did not call for pudding mix. "GourmetDiary" I would love your recipe without the pudding mix if you still have it.

  • nodms 31 Jul, 2008

    Today is day 6 and my starter has shown no change... no gas bubbles or raising of the starter. Is this normal? Does it matter what kind of milk we used?... I used skim milk.
    I was looking at the recipe list and noticed that 1 1/2 tablespoons on baking powder was listed. That seemed like a lot of baking powder... shouldn't it be 1 1/2 teaspoons (not tablespoons) baking powder?

  • LLBrittain 28 Jul, 2008

    I think they should have rehearsed that part of the show better. But in reguard to the Amish Friendship Bread, I have done it several times and it is DELISOUS. My directions had you dust the loaf pans with cinnamon and sugar instead of flour and also sprinkle the top of the loaf. That makes it AMAZING. I also started dusting my zuccini bread with Cinnamon and Sugar and my family loves it.

  • vivicooks 26 Jul, 2008

    Ok we all have a bad day sometimes even Martha!! I do think she should have let the guest that sent the bread explain the receipe it would have been much more clear. You DO NOT need yeast in this receipe!!! This bread freezes great and makes great gifts!!

  • GourmetDiary 26 Jul, 2008

    This recipe isn't as interesting to me as the one in circulation a while back when I was writing my newspaper column. I don't use shortcut products such as instant pudding or pudding mixes, so I suggest interested folks look online for other recipes for Friendship Bread or Cake, and use one of the ones with more pure ingredients. I'm certain that I could dredge my files and find the original recipe if anyone is interested.

  • paterd 26 Jul, 2008

    I can't believe Martha has never heard of friendship bread. It was very popular in the early 1980's, we used to bring it into work all the time and share. I was very disappointed in this segment, I thought I was going to learn some new tips and instead Martha just fumbled her way through, messing up the instructions. Then I see the recipe isn't complete, it doesn't mention instant pudding and the fact you shouldn't use metal utensils. Very sloppy! And please pronounce Amish correctly!

  • stylegirl 25 Jul, 2008

    This particular recipe is NOT a yeast recipe. You do NOT add yeast to it. There are other recipes out there that do require yeast, but this is not one of them. It is a self fermenting process. Also, the pudding used is an instant pudding.

  • LHH 25 Jul, 2008

    One thing that I have noticed missing on the instructions is that you cannot use any metal utensils or mixing bowls with this. The metal will actually kill the fermenting process and you will be left with goop! My recipe actually used the words "mush the bag" when refering to mixing.

  • gingersnap123 25 Jul, 2008

    I watched the show in a waiting room full of women patients and we laughed when Martha was so confused about the Amish starter. We laughed even harder that she asked the "Amish who are watching" to let her know more about the recipe. Martha, the Amish do not live with electricity so I believe most do not have televisions. You need to visit the wonderful Amish communities, learn more about their way of life, and how to prounouce Amish. Love your show.

  • gacatwoman 25 Jul, 2008

    Why do some of you keep mentioning adding yeast. This recipe DOES NOT use yeast at all. That's the point of letting it ferment several days in the bag without refrigeration and letting the air out. Any recipe adding yeast is some kind of copy cat version. The Amish version does Not include yeast.

  • Teedna 24 Jul, 2008

    Here is the website for Amish Friendship Bread, and variations.
    I have made it many times using the Instant puddings.
    The starter can be frozen for later use,[1] and the cycle begun anew after thawing.

    Taffy Southern California

  • RdRover49 24 Jul, 2008

    no yeast needed...........the recipe above is pretty clear. Hey, I believe I'll try some of the variations listed below. They sound YUM-O. Thanks

  • taunajodavis 24 Jul, 2008

    A few other variations on this recipe is to leave out the cinnamon. Then, for Chocolate Choclate chip Amish Friendship Bread add chocolate pudding mix in place of the vanilla and chocolate chips in place of the nuts. For Coconut Amish Friendship Bread use coconut pudding and coconut. Both are GREAT!!!

  • taunajodavis 24 Jul, 2008

    A few other variations on this recipe is to leave out the cinnamon. Then, for Chocolate Choclate chip Amish Friendship Bread add chocolate pudding mix in place of the vanilla and chocolate chips in place of the nuts. For Coconut Amish Friendship Bread use coconut pudding and coconut. Both are GREAT!!!

  • GourmetDiary 24 Jul, 2008

    Skimming through these comments I see many misinformed folks who believe they need yeast. Not so. The starter ferments, which creates its own yeast. I wrote a food column for many years and this was a recipe requested numerous times over the years. There are various versions. I haven't used one which calls for yeast.

  • kimwylie0523 24 Jul, 2008

    I just want to add one suggestion to whatever recipe y'all decide to use: In place of vanilla pudding, try pistachio!! YUMMMM!!!!!

  • kimwylie0523 24 Jul, 2008

    This looks like a "quick" version of Amish Friendship Bread. I've always known it to be called that because of the "starter." You either need to make it, get it from a friend, or buy it. In this recipe, there are all kinds of differences. I've always known the starter to be 1 pk. active dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, 3 cups flour, 3 cups sugar, and 3 cups milk. I found a recipe here that seems to be more accurate:

  • Rivarde 24 Jul, 2008

    Do you add yeast yes or no?

  • cubanryczek 24 Jul, 2008

    So what's the final verdict on the yeast? Is someone on the show able to get this cleared up? It's very irresponsible to put a recipe out here that is not complete. I thought perfect MARTHA should have had the bugs worked out before it was on the show. She was also very rude to the staff person who brought it in, She kept saying it was weird...and she doesn't think she's weird MANY TIMES!!!

  • Ader 24 Jul, 2008

    I have the starter recipe for the fruit friendship bread (cake). I also have the Amish recipe and will compare my recipe with the one on the show today. I've make both many times. I will post the fruit starter later.

  • ArleneW 24 Jul, 2008

    My starter is 2/3 cup of each flour, sugar

  • lovelady 24 Jul, 2008

    bake at 330? hummmm, anyhow you need to add yeast? someone over my shoulder said that you cannot use metal pans or utinsels? please someone clear this up for me! i really want to start making this it sounds like alot of fun!!

  • sbucoca 24 Jul, 2008

    I agree.You do need the complete starter recipe. It must also contain the 1 package active dry yeast. I have also made this before. Need to revise the recipe.

  • mpeet 24 Jul, 2008

    to the starter given to me, day 1 to5, mush, day 6 add i cup sugar

  • mot 24 Jul, 2008

    I have made the Amish Bread for years. On day 1, you add the cup of flour, cup of sugar, and cup of milk to the original starter that someone shared with you. Knead daily for 4 days. On day 6, feed once more, continue to knead daily. On the 10th day, pick up from the recipe above. I also add chopped dates to the recipe. Before adding batter to buttered pans, sprinkle them with granulated sugar on the bottom and sides of the pans. It won't kill the batter to go a bit over 10 days.

  • melkcj 24 Jul, 2008

    The starter recipe IS included in the bread recipe. You don't have to be given a starter. You can start your own and then share it with friends. I've done it many times. I've also frozen the starter in 1 cup increments in zip bags. You can take it out and start feeding it, or just make the bread recipe. Variations -add nuts, choc. chips, apple, banana, pineapple, and I've also substituted coconut pudding for the vanilla pudding mix.

  • rann0416 24 Jul, 2008

    I had this recipe many many years ago and shared it with my friends. I have not made it since that time, but I have a friend in Wisc. who makes it faithfully and sends it to her grandchildren I bet every week. You can change the flavor with different flavored puddings. And you can add any dried fruits or berries that you like. We have made it so many different ways. What makes it so nice is that you don't have to keep the starter refrigerated. You just set it on the counter.

  • cdkm 24 Jul, 2008

    My ten Day bread has turned into 15 at times and it doesn't hurt the finished product, just remember to squish and let the air out of the bag lol

  • cdkm 24 Jul, 2008

    Hi Irish, I've used cook and serve and the results are the same as instant

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    do step 1 and add the dry active yeast

  • InkCraft 24 Jul, 2008

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Several years ago I received this starter and was enjoying for weeks after this bread. I had so much it became a staple at work for everyone. I'm so happy to have this recipe again!!! I'll be making mine with whole raw milk and I'm going to try some buttermilk too. I remember this bread being soooo delicious. Thank you Mary for putting this recipe out there again.

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    Sorry-To make the could shortcut

  • cdkm 24 Jul, 2008

    I also opt out of step #6 (adding more sugar to seperated batter) and the bread turns out just fine

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    Sorry it's cutting off comment....Also a nice thing to do is take one of the starter bags and bake 4 mini-loaves (bake for 20 min) and give as little samples along with a bag to your friend.Make a paper calender and put add ingredient dates in pencil so you can reuse it

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    So EZ:- Leavet unrefridgerated on countertop.Make a paper calender

  • cdkm 24 Jul, 2008

    I have been making this bread religiously since the new year and have made a few adaptaions. You can add any kind of six serving pudding mix you like and mix it up with different nuts, chippettes and dried fruits. Coconut Creme, Butterscotch Chip and Banana Choco Chip are hits in my household. Have fun experimenting

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    Also I swirl my cinnamon sugar into my cake instead of sprinkle on top. I see where some folks have written that you use yeast but I'm from PA and we've never used yeast for this recipe. As a matter of have to watch your bag about evry 2 days you need to make sure you release the air from the "natural fermentation" in it or the bag will burst open. :)

  • srritajr 24 Jul, 2008

    Don't let this recipe scare's so forgiving

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    Starter is step 1 plus package dry active yeast.

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    Sorry my comments keep getting cut off.

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    My last comment got cut off. To make starter mix 1 cup each flour, sugar

  • tootlebug56 24 Jul, 2008

    Can't believe Martha has never heard of this delightful treat. I have made it several times. It seems to come around and be popular again every few years. Don't forget to add the directions to every bag you give out.

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    To make starter mix 1 cup each flour, sugar

  • tnmenke 24 Jul, 2008

    You can take all 4 parts after you separate the batter and add all the ingredients to each of the 4 parts separately and make 8 loaves at a time and then you have no starters left. Also, you can subsitute the vanilla instant pudding for lemon (I also add poppyseeds to the mixture) or chocolate is good too.

  • ShellyCroxton 24 Jul, 2008

    I also have been given this Amish bread with the recipe. After the 10 days when you seperate it,you can freeze it in the ziploc bag. I think the 1 gallon bags work best. Enjoy!

  • gay7755 24 Jul, 2008

    I have a question. On the show this morning didn't she add something else besides the flour, sugar and milk?
    When do you add the oil that is in the list?

  • mmekaz 24 Jul, 2008

    I love this cake. But I make it with Choc pudding and choc chips, no nuts and no cinnamon. I put it in a bunt pan na dbake at 350 for an hour. It is yummy. Is the starter just 1 cup flour, sugar and milk and 1 package of yeast. Would like to know so that I could do that and not have to re make the cake every ten days just to keep it going.

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    When you pass a starter to your friends they would actually start with step 2 and not add any ingredients until day six. The pudding you add is instant. One more note, you can use any flavor of instant pudding you would like. Depending on the flavor you use, you may want to eliminate the cinnamon or add something else (like cocoa powder if using chocolate pudding).

  • MissZoe 24 Jul, 2008

    Does anyone hve a similar recipe the starter for Fermented Fruit Friendship cake ? I realize nobody likes fruit cake but this one is amazingly good. I have the recipe for the cake but do not have the recipe for the starter. The Amish cake sounds delicious. Thanks to Mary and Martha for the recipe and to Robyn for the further clarification.

  • FallHarvest 24 Jul, 2008

    My grandmother started me on this recipe years ago. I like to change it up for my family a bit. I have made lemon, chocolate, and peanut butter breads just by changing up the vanilla, cinnamon, and vanilla pudding in the ingredients list. For example, with the chocolate I add chocolate syrup, cocoa, and use chocolate pudding. And for an added bonus chocolate chips.

  • Murray-Trumpet 24 Jul, 2008

    Question: Would our friends start at Direction 4 and that would be the end of it? Or would they start at Direction 1 and add theirs to the one we gave them and then keep the friendship going? If so, what do we do with the ingredients from Direction 4 and on? OR am I just not getting the over all idea of it?

  • RobynML 24 Jul, 2008

    The recipe as presented here is NOT complete. The starter is the above ingredients in step 1 plus a package of dry active yeast. These directions are lacking some important details: 1-metal utensils cannot be used or the yeast will not properly ferment, 2-the batter cannot be refrigerated and 3-each day 'gas' from the fermentation builds up and needs to be released from the bag. I have additional details but I'm running out of space! This is a delicious treat when prepared properly.

  • IrishCowgirl 24 Jul, 2008

    Is the vanilla pudding in this recipe "instant" or "cook and serve"? I imagine it would make a difference.

  • LadyBee 24 Jul, 2008

    This is not the starter, you have to have the starter given to you before you can use this recipe. I had the recipe for the starter itself and will post once I find it. Thanks

  • hjshimandle 24 Jul, 2008

    I have made the Amish Friendship Bread many times. The starter must also contain 1 package active dry yeast.

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