Amish Friendship Bread & Sourdough Stuff

learn how to make amish friendhip bread Amish Friendship bread
Amish Friendship Bread & Sourdough Stuff, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When I was an 18-year-old kid just starting out with Elizabeth Coblentz and The Amish Cook column I had never heard of “Amish Friendship Bread.”  But the readers certainly had!  I think my first encounter with it was when Elizabeth received a reader letter requesting the recipe shortly after we launched the column.  And Friendship Bread has gone on to become the single most requested recipe in Amish Cook history! I think we could re-run the recipe once a month and there would still be people who missed it and would write to request it.  To be candid, Elizabeth Coblentz really wasn’t all that familiar with it the recipe.  Amish Friendship Bread is part touristy lore, part reality.  Yes, in some Amish settlements sourdough bread has caught on and is popular, in others it’s just not done very often.   Years ago I was having a discussion with the editor of a Virginia paper that carries The Amish Cook and he brought up the topic of “friendship bread.”   When I told him that Elizabeth really wasn’t familiar with the recipe he went so far as to suggest that maybe The Amish Cook “wasn’t even real”, that maybe I invented her.  I wanted to sarcastically say to him “Yep, it’s all a ruse.  You got me.  The reporters who have been to Elizabeth’s house to interview her, they made it all up. The woman that has appeared at book-signings: she’s an actress.  The house she lives in: a prop.  You’re right, buddy, you figured it out!”   But I held my tongue and seethed.   It was one of the more bizarre and insulting conversations I’ve had with editors over the years and I’ve had several.

In Lovina’s settlement sourdough bread IS a popular item so she has really embraced it and uses the starter in breads, pancakes, and cinnamon rolls.  There are as many different versions of starters as there are different sects of the Amish.  Some starters are really doughy, while others are very liquidy.  Lovina’s version is very liquidy.  Take a look at the recipe, how does it compare with yours?  The starter is the thing that seems to trip most people up.  Good luck with this!  The recipe is a challenge, but the work is worth the reward.  The recipe’s name “friendship bread” seems to have its roots in the fact that that the starter is often given away as gifts to people so that they can make their own!


Sourdough starter

3 pkgs. yeast

1 c. warm water

Starter feed

3/4 c. sugar

3 tbsp. instant potatoes

1 c. warm water

Sourdough bread

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 c. corn oil

1 tsp. salt

1 c. starter (potato fed)

1 1/2 c. warm water

6 c. bread flour

Sourdough starter

Combine and refrigerate, covered, for 3 to 5 days. Take out and feed with the starter feed.

Starter feed:

Mix well and add to starter. Let stand out of refrigerator all day (5 to 12 hours). Mixture will be bubbly. Take out 1 cup to make bread and return starter to refrigerator. Keep in refrigerator 3 to 5 days and feed again. If not making bread after feeding starter, throw away 1 cup to avoid depleting your starter. Note: Do not put lid on tight on starter.

Sourdough bread

Combine above ingredients and make a stiff batter. grease another bowl. Put dough in and turn over oily side on top. Cover with foil and let stand overnight. (Do not refrigerate.) The next morning, punch dough down. Divide into thirds. Knead each part on floured surface 8 to 10 times. Grease 3 loaf pans and turn each loaf over in pan so it has oil on both sides. Let rise in pans 4 or 5 hours. (All day is all right.) Cover with waxed paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and brush with butter. Cool on rack. Wrap well and store. Refrigerate. Bread may be frozen.



Dough from sourdough bread

Divide it into 1/3s

Take one dough and roll it out as thin as possible. Spread top of dough with melted margarine. I use regular country crock spread so I don’t have to melt.  I do dough in 1 /2


1 cup brown sugar


Sprinkle over dough and margarine


3 teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle over brown sugar


Roll up dough. Slice 1 /2 to 3 /4 inches thick. Place in a cake pan and let rise 8 to 10 hours.  I let mine raise 4 hours. They would get too big.  Bake them at 350 for 20 minutes  Drizzle with frosting.  Powdered sugar and milk.


Join Our Newsletter

Join over 7,000 people who get free and fresh content delivered automatically each time we publish.

Sign Up

The Discussion

  1. can u post a recipe for more doughy starter? Also if u make starter a head of time, how long does it last? And how do u store it? can u freeze it?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • You can freeze it, I do know that. I’ll try to see if I can dig up a more doughy starter recipe and post it here!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  2. Here is the starter I use:

    Always use wooden spoons: NO metal spoons or bowls:

    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
    3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    3 cups granulated sugar, divided
    3 cups warm milk (110 degreesF),divided
    DAY 1: In a small bowl, dissovle 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. Slowlystir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly.
    DAYS 2 through 4:
    Stir starter with a wooden spoon.
    DAY 5:Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
    DAYS 6 through 9:
    Stir starter with a wooden spoon.
    DAY 10:
    Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 or 2 cups to make your first bread, give the three cups to friends along with the recipe. Store the remaining starter in a container in the refrigerator and begin the 10 day process over again, You can also freeze this starterin 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starterwill take at lease 3hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. Connie Coberley says:

    Thank you for the recipe for this starter, I’ve hunted for one it seems like forever.
    I really enjoy reading your column. Keep up the great work!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  4. I am looking for a Oatmeal Bread recipe. My father-in-law loves it. He will be 100 years old March 11. We are having a party for him and I would like to bake him some bread. Love your stories and recipes. I use them all the time. Could not cook,without my Amish cookbook!!!!!! Thank you

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • Wow, 100…awesome! I know Lovina has a recipe for oatmeal bread, so I will dig it up and post it here within a day or two!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  5. Barbarainnc says:

    This is the starter and bread I make. It is so good!!! One day I didn’t have any hamburger buns, so I used this bread as a bun. It made the best burger!!! I have never made cinnamon rolls with the starter, but now I have to make some!! :) :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. Lisa Combs says:

    Lovina’ sourdough bread rocks!!! and the cinnamon rolls, well they don’t last long at our house either!!!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • Lisa, so glad they worked for you! You didn’t take any photos did you? And, geez, I am in Middletown, I should have had you save some samples!:)

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  7. Dear Kevin,
    I have used the Friendship starter for years and years. The starters can be frozen for up to 6 months. When you take one out of the freezer that morning, that starts day one.
    I also bake the bread in small mini loafs and can get 5 to 6 out of a batch making wonderful gifts! Also coffee cake can be made from the starters, using fresh or canned fruit ~ yummy!
    I enjoy the column, keep up the wonderful job!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Speak Your Mind


4 × = four

CommentLuv badge