Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread aka Herman Starter

I resurrected this post from the archives and have added a couple of things to it.  I have not made this actual version, as the friendship bread I have used in the past was given to me.  I plan on starting this today, so I will take photos and update this as I go along.

I am sure many of you will remember this, I can remember my Mom having it around when I was younger.  The recipe I am showing is a "natural yeast method" and does require a little more babysitting.  This version does not go in the refrigerator (it will slow down or stop the fermentation process).  You may wonder if this method is safe and yes it is as long as it is done properly.  I recommend doing your own research on this subject - you may want to go with a more modern version of this  which adds yeast to recipe, thereby avoiding the natural fermentation process.  You will still get the same end results, but it will not be the same recipe that our ancestors used before pre-packaged yeast was available.

Starter Mix:
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • On Day 1- in a GLASS pitcher or PLASTIC bowl, combine 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, and 1 Cup Milk. Stir mixture with a wooden or plastic spoon. (do NOT use metal spoon or electric mixers). Pour mixture into a Ziploc baggie. Keep at room temperature- do NOT refrigerate.
  • On Days 2, 3 and 4: Simply squish the baggie thoroughly, then open to release the air. It is normal for the batter to rise and bubble while fermenting. Re-close baggie.
  • On Day 5: Add 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, and 1 Cup Milk. Squish baggie thoroughly. Release any air. Re-close baggie.
  • On Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: Simply Squish the baggie thoroughly, open to release air, re-close baggie.
  • On Day 10: Add 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, 1 Cup Milk. Squish to thoroughly mix. Remove 3 Cups of this mixture- dividing into 1 Cup portions. Give 1 Cup to 3 of your friends. Save the remaining starter for yourself.

A few variations for prepared batter:

Pre-heat oven to 325°. To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:
3 eggs
1 cup oil
½ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups flour (sifted if you wish)
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding

  1. Grease 2 large loaf pans.
  2. Mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pan with half of this mixture.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.
  4. Bake one hour.
  5. Allow the loaves to cool and Enjoy!

Optional Additions:

*Add 1 cup chopped pecans and / or 1/2 cup raisins.
*Use banana cream pie pudding and two mashed bananas.
*Use lemon pudding and lemon extract in place of vanilla pudding and vanilla extract. Also add 1/4 cup of poppy seeds and omit cinnamon and nuts.
*Add one cup of raisins and one small diced apple.
(healthy tip: some use 1/2 cup applesauce in place of 1/2 cup of the oil)
Another site with great resources is The Friendship Bread Kitchen, I found it helpful to start with their Frequently Asked Questions.

The following is to print out and give with your starter packs - it will help the 10 day progression if you fill in the actual dates.

  • Day One is the date you first received or made the bag of starter.
  • Do not use any metal spoons or bowls with this recipe. It will interfere with the process of fermentation.
  • To keep the bag of Friendship Starter from exploding, check it more than once a day and be sure to release any excess air build-up.
  • When told to knead the bag, do so carefully. Hold the re-sealable area in one hand, and use the other hand to knead the starter.
Day One - ______________ - Do nothing.

Day Two - ______________ - Knead the bag.

Day Three - ____________ - Knead the bag.

Day Four - _____________ - Knead the bag.

Day Five - _____________ - Knead the bag.

Day Six - ______________ - Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the bag. Knead until well mixed.

Day Seven - ____________ - Knead the bag

Day Eight - ____________ - Knead the bag

Day Nine - _____________ - Knead the bag

Day Ten - ______________ -Pour contents of re-sealable bag into non-metal bowl. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir with wooden or plastic spoon. Place 1 cup of starter in each of 3 resealable 1-gallon bags. Give these to your friends along with these directions. Use the remaining starter to make your bread.  You may want to keep one bag of starter for yourself – just give away two instead of three!

Making the Bread -
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 8x4-inch loaf pans.
·  2 cups flour
·  1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·  1/2 teaspoon salt
·  2 teaspoons cinnamon
·  1 cup sugar
·  1 (5 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix
·  1 cup vegetable oil
·  1/2 cup milk
·  3 eggs
·  1 teaspoon vanilla
·  1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted

Combine the dry ingredients and mix in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
To the dry ingredients, add the leftover starter and wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts. Carefully, pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour.



  1. Followed you back from the blog hop! So this is how you start out friendship bread! I have been looking high and low for this recipe! Thanks for sharing

  2. Following you back from the blog hop! I remember doing this years ago! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I am so glad you posted this recipe. I have always wanted to make it but never had the info on how! Following you back, through GFC, from the blog hop!

  5. Love your blog.
    Can we follow each other?

  6. Returning the follow(kport207) from the SSS hop.

    Thanks for visiting and following me at Just the Two of Us and Deals.

  7. Sounds great. I'm a new follower from the hop, please drop by and do same when you have time. Thanks.

  8. Connie from Girl Tech DivasJune 12, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Connie from Girl Tech Divas is your newest fan from the Sunday Blog Hop. Would love it if you can hop by and follow back!

  9. This looks yummy! Stopping by from the blog hop and following you on twitter.

  10. I AM SO EXCITED about the Amish Bread starter!! I LOVE to give this to friends and start it going around the neighborhood!! Awesome!!!
    I am following you on GFC from Super Stalker Hop. Cant wait to read more.

  11. I already follow you on GFC, FB and Twitter but I just wanted to say thanks for linking up at Super Stalker Sunday! Hope you found some great blogs! Have a great week!

    April @ Mama on a Green Mission

  12. Following back for Super Stalker Sunday. I LOVE RECIPES! I'm be checking back in to check out all your recipes :-) Thanks.

  13. Thank you for sharing the recipe and directions! My sister-in-law always shares this with us and would be so surprised if we started it next time. :)

    Thanks for visiting and following A Helicopter Mom on GFC, FB and twitter!

    I'm following back now on GFC, twitter and facebook too! Have a great week!

    A Helicopter Mom

  14. I did this years ago. I thought it was fun! I've never been the one to start it though. I'll be watching for you pictures.


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