Recipe Cupboard – Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

1/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
1 package active dry yeast* (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk (you need the higher fat content)

Directions for Starter

Use glass bowls preferably, or plastic – do not use metal bowls or utensils.

Pour the warm water into a small glass bowl.

Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let this stand for 5-8 minutes to allow it to bloom.

In a larger glass bowl, combine the flour and sugar with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the milk to the flour/sugar mixture.

Then stir in the yeast mixture.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to stand until bubbly.

Once the mixture is bubbly, pour it into a gallon-size zippered plastic bag and seal. This counts as Day 1.

Directions for Developing the Starter

This is what you will write on the bags as instructions!

Do not refrigerate at all during this 10-day process. Allow the sourdough mixture to sit out at room temperature. If air gets inside bag, open the bag a bit, let the air out, and reseal.

Day 1: Do nothing.

Day 2: Mash the bag.

Day 3: Mash the bag.

Day 4: Mash the bag.

Day 5: Mash the bag.

Day 6: Add 1 cup each of all-purpose flour, sugar, and milk. Mash the bag until ingredients are well mixed.

Day 7: Mash the bag.

Day 8: Mash the bag.

Day 9: Mash the bag.

Day 10: Pour the sourdough mixture from the Ziploc bag into a glass (or other nonmetal) bowl. Add ½ cup each of all-purpose flour, sugar, and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Divide out 1 cup portions of the starter, placing each one-cup portion in separate zippered plastic bags. You’ll get about 4-5 bags.

Securely seal the bags.

The bags of starter are ready to give away to friends along with the instructions. But keep one for yourself!

The starter then goes back to Day 1 to build it back to the sharing quantity.


1. Have sturdy gallon freezer Ziploc plastic bags (for easily storing the starter), glass bowls, and wooden spoons on hand. For sourdough, you don’t want to use metal bowls or utensils. Sourdough is acidic and can dissolve certain metals. It’s best to use anything but metal bowls and utensils.

2. Before filling the Ziploc bags, write the directions right on the bags using a permanent marker so you never have to go hunting for the directions.

3. While you are working your way through the 10-day process, store the starter at room temperature. If the Ziploc bag gets air in it, simply let it out.

4. How much sourdough you end up with at the end of the 10-day process depends on how active your sourdough is. You’ll end up with about 5-6 cups.

5. On Day 10 after you add last bit of all-purpose flour, sugar, and milk, separate out 1-cup portions into Ziploc bags (don’t forget those directions on the front!).

6. At this point, you can give away all but one of those starter bags to friends along with the recipe and instructions so they can indulge in their own friendship bread.

7. You need to keep a bag of starter for yourself to continue the sourdough process (Day 10 is equal to Day 1) and make the Amish Friendship Bread with one of the other cups of starter.

8. If you can’t find anyone who wants the sourdough starter, simply throw those 1-cup bags into the freezer until another time when you’d like to start the sourdough process or bake the bread.

9. When you pull the sourdough out of the freezer and want to make a batch of starter, treat it as Day 1. Or to make the bread straight away, just go ahead and use that cup to bake loaves of friendship bread!