HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What's your latest food project?

Amish Friendship Bread

dairyqueen Dec 10, 2002 09:54 AM

So I've got this gallon ziploc bag of starter. My boyfriend's mom made a big batch of Amish Friendship Bread ten days ago, and handed me the bag and a set of instructions more complicated than the ones I used to build my Ikea computer desk.

For the last ten days, I was supposed to squeeze the bag several times, letting out the excess air as needed. On the 8th day, I added a cup each of milk, sugar and flour. On the tenth day, I was supposed to bake it up, adding vanilla, 2 small boxes of vanilla pudding, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda along the way.

Here are my questions:
--will the resulting bread suffer if I bake it today, one day later than I was supposed to?
--how long will this starter really last?
--how often do I need to "feed" it?
--my boyfriend's mom's Amish bread was moist and light, but toothachingly sweet. How much sugar should I cut to lessen the sweetness? How much of the pudding should I cut? And what the heck are Amish people doing with boxes of Jello Instant Pudding?
--what should I add to it (nuts? berries?)


  1. alliedawn_98 May 25, 2010 01:02 PM

    I have read this thread and laughed. I live near Amish and I think you would all be amused by what you find in their shopping carts at the grocery store. They buy many of the same items we do, convenience items, processed foods, etc. They do not live strictly off of what they can grow or raise at home. They buy riding lawn mowers, weed eaters, chainsaws, and all sorts of other things. Some of them have electricity or diesel engines to run equipment in their barns but not their homes, a telephone across the road (that way it doesn' t interfere with home-life), they eat out at restaurants (once sat across from a table of 12 at King Dragon Buffet in Sturgis, MI), and they work in mobile home factories and other manufacturing facilities in the area.

    As far as the Amish Friendship bread, I made that stuff for about 6 months back in 2008-2009. I made all kinds of variations....banana bread, banana-strawberry bread, pumpkin, and the cinnamon that came with the starter. The cinnamon never turned out right for me. The only time it was edible was when I left the pudding mix completely out of it. The other breads were ok but we got sick of eating them. I froze the bread so we ate on it all last summer after the 6 months of baking the stuff every 10 days. I froze starter and it's still in the freezer and I still have no desire to use it. :)

    1. r
      Roscoe Dec 10, 2002 03:14 PM

      I added cinnamon and chocolate chips and it was delicious. A friend at work said it's one of the best things I've made, and I bake a lot, not sure if I should take it as a comliment...

      1. t
        Teólogo Dec 10, 2002 12:57 PM

        OK, Jello pudding mix aside, my question is: is your Amish Friendship Bread starter stored in a Ziplock bag, and is it appropriate for the Amish to use this type zipper?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Teólogo
          Maverick8901 May 25, 2010 08:26 AM

          I don't use plastic bags or containers if I can help it. I don't like what leaches into foods from plastics. I immediately put my starter in a GLASS mason jar. I stir instead of "mush" it w/ a wooden spoon. I reduced the sugar quite a bit ...kept just enough to "feed" the yeast. I dusted my pan w/ "Just Like Sugar" and ALL NATURAL sugar substitute and cinnamon.. unlike toxic Splenda, Xylitol (and yes it's toxic...and NOT all natural!!! contrary to how it's portrayed as being so wonderful!), Aspartame, Sucralose, HFCS, etc... YIKES! I did have to keep a "little" organic sugar to feed the yeast. I made up my own "pudding mix" using organic cornstarch. I used organic "spelt" flour since it's a more digestible flour. It still has gluten in it...but it is kinder to digestion and doesn't produce inflammatory response in people like traditional wheat does.

          As for the response about receiving a "contaminated" starter source or it "going bad"...if you know what you're doing you'll be safe. Most foods that are prepackaged and mass produced are much more toxic and less sanitary than what we can do for ourselves naturally. Of course, most people want "instant" results...which I noticed in even this 10 day bread. This is why it has a "commercial pudding" mix. People don't want to take the time to go back to basics. It's LOTS of work...but it's much better for your health if you keep ingredients basic and simple. If you know where they come from that is even better!
          P.S. My bread came out wonderfully! I think I will make bread every 10 days. In a way it's easier w/my schedule since I"m ADHD and I can just do a few steps each day! :0)

        2. j
          jenn Dec 10, 2002 12:20 PM

          My question exactly---what the heck are these Amish people doing with Jello instant pudding? I am also blessed? with a bag of friendship bread and my experience also tells me it will be too darn sweet. And on principal, I can't stand the idea of buying jello pudding---in essence a bag of sugar with cornstarch, is it not?
          So, I'm going to just leave the pudding out and see what happens. Since I don't know anyone to share with right now, I plan to make 2 breads and experiment. I will completely leave out the pudding mix in both and will add a little more flour to one. I was also thinking of adding raisins or something. I will be happy to report back.
          Maybe by working together, we can come up with a friendship bread recipe that doesn't support the sale of Jello pudding!

          1. m
            Murghi Dec 10, 2002 12:18 PM

            The thing about Friendship Loaf is that in a very short time all your friends will run screaming from you every time you approach them. I remember one of the happiest days in our family was when Sister baked the last of the loaf starter without starting any more.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Murghi
              dairyqueen Dec 10, 2002 01:17 PM

              Hah! All of you responders have me laughing as I squeeze, squeeze, squeeze my ziploc full of guilt and friendship bread starter. Maybe Amish use a special ziploc with buttons instead of a zipper.

              Of course I'll have to make the bread --because the lady who gave me the starter will want to know if I did...but I'm going to follow Jenn's example and try one of the loaves sans puddin' (I just had a ridiculous mental flash of Bill Cosby in Amish gear). Maybe I'll dump in some walnuts and dried apricots or something. Jenn, let us all know how yours turns out.

              I've already decided not to force the starter on my friends, who will find it an even more guilt-laden enterprise than I already do...but I will certainly give a bag of starter to my sister, who has just moved to Connecticut. It's the kind of thing she takes a perverse thrill in, being a suburban mom who cooks and inflicts baked goods on the neighbors.

              1. re: dairyqueen
                occula May 26, 2010 07:22 AM

                That's hilarious - I'm going to call it "guilt and friendship bread" from now on.

                I went through one of those cycles once, but the recipe didn't call for pudding. However, I remember being disappointed in the bread - it really just tasted like plain bread and didn't have that awesome homemade yeasty taste I'd hoped for. On the other hand, it got me to make bread, so that was a good thing. :)

              2. re: Murghi
                Gary Rolin Dec 10, 2002 02:06 PM

                I find it to be the culinary equivalent of a chain letter...

                1. re: Gary Rolin
                  GG Mora Dec 10, 2002 05:29 PM

                  My sentiments exactly. I've been given starter more times than I care to count; call me a carmudgeon, but I treat them the same as chain letters: Deep 6. I don't have to slave over bread I'm not gonna like anyway or busy myself forwarding Xerox copies and the like to prove my friendship.


                  1. re: GG Mora
                    Mrs. Smith Dec 11, 2002 02:35 PM

                    Agreed. I have also been cursed. My recipe too included Jello pudding, and that tore it for me. As soon as I read that on the recipe I tossed the starter. I'm not sure if actual Amish folks make it this way or not, but one thing I do know for sure. Many authentic Amish foods are as one poster said "tooth-achingly sweet". So that, at least, is authentic.

                    Who started this weird phenomenon, anyway?

                    1. re: Mrs. Smith
                      GG Mora Dec 11, 2002 04:45 PM

                      Most likely NOT the Amish.

                      1. re: GG Mora
                        Stanley Stephan Dec 11, 2002 05:13 PM

                        Actually I think Freindship bread can be traced back to German origins. The Amish have a German Heritage. My understanding is that the Friendship bread that the real Amish made was just a starter that was shared by families. The German version is more of a yeast bread with fruit and nuts in it.

                        I am guessing that, given the inclusion of jello, somewhere in the past those clever folks at Kraft posted the recipe on the back of a pudding box or in one of those recipe booklets they publish.

                        Why it persists is the mystery. Sort of like a chain letter for your kitchen.

                        If someone gives you some of this, be careful. If it isn't carefully stored or the source has some hygiene problems, you might be passing along problems.

                        Anyway for more than fifty variations of the jello-y kind of Friendship bread, here's the ultimate, if slightly stomach churning, source of recipes. I mean really, coconut, pineapple and pistachio Freindship bread.

                        Link: http://www.armchair.com/recipe/amish/...

                        1. re: Stanley Stephan
                          Stanley Stephan Dec 11, 2002 05:32 PM

                          BTW, the original poster asked for suggestions about how to use the starter in a way that would not make teeth ache from sweetness.

                          The site below has the recipe for the starter and, if you scroll, down a recipe sans pudding that is closer to the German bread origins. I'm guessing this was what real Amish Freindship bread is more like.

                          Scroll down past the snowflakes to the purple part of the page.

                          Link: http://bb.bbboy.net/whimsies-viewthre...

                      2. re: Mrs. Smith
                        jen kalb Dec 11, 2002 05:04 PM

                        There is a similar phenomenon called "Herman". another bread starter that is shared around, but the basic phenomenom is probably as old as yeast raised bread - many of the best breads are made using a starter (a piece of the last batch of bread "fed" with additional, flour and water) - and before there was reliable commercial dried yeast, this would have been the best way of getting a batch of bread going.

                        There are all kinds of legends/stories about sourdough starters perpetuated for many years, and travelling the globe...so the Amish Friendship Bread and its pal Herman are just the cloying latest versions of bread history.

                2. i
                  ironmom Dec 10, 2002 10:44 AM

                  The recipes I found on the web all looked really sweet.

                  If I find something too sweet, I usually cut the sugar by 1/4. If I find it way too sweet, I cut it by 1/3. That should work in this recipe. It will still be plenty sweet.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ironmom
                    dairyqueen Dec 10, 2002 11:50 AM

                    Thanks! I'll take your advice on the sugar content. But what about those two boxes of pudding? What could those possibly be doing in there? In your opinion, do you think I could cut some of it and still have a moist bread?

                    1. re: dairyqueen
                      ironmom Dec 10, 2002 01:27 PM

                      I would substitute one egg for each box of pudding. You may need to add a little extra flour when you mix to make up for the difference in liquid.

                      If you want, you could add a teaspoon of vanilla, too.

                  Show Hidden Posts