Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

Years ago I had a family member hand me a plastic bag containing this beige colored goop inside it. I’m was told it was an Amish friendship bread starter. It could be used in all kinds of baked goods, tasted delicious and just needed to be “fed” once in a while. I vaguely remember that the quick bread I made from it tasted great but don’t remember what ultimately become of my little bag of dough goop.

This month’s Recipe Redux theme was posted a few weeks back. When I saw it was fermenation I tried to think of things I could make. I went with this absolutely delicious cultured butter and then, when searching sourdough bread recipes, I came across several recipes for the starter that I was given years ago. My original plan was to make the butter but then I thought I’d also give the bread starter a try. There was nothing to lose except for a bit of flour, sugar and milk. If it was a flop at least I still had the butter.

Putting the starter together took less than 5 minutes of my time. Several days later I “fed” the starter and stirred it. A few more days after that the starter was ready to be used. Here’s a picture of the starter on day 10. There are small bubbles across the surface and it has a yeasty, alcohol like scent. Note to self: this can be transfered to a smaller container. Cay you see the starter waaaaaayyyy down the bottom?

I wondered how this liquidy, odd smelling stuff was somehow going to turn into what all the recipe reviews claimed was some of the best tasting bread (or cookies or pancake or whatever) in the world. I was amazed to discover that they were right! This sourdough like starter made the most incredible quick bread. The original starter was used up and a second one made replacing milk with almond milk. This version seems to be working out just fine as well.

Friendship Bread Starter Recipe
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (can also use almond or soy milk)
  • 2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (1 - 0.25 ounce package)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • An additional cup of sugar, flour and milk will be needed on day 5 and day 10.
  1. In a small bowl mix the yeast and water together. Let stand for 10 minutes. It should begin to bubble.
  2. Combine the sugar and flour in a container or bowl (use one with a cover) or a large plastic ziplock bag. Stir in the milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Place the cover loosely on the container. If using the ziplock bag you can close it but will need to let the air that builds up out as the bag fills. Leave the container or bag out at room temperature.
  3. Consider this day 1 of the 10 days that it will take to make the starter.
  4. Days 2 through 4: stir the starter with a spoon and cover again.
  5. Day 5: Stir in 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup of milk.
  6. Day 5 through 9: Stir the starter and cover.
  7. Day 10: Stir in 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup of milk.
  8. At this time you can remove up to 3 cups of starter. They may either be used in a recipe, stored in your refrigerator until needed or you can divide 1 cup into plastic bags and give the starter to friends and family. Those receiving a bag of starter would follow the directions beginning with day 2 (stir only).
*The amount of starter produced can be reduced by simply cutting back on the amount of sugar, flour and milk added on day 5 and 10. Add ½ cup of each instead of 1 cup and it will cut the amount of starter in half. *If you are lactose intolerant almond or soy milk can be substituted. *The starter will have a yeasty, alcohol like scent to it. If your starter should ever show signs of having any type of mold growth or start smelling sour it might have been contaiminated with something other than yeast. Toss it out. Better safe then sorry.

Give either version of this friendship bread starter a try. I’ll be posting the recipe for several different items I’ve made with the starter including lemon blueberry bread and pancakes.

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