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Make friendship bread with this recipe from Little Passports

Spread the Love with Friendship Bread

Friendship bread is the gift that keeps on giving—literally! It begins with one person who creates a starter batch and shares it among friends. These friends then share it with their friends, and the chain continues. The concept of friendship bread comes from an old Amish tradition. It is uncertain who the first person was to start this tradition, but some say it began as a way to help the poorer members of the community. 

Friendship bread is unique, because one small batch of starter mixture can wind up feeding an entire neighborhood. Grab the family for an afternoon of bread making. The kids will have a blast spreading cheer amongst friends and family with this delicious sourdough friendship bread.

Make friendship bread with this recipe from Little Passports
Make friendship bread with this recipe from Little Passports


  • 4 one gallon plastic bags
  • 1 permanent marker
  • Wooden or plastic bowl
  • Wooden or plastic mixing utensil

Starter Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup warm water 
  • 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk

Starter Instructions:

Step one: Pour the water into a small plastic or metal bowl. (Sourdough is acidic and can dissolve metal. Use wooden stirring utensils as well.)

Step two: Sprinkle the yeast into the water. Let it sit for about five minutes, or until it dissolves. 

Step three: In another bowl, mix together the flour and sugar.

Step four: Stir in the milk and yeast mixture.

Step five: Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit until bubbly.

Step six: On four gallon size plastic bags, write the following instructions with a permanent marker:

“Day One: Do nothing.

Day Two: Mash the bag.

Day Three: Mash the bag.

Day Four: Mash the bag.

Day Five: Mash the bag.

Day Six: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mash the bag.

Day Seven: Mash the bag.

Day Eight: Mash the bag.

Day Nine: Mash the bag.

Day Ten: Add ½ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, and ½ cup milk. Scoop one cup of mixture into four separate bags. Keep one and give the rest to friends!”

Step seven: Once the starter mixture is bubbly, pour it into a plastic bag and seal. Let it sit out at room temperature. Do not refrigerate. This counts as Day 1.


Now that you have your starter, it’s time to distribute it to friends! Make sure to tell them which day the starter is on. Include a copy of the recipe below.

Friendship Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding

Friendship Bread Instructions:

Step one: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step two: Pour one cup of starter mixture into a wooden or plastic bowl. 

Step three: Add all listed ingredients and mix well. 

Step four: Spray bread pans with nonstick cooking spray. 

Step five: Make a sugar mixture using ½ cup sugar and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. Dust the pans with half of the mixture.

Step six: Pour the batter into the pans and sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture evenly over the batter. 

Step seven: Bake for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Step eight: Let the loaf cool on a wire rack and serve!

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