Sometime earlier in the year, I decided I wanted to get a starter for Amish Friendship Bread and write about it. But then school started and I became The Grad Student Zombie, and there was just no time or energy for such things. Or anything for that matter.
Then, magically, at the end of the semester, a teacher in my office offered me a starter out of nowhere and I knew it was meant to be. School was over, so I had a little more time to focus on a recipe that takes 10 days to make. She gave me a Ziploc bag full of this weird dough stuff and a piece of paper with instructions for each day until baking day. I was pumped.
Friendship Bread takes 10 days to make, and on each day, you do something different to the bag of dough. At the end of the 10 days, you reserve some of the starter to pass along to friends, and then bake the delicious bread. It’s actually a sweet bread with cinnamon and sugar on top. Okay, so it’s basically cake.
I think a lot of people hear that this recipe takes 10 days and freak out a little, but I like that about this recipe. We live in a world with boxed cake mixes and precut vegetables, which are perfect for certain occasions, but I love that this recipe requires patience and time and effort. Like friendship. And then of course, there’s the fact that you pass along the starter to other people you love, which makes this all the more special.
I actually had a wedding to go to in between the 10 days, so I had to take it with me and babysit the starter. Yes. I carried around a bag of goo in my purse for three days. On the 10th day, you finally bake the bread, and this day happened to fall on Mother’s Day, which I also thought was perfect timing. This recipe makes two standard size loaves of bread, so I took one of the loaves to my grandmother’s house and gave starters to both of my grandmothers and my mom.
To make your own Friendship Bread, you’ll of course, need a starter. There are plenty of recipes to make your own starter on the Internet, but ask around first. You might be surprised to find that your next door neighbor or Great Aunt Sally has a starter in her freezer waiting for the perfect home. Once you get the starter, follow the steps below. Save this photo of the recipe to your phone or computer to keep on hand when you’re prepping your bread. And don’t forget the most important part of baking this bread: sharing it with the people you love.