Here’s a brief introduction plus a few tips and recipes below to help you get started…
This bread is made with a sweetened sourdough starter that you typically receive from a friend (that’s why it’s called Friendship Bread). The “legend” is that it was first “started” by the Amish who gave it to friends who then turned around and gave it to their friends and so on until a batch found its way to you…but you’re not out of luck if you don’t have any Amish friends, you’ll find instructions below to create it from scratch yourself ;).
Once you receive it (usually in a ziploc bag), you feed and care for it (adding a few ingredients, mushing the bag daily) for 10 days. After 10 days you’ll have enough for 4 portions (4 cups)…1 you use to bake a loaf, 2 you give away (or bake more with) and 1 you keep to make another batch that will be ready in 10 days.
It is used to make a delicious, moist cake or sweet bread (think banana) that has a cinnamon flavor to it but there are lots of different flavor combos you can try (I’ve shared some ideas below). You’ll find most require at least 1 cup of starter and a box of instant pudding mix, so it’s a little different than what a typical loaf requires.
Here are some quick tips and then a bunch of recipes to help (even a couple for the original starter itself!).
- How to tell if a starter is good or ok to use? Discard any which smell bad, turn reddish or orange in color, or grow mold. Good ones are bubbly and have a sour smell; it should smell sweet and tangy. Here’s the source with more safety tips that is no longer online: Safety  (web archive).
- Can it be frozen? You bet! Allow to thaw and bubble and burp before using in baking. This is a great relief to those who aren’t frequent bakers but enjoy making the occasional loaf for themselves. This whole process can quickly get tiring for those who dread baking every ten days so this is good to know.
- When giving away a bag, mark the date on the bag that it was first mixed, this will help the recipient keep track of the process.
- To keep it active, do not refrigerate but keep it at room temperature. You can try storing it in the refrigerator after the fermenting process is on a roll and then return it to room temperature a few hours before baking to get it going again (mentioned in the safety link above).
- Every set of instructions I’ve come across warn against metal coming in contact with the starter, that means no metal utensils, mixing bowls and baking pans.
I had a lot of bookmarks for this and many are pretty much the same so I just listed the ones that had something unique to share, either an ingredient substitution or had some nice flavor twists to offer. Enjoy!
- Starter & Bread Recipes : Shares instructions for making the original starter and the recipe for making the bread, yields two loaves (standard recipe using 2 cups of starter, self-rising flour, cinnamon, a box of vanilla instant pudding and other ingredients). From Chickens In The Road.
- Alternate To Instant Pudding : No box of instant pudding in the house? This page offers an alternate recipe (along with others). From Big, Bold, Beautiful Food.
- Tropical Version : Ingredients include applesauce, white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, instant coconut cream pudding, starter and more ingredients. From A Southern Grace.
- Pumpkin Walnut Loaves : Made with instant pumpkin spice pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, a cup of starter and more ingredients. From Lindsey’s Luscious. She also shares a Lemon Poppyseed version here .
- Lots of Flavor Variations : You’ll find recipes for Banana Nut, Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, Butterscotch, Mounds Bar (chocolate & coconut), Chocolate Mint, Lemon, Cranberry Orange, Banana Chocolate Chip, Cherry, Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice, Strawberry, Chocolate Cherry, Carrot Cake, and Chocolate Muffins. From Chowtown.
- Chocolate-Pecan : Made with chocolate pudding, chocolate chips, pecans. From One Hot Stove.
- Banana Raisin : This is made with whole wheat flour, banana, raisins and reduced sugar. From Ahaar.
Do you have experience working with this and have a tip or favorite recipe I missed? Please feel free to share with us all in the Discussion area below :).