Baking and Selling Amish Friendship Bread: Recipe and Complete Instructions
How We Raised Money With Amish Friendship Bread
When my Granddaughter (who I later adopted) was a Junior in High School, she announced that her Band class had the opportunity to go to Japan to perform. She was a member of the Color Guard in the band. For those who are not familiar with the Color Guard, it is a drill team made up of performers who practice and perform precise drill exercises. She was Captain of the Color Guard that year, and it was very important for her to go.
The trip would cost $3,000.00 for each student for the seven-day trip. That included airfare, food, and housing. The students would stay in a Japanese Host home. This was a rare opportunity for her to travel and see firsthand the customs of the Japanese. The only problem was: we didn’t have money for her to go. We ended up making over $3,000 selling Amish Friendship Bread!
Why We Decided to Make Amish Friendship Bread
I put on my “thinking cap.” What could we do to make enough money for her to go to Japan? I remembered making Amish Friendship Bread at Christmastime to give as gifts. Everyone bragged about the bread. My friends always ask me to make more for them. This bread is not something you can buy in a store.
I found this recipe among my mother’s collection long after her death. So, my daughter and I decided we would make Amish Friendship Bread and sell it. We had no idea how well it would sell, and I think we were pretty brave to even try.
Amish Friendship Bread Recipe
Now, you are ready to make the bread: This recipe will make two regular sized loaves. I use my big mixer to mix all the ingredients together.
- 1 cup of the starter
- 1 cup Wesson oil
- ½ cup whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 (5.1-oz) box of instant vanilla pudding
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips, optional
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- In a large bowl mix together the starter, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix together really well.
- Add chocolate chips or nuts. I would make some of each.
- Pour into two regular sized loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I use disposable loaf pans. Our best seller was the bread with the Chocolate Chips!
What Is a Yeast Starter?
A “starter” is necessary first of all. You cannot make the bread without the starter. The starter is made from yeast, and it takes 10 days to complete. If you are lucky enough to have a friend who has some starter, that’s great, otherwise, you have to make your own.
The reason the Amish called this bread Amish Friendship Bread is that they always shared their starter with a friend! The first time I made the starter, I put the ingredients into a large bowl thinking the bowl would contain the rising mix. I was wrong! The next morning, I had starter all over my kitchen counter, and it had spilled out onto the floor. What a mess that was! I then purchased a large plastic container with a lid. That worked really well.
How to Make a Starter
While the starter is “brewing” for the 10 days, your house will smell like a beer brewery! It’s a nice smell, though.
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Dissolved yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or you will kill the yeast. I use a candy thermometer. The water should be 100 degrees to 110 degrees.
- Add another 1 ½ cups of warm water.
- Place this mixture into the large plastic container. Always stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Do NOT use a metal spoon.
- Add flour and sugar.
- Day 1: Begin the starter
- Day 2: Stir
- Day 3: Stir
- Day 4: Stir
- Day 5: Add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup sifted flour, and 1 cup whole milk. Stir until there are no lumps.
- Day 6: Stir
- Day 7: Stir
- Day 8: Do Nothing
- Day 9: Do Nothing
- Day 10: Add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup sifted flour, and 1 cup whole milk
After the 10 days are completed, divide the starter into four separate containers. I use a pint-size Ziploc bag. This starter freezes well for use later. At this point, the Amish would share their starter with a friend, but I needed all I could make for our bread.
Tip: I found it easier to keep up with the days the starter had been brewing by placing a piece of paper on the top of the container and marking off each day. I'd also make a note on my calendar.
We Would Cover and Label The Bread
We would then cover the bread tightly with Saran wrap, and place a sticky label on the top telling what kind of bread it was—Chocolate Chip, Pecan, or Walnut. Also, we typed on the label this bread is perishable! Keep refrigerated or freeze until you are ready to eat it. It cannot be left out on the kitchen counter! It will spoil quickly! We included our phone number so people could call and order more of the bread. We sold it on a money-back guarantee, and no one ever asked for their money back.
We Reached Our Goal of $3,000 Plus Some Extra
I have to tell you, this bread sold as fast as we could make it. We had a regular assembly line going in my kitchen. I would have six separate containers of starter going at any given time, and we were making eight loaves at one time. We priced our bread at $10.00 per loaf.
We earned enough to send my Daughter to Japan, plus enough to purchase a freezer to hold the extra loaves until they could be sold. The marketing of this bread is another story in itself. We would load up the car in the early morning and go around door to door and sell them. It took us three months of hard work and effort, but we did it.
Soon people were calling to order more bread. We could have had a good little business, but the laws that protect consumers prevented that. We were allowed to sell our bread to friends, but not to the general public unless my kitchen was inspected and passed all the local Health Department requirements. I was tempted to go through all that "red tape", but I decided it would have been too expensive to install special sinks, ovens, and other equipment.
We accomplished what we set out to do by working together to make and sell this bread. My Daughter had an experience she will never forget in Japan with the Color Guard.
I still make this Amish Friendship Bread from time to time, because my family loves it. I always have some starter in my freezer ready to make this delicious bread.
If you don't have a friend who has some starter, and you don't want to make it yourself, check out eBay. Someone on there usually has some for sale.
It's Time to Make More Amish Friendship Bread
My 17yr. old grandson came home from school last week and announced his Latin Class is planning a trip to Italy next year. He remembered how we earned the money to send his sister to Japan.
I guess I'll have to bring out the big plastic containers and get started now to make Amish Friendship Bread! It looks like he and I will be busy for quite some time.