Amish Sourdough Bread

Amish Sourdough Bread

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Rise: 2 hrs 10 mins
Total: 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 2 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
184 Calories
1g Fat
38g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 245mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 65mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Amish sourdough bread, also known as friendship bread, is traditionally gifted. It uses a starter that can be used to make several kinds of yeast bread, including Amish cinnamon bread. As the baker, you would keep one cup of starter mix to create a new cycle of bread making, then give the remaining three cups of starter discard to friends so they can make their own.

The Amish friendship bread starter is sweeter than a regular sourdough starter and uses yeast to give it a jump start. It is then customary to feed the starter with flour, water or milk, and sugar or honey before removing a cup to use. A five-day baking cycle feeds the starter every fifth day and uses the resulting mixture on that day to bake a loaf or two of bread. The leftover mixture is then used to begin the next fermentation cycle.

Even if this is your first try at sourdough, don't be intimidated. Amish sourdough is one of the easiest sourdoughs to make, and the resulting bread is delicious as a side dish or for sandwiches.


Click Play to See This Friendship Bread Come Together


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Amish Sourdough Bread ingredients

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

    yeast and water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the flour along with the salt, sugar, and sourdough starter.

    flour along with the salt, sugar, and sourdough starter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the baking soda; stir into the sourdough mixture. Keep adding in as much of the remaining 1 cup of flour as you can, mixing with a spoon. 

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total).

    dough on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease the top and cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in volume. 

    dough in a bowl, covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Punch down and divide the dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. 

    dough in a bowl covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Grease two 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans or one large baking sheet for 6-inch round loaves.

    greased baking sheet

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  9. Shape dough into the desired shape. Make shallow X-shaped slashes with a sharp knife. Cover and let rise about 1 hour, or until doubled. 

    dough on a baking sheet, an X sliced into the dough

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  10. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake loaves for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

    Amish Sourdough Bread loaves on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn


  • Starter mix can be frozen and used later, with the new cycle beginning after the starter has thawed. Additionally, it can be slowed to about half the normal fermentation rate when it is stored in the refrigerator instead of at room temperature. 
  • Kitchen temperatures can fluctuate throughout the year, and this can affect the rising time. For the most consistent proofing, place the dough in the oven and turn on the light. Just make sure no one turns the oven heat on.
  • Sourdough bread will stay fresh for a week, possibly a few days longer, and should be stored in a bread bin or paper bag. The bread can be frozen for several months as well.

Why Is Yeast Added to Sourdough Bread That Uses a Starter?

Traditionally, sourdough bread uses a starter instead of commercial yeast, but some bread recipes (such as this one) add yeast as a supplement. Classic sourdough bread can take many hours to rise (often, two 6-hour proofing sessions), which helps the dough develop sourdough's signature tangy taste and chewy texture. By adding yeast, the rising time is significantly reduced, and, in turn, this softens the taste and texture.

Why Did the Amish Friendship Bread Sink in the Middle?

As it cools, any bread may collapse, typically because the gluten structure is not strong enough to hold the bread up in the middle. Kneading a dough for too little time or letting it rise too long are two common causes. Another is a sudden change in temperature while baking, so resist the urge to open the oven door, even for a quick peak.