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April 22, 2009

Pecan Peach Amish Friendship Bread

Normally I'm not one to fall prey to those "send this email to seven people or you'll have bad luck for seven years" hoxes, but when my friend Mandy sent me an email asking me if I wanted a bag of Amish Friendship Bread Starter, I couldn't resist. It had been something I'd always wanted to try but never had the opportunity.
If you're new to the whole idea to chain-mail baking, allow me to enlighten you: Basically Amish Friendship Bread is a made with a sourdough starter that takes ten days to make, from start to finish. At the end of the ten-day period, you'll be left with approximately 6 cups of starter, four cups of which are to be given away and two for you to make something yummy. There are a limitless treats you can make the starter, everything from a basic cinnamon bread to muffins, cookies, cakes, even pancakes and waffles!
I'm not exactly sure why this is called Amish Friendship Bread. Although I've never actually spent time in an Amish household, I'm pretty sure that they'd shun the idea of boxed instant pudding mix. So in an effort to stay more true to the recipe's namesake, I left it out and opted to use canned peaches and pecans instead. I had reserved the juice from the can of peaches with the intention of making it into a glaze to pour over my finished bread, but after my family and I tasted the it, we decided that it didn't need it. It was pretty flavorful all by itself!

If you decide you'd like to try it, you can find instructions for making the starter on Allrecipes.com. Please note: On days six through nine, be sure to let the air out at least once or twice a day. My bag of starter literally inflated to the point where it looked like a pillow sitting on my kitchen counter. I've read some horror stories about how it can explode and ooze sticky, smelly batter all over your kitchen if you don't take the time to squeeze the air out of the bag. Oh and apparently dogs like the way it smells too! I gave one of my four bags of starter to my friend Nicole and her dog got into it and lapped up the batter.
The recipe I've included below is my variation for Amish Friendship bread - I didn't do anything too crazy or different, I just added a few more instructions to help take the guesswork out of making it. If you're curious what the basic recipe is, or need a printable version of the instructions to include with your bags of starter, you can download it here.

Pecan Peach Amish Friendship Bread
Yield: Each loaf yielded about 15 slices or so.

1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Grease 2 large loaf pans with shortening or Pam with Flour spray. Dust the greased pans with half of cinnamon sugar mixture.

About 2 cups of starter* (or whatever you have left after you've measured out 4 cups to share)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk (full, 2%, or skim will all work okay), at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer to use unbleached)
1 cup of toasted and chopped pecans
1 15 oz can of sliced peaches in light syrup, thoroughly drained and diced

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, applesauce, milk, and vanilla until well combined (you can use a hand mixture for this step) and add it to the starter. Using a hand mixer or spoon, mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and flour. Add it to the starter batter and continue to mix on medium speed until it's well combined and no pockets of dry ingredients are visible.

Mix in the pecans and peaches with a wooden spoon until they are well distributed.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture over the top.

Bake both pans together in the oven 60 to 75 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of bread comes out clean. Cool until bread loosens from pan evenly (about 10 minutes). Remove from the pan and either eat it while it's warm or let it cool on a wire rack.


  1. Julia, I love your idea to add peaches to the Amish friendship bread! How fabulous!! The bread looks totally delicious. I started an Amish friendship bread "starter" in college. The bread was absolutely fabulous. Problem was, no one wanted to be the proud recipient of my starter. I ended up with most of the bags of starter myself :)

  2. Your variation looks and sounds really good! I've made it, too, but definitely something I've started passing on when people offer me the starter!

  3. that sounds delicious! i think bread is the perfect way to show friendship ;)

  4. Wow this sounds really really delicious!

  5. I really admire how you always put your own stamp on everything you make....really making it yours.

    Good job with your Amish Bread!

  6. Wow Julia I love the flavors here! I think its called so because its a reminder to our friends to show their appreciation to us by baking some for us ;) Too bad I dont have such friends!

  7. i'm a huge fan of amish friendship bread--it's been passed around my hometown for a long time. i haven't, however, had a peach and pecan version, but now i very much want to try it. :)

  8. i've always enjoy this friendship bread, but the last time we had it i was just pregant and letting the air out and making it always sent me to the bathroom...i don't know if i could eat it now. but i love your idea of addins.

  9. I have never participated in this amish starter stuff, I love the pecan peach combo, delish.

  10. I just love friendship bread! I like your twist, too. I'd do anything for someone to give me a starter :)

  11. I can't wait to try this Recipe:)
    Thanks~:) Delicious~

  12. This sounds so good I can't wait to make it. Thanks for the story too. Doylene

  13. Hello All.
    I am Johnny from Ohio.
    I make this friendship breat a few times a year,i was looking at making peach amich bread in about three days when my starter is ready,
    as for the ones asking about the extra starter.i have taken on day 5 and followed the directions on making the bread,(with the extra starter,).I have not seen any differece on doing it on day 5 as to day 10.just don't have all the starter to try an give away.We love the bread.i have made like 7 variations of the flavors,


  14. http://debandsamsblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/life-of-herman.html

    I made this version of this cakey chain letter a few weeks ago now ( I have another one on the go again! ) and then found your recipe for Baumkuchen. I'm trying that this week.


  15. I am so with you on the actual Amish not using pudding mix! thank you for posting a delicious recipe w/ the starter that doesn't use it!!!! I made this w/ rice milk instead of milk, no oil and all applesauce and no nuts so we'll see how it tastes - it's still in the oven! great overall site... will be back!

  16. what is 'starter stuff' ?????? i'd like to make this - but - haven't a clue, what this is !

    1. Starter is the basis for the recipe. There are two ways to get the starter: either you get some from a friend who's made Amish Friendship Bread recently or, you can make your own starter by using the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amish-friendship-bread-starter/.


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