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Amish Cinnamon Bread


A coworker of mine gave me some live yeast bread starter two weekends ago, and I have proceeded to actually bake it into bread. This is, believe me, quite out of character. I am posting this recipe here (which, as far as I know, is relatively useless without the culture) both for my records and so I have a place to point people who need the recipe and may not want a printed copy, perhaps because they are, like me, allergic to paper.

If you live in Boston, I’m happy to provide you with some starter for free (I hear it’s like a cult); I’ll have 3-4 become available every week and a half or so.

I don’t know the origin of the recipe; Liz gave me a photocopied sheet with no authorship information. I’ll try to find out. I’ve made a few minor edits for my own clarification.

I’m also open to suggestions on a means of distribution other than plastic gallon ziploc bags; while they have the advantage of being air tight, and clearly indicating when the bag needs to be squeezed, it seems like a waste of plastic. I am reusing the ones I’ve received, and the ones I’m keeping for my own permanent starter, but it seems like there might be a better way.


  • Do NOT refrigerate the mixture (this will kill the yeast)
  • Air formation in the bag is normal (a byproduct of fermentation)
  • “Squeeze” means let the air out, and mix the starter a bit by squishing


For each day, from the date marked on the starter, do the listed step:

  1. Nothing
  2. Squeeze
  3. Squeeze
  4. Squeeze
  5. Squeeze
  6. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Squeeze.
  7. Squeeze
  8. Squeeze
  9. Squeeze
  10. Bake!


In a large bowl, combine the batter with 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Mix.

Partition 1 cup of starter into four 1 gallon ziploc bags. Pass along to friends and family, along with a copy of these instructions or a link to this blog post:

Add to the remaining batter in the bowl:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix well.

In another bowl, mix 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp sugar (or just use cinnamon-sugar if you have it). Sprinkle this into the bottom of two well-greased bread pans, then add the batter.

Bake the loaves at 325° for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Nicolas Ward

Software engineer in Natural Language Processing research by day; gamer, reader, and aspiring UltraNurd by night. Husband to Andrle
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