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.





8 responses to “Amish Cinnamon Bread”

  1. irilyth Avatar

    We should consider putting a page on the SWIL wiki to swap recipes and stuff. :^)

  2. starlitsiren Avatar

    Clarification question: For baking, you are supposed to add more flour/sugar/milk, yes? the “separate into new bags for friends” step does not come right after step 6?

    1. Nicolas Ward Avatar

      Cantras, each of those steps is one per day. Step 6 gives the yeast more food. Before splitting, you add more flour, milk and sugar; and then you add even more to make the proper dough during baking.

  3. tami Avatar

    Oh man, I wish I lived close enough to snag some starter!

  4. stormwynd (Dave) Avatar
    stormwynd (Dave)

    I hear it’s like a cult

    Since you’re talking about yeast, isn’t it more like a culture?

  5. Mark Avatar

    That’s the same stuff I’ve been making. Try it with out the cinnamon (and without the cinnamon sugar sprinkle) and instead divide the batter into two. Add 2 T cocoa powder to one batter and mix well, then add some of each batter to both pans and swirl with the back of a spoon.

    If you don’t want to deal with the viral reproduction, omit adding the 1 C flour, milk, and sugar at the start of the baking process and only create one new bag with 1 C starter for yourself. Bake with the rest. Both starter and final product freeze well.

  6. Donna Avatar

    I adore those things. I had one I kept going for six years before I did low-carb. You can make great chocolate muffins and bread from them too.

    Some variations:

    Add 2-3 mushed bananas plus some toasted nuts for banana bread. Add a cup or two of fresh blueberries (gently shake them with 1-2 tablespoons of flour first) for blueberry bread. For cranberry bread, a cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 a cup of yellow raisins does the trick. Nuts if you like. For pumpkin, add 1-1 1/2 cups pumpkin (depending on your taste), and whatever mix of pie spice you prefer. I had an apple variation too, but I can’t remember it now. You can also make these into muffins too. The baked product generally freezes very well.

    Use re-usable glad containers, and put a label on each with your name if too worried. Ask folks to return them to you. No guarantees, alas. Better yet, ask folks to bring you their own reusable container and return it later. Mason jars are nice (and you can give them a shake – not quite a squeeze, I suppose), but you need to make sure to vent them or dire things happen. I kept mine in a big mason jar, and just vented it twice a day.

  7. Morris Stvil Avatar

    First up, awesome article! I’ve got a small question nagging me, I really love the theme of your site and tried to install the same layout on my WP site. Stil, there is some kind of strange coding error in the footer. Do you have any hints, which version are you using? Please PM me on Twitter @FitTipz or via e-mail.

Nurd Up!