How to Dye Bread

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Dyed bread is made using the same method as regular bread. You merely add 1 to 2 tablespoons of food coloring during the first kneading to provide the color. But you can do a more than dye the entire loaf one color. Bread that uses multiple segments of dough, such as pinwheel loaves and braided loaves, highlight the different colors most distinctly. Pumpernickel, perhaps the best known dyed bread, gets its color from caramel. Wear food-handler gloves to prevent staining your hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Gel-based food coloring
  • Instant-read thermometer

Pinwheel

  • Portion the fresh dough into equal-sized balls, one for each color. Place the dough on a floured work surface.

  • Press a depression in the center of each dough ball with your thumb and add about 10 drops of food coloring; use a different color for each portion.

  • Knead each dough ball until it has a uniform color. You might have to add more food coloring as you knead to achieve even distribution. Place the dough balls in an oiled mixing bowl and let them rise until they double in size.

  • Set a dough ball on a floured work surface and punch it down. Roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 8 by 4 inches. Roll a second dough ball into a rectangle and place it on top of the first.

  • Repeat the rolling and stacking process for the rest of the colored dough balls. Roll the stack of doughs into a cylinder; roll from the 4-inch side of the stack.

  • Place the dough in an oiled loaf pan. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Bake the dough in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the bottom center of the loaf reaches about 190 F, about 30 minutes.

Braided

  • Portion the fresh dough into three to six equal-sized balls, one for each color. Place the dough on a floured work surface.

  • Press a depression in the center of each dough ball with your thumb and add about six to10 drops of food coloring; use a different color for each portion.

  • Knead the color into the dough, adding more coloring as needed for uniformity. Roll the dough into balls and let them rise until doubled in size.

  • Punch the dough balls down and turn them out onto a floured work surface. Roll each ball to ¼-inch thickness and roll it in to an 8-inch-long cylinder using your palms.

  • Lay the dough strands beside each other and space the ends about 2 inches apart; keep the strands together at the top.

  • Braid the dough strands and fold the ends under. Cover the braided dough and place it in a warm place until it doubles in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  • Bake the dough in a 350 F oven until it reaches about 190 F in the bottom center, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • To color pumpernickel bread, add 2 tablespoons of powdered caramel coloring to the dry ingredients in every loaf.

References

  • Photo Credit bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images
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