I made rainbow bread. I spied it on the internet, and knew I had to make it, because how could you NOT make swirly rainbow bread on a cold Sunday during what feels like the 11th month of winter?
Turns out, rainbows make everything happy, as you would expect, and they also make sammiches taste a hundred thousand times better. I promise you will freak out when you make this bread, and all the work involved is worth it. Just make sure you have a whole block of hours to dedicate to being home, because bread-making is a lengthy process, yo.
I used the bread recipe from this post, but I’m thinking you could use your favorite white bread recipe.
(Remember my macro photo of yeast from my Pragels recipe? )
Use your dough claw attachment on your mixer and think about how happy you are that your hands don’t have to ache from kneading. (This is foreshadowing. Wait until the next step. HAHAHAHAHA)
Separate the dough into 6 pieces and place each in a pristine white bowl.
Take one dough lump at a time and knead in the food coloring to make rainbow colors. Here is where you can teach your kids about the colors of the rainbow, or tell them to get lost because “Mommy’s making this really fun rainbow bread and you can’t help.” They probably won’t go for that, so expect help if you have littles.
Now, listen up: It’s important to use gel food dyes because liquid food coloring won’t give you vibrant colors, and all this work will result in sort of a pasty, boring bread. Don’t be pasty and boring. Use these food dyes or something similar:
Make a little well in each dough ball and scoop in (I used my finger) about 10 drops worth of gel color. Fold and knead and stretch it into the dough until it’s evenly incorporated. You will probably be cursing me at this point, because it seriously takes about 5-10 minutes for each dough ball. Don’t give up! I walked around the house massaging the dough balls, making sure everyone know how much work I was doing for this bread.
You can wear gloves if you don’t want the food dye to stain your hands, because it will stay for about a day or so. Wash your hands well between colors so you don’t mix them.
Here is a color-mixing cheat sheet:
- Blue + red = purple
- Red + yellow = orange
- Blue + yellow = green
Christian declined my invitation to help, so he won’t be getting any bread. Or dinner.
Now. After each dough ball looks good, whip out your camera and take a pic. You will want to post it to Instagram.
Cover the balls and let them double in size. It took mine about 2 hours to do so.
Once they’re doubled, punch them down (always the most fun part of bread-making) and roll each color out into about an 8 x 4 inch rectangle. Layer them in rainbow order. I will not be telling you rainbow order here, because you need to know these things already before you can be trusted with baking.
Roll them up tightly from the side, and place, seam-side-down, in a buttered bread pan. Cover and let it rise for about another hour (until doubled in size.)
I slathered on a mixture of egg white and milk to the top to give it a little shiny pizazz, but you don’t have to. Pop it in the oven, at 375 degrees, or however long your bread recipe calls for, and bake it.
When you take it it out of the oven you will do an awkward little dance and squeal- it’s so COOL. Let it cool completely on a rack and then enjoy your rainbow.