Playing with Color

I’ve done a lot of fun challot this year with bright colors.  From the rainbow one for Parshat Noah back at the beginning of the year, to the Flags this month, I’ve had a lot of fun with color. However, the color I’ve been using is a kosher food dye designed for coloring icing.  It isn’t really meant to be baked like my challah is.  The color ends up a bit browned on the outside, dulling it. So I thought I’d experiment with other ways to color the dough. Back in the fall I did the spices coloring the outside. I wanted to try to find a way to color the inside too.

Google gave me lots of suggestions for “natural” food dyes.  Beet juice was the most common one.  But I haven’t been able to learn to like beets, and wanted to try dying with things on hand. The two ideas I found that were ingredients I already had were blueberries and turmeric.

For the blueberries, it was suggested that I crush them and boil them. Then strain them.  So I did. The buleberries and turmeric simmering on the stove:


Then I strained them:


And had a bright blue water left over:


I mixed the blueberry juice into one strand of the challah and the turmeric into another, leaving the third strand plain.


The result wasn’t as saturated of color as I would have liked, but I could see how with more volume it could be.


I was unable to taste either flavor in the dough.  Others at the table, with more nuanced palettes that I have, said they could taste the blueberry.

On a halachic note– in general adding fruit juice to dough makes the bread need the “mizanot” blessing instead of “motzi”.  When I do flavors that might render the challah “mizanot” I always make a second plain loaf to make motzi over.  This particular week I also made 4 challot for the mitzvah corps at our synagogue.  They go in the freezer and are given to families who need food assistance for some reason– a family loss or illness.


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