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:

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Then I strained them:

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And had a bright blue water left over:

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

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

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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.

Fall Foliage (again)

Round two of the fall designs.  In creating this design I googled “fall bread” and found some amazing ideas.

This is the one I attempted to emulate (although she uses negative space and I used positive):

 

Mine isn’t quite that spectacular, but I had fun and learned in the process of doing it.

First I cut a leaf stencil out of paper.  Then I used it to sprinkle spices onto the bread. I used paprika, turmeric and a curry mix.

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I learned that if I tapped the paper onto the bread, and tapped the spice into place, that it stuck a lot better:

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The bread was beautiful before baking:

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After baking, the colors were a bit more washed out.

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Though you can still see them:

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What I learned, if I try this again… use only one layer of egg wash, or even a wash (like olive oil) that would help the spices stick but not darken the bread when it bakes.  And use your finger to tamp the spice down to hold it in place.

I had feared that the spices would be strong and make the bread in-edible.  They did not.  They flavored it nicely without over powering. Next time I’ll try this coloring technique on braided bread.