Sourdough rainbow bread step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Turning my white sourdough boule into a rainbow was fun and exciting. And the best part - I added only natural colours by adding different ingredients to the dough. Turmeric powder for yellow, spinach for green, blue butterfly pea powder for light and dark blue, tomato paste and chilli powder for red, and the result - a deliciously colourful bread!
I used this bread to make simple sandwiches for my kids and they absolutely loved it. It's a great way to add fun to your meals while keeping them super healthy.
Sourdough starter: This is the key ingredient to make any sourdough bread. Make sure the starter is active and bubbly.
Flour: I have used bread flour to make sourdough rainbow bread.
Filtered water: Use filtered water to make sourdough bread.
To colour the dough: I have used turmeric powder, chilli powder, tomato paste, spinach paste, blue butterfly pea powder to colour the dough.
Tips for making perfect sourdough rainbow bread
To add colour to the dough, transfer the dough to a clean bench and mix it really well making sure the colour is uniform.
The different coloured dough needs different treatments in terms of stretch and fold. For example, my yellow dough had gained enough strength by the third stretch and fold but the red dough took longer. Adjust the number of stretch and fold accordingly.
Make sure the starter is active. The night before you plan to make the dough, take the starter from the fridge and feed it in 1:1:1 ratio of starter:flour:water. See the detailed process here.
It is important to note that the time taken for the starter to activate depends on many factors. For example, the ambient temperature, the nature of the starter itself, etc. If your starter activates at a much faster rate, you can activate it the same day you are making the dough. Or, you can use either less starter or cold water to slow down the activation.
I have made this sourdough with bread flour, but you can choose any flour – for example, a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour or bread flour and whole wheat flour.
Adding colours to my regular white sourdough bread made a great savoury bread. I used the slices to make simple sandwiches and it was loved by the kids. It is time-consuming to make this bread as each part of the dough needs a different treatment. But the flavours and beautiful colours will make it worth it!
I think spinach paste and turmeric powder gave out the best colour and flavour. The blue colour turned out really well too. I wanted to achieve a bright red colour and so added Kashmiri chilli powder along with tomato paste. However, the colour was pretty dull. Also, the red dough was covered with green dough (spinach) which overpowered it. I also think I should have kept twice the amount of white dough so that the entire loaf is covered well.
If you are looking for more vibrant and bright colours, use gel food dyes. Since I do not use them in any form of cooking, I have played around with the regular ingredients I use in my kitchen.
Sourdough rainbow bread step-by-step recipe with photos
1. Combine water, starter, and flour. Divide the dough into six equal part
2. Add the colouring ingredients to colour each part of the dough
3. Dough after adding the colours
4. Gently pull the dough to perform stretch and fold
5. Continue to stretch and fold at 30 minutes interval
6. Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation
7. Dough after bulk fermentation
8. Stretch the dough into a square and overlap each coloured dough. Keep the white dough towards the end
9. Roll all the dough parts together to form a log. The log should be wrapped with the white dough completely
10. Let the dough sit for cold fermentation
11. Score the dough the next morning and bake
12. Cool completely before slicing
Sourdough Rainbow Bread
- 90 grams sourdough starter
- 420 grams bread flour
- 300 grams filter water
- 10 grams salt
- 3 tsp blue butterfly pea powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tbsp spinach paste
- Combine active starter and water together
- Slowly add the flour and mix well making sure there are no dry bits of flour
- Divide the dough into six equal parts
- To make the yellow dough, add turmeric powder to one part and mix well
- To make the green dough, add spinach puree to one part and mix well
- To make the red dough, add tomato paste and chilli powder to one part. Mix well
- To make the light blue dough, add 1 tsp blue butterfly pea powder to one part. Mix well
- To make the dark blue dough, add 2 tsp blue butterfly pea powder to one part. Mix well
- Perform four to six sets of stretch and fold at an interval of 30 minutes one each dough
- Perform four to six sets of stretch and fold at an interval of 30 minutes. Wet hands, grab a portion of the dough, and slowly stretch it taking care not to break it and fold it towards the center over the dough. Keep turning the bowl and repeat the process until all parts of the dough is covered. Carefully flip the dough and round it up. This completes one set of stretch and fold. Repeat this process six times at an interval of 30 minutes. See the pictures below or the video here to see the technique
- Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation until it is almost double and has bubbles on the top
- Dust the banneton well with rice flour
- Shape the dough. Transfer the individual coloured dough onto a dusted benchtop
- Stretch the dough into a square and overlap each coloured dough. Keep the white dough towards the end
- Roll all the dough parts together to form a log. The log should be wrapped with the white dough completely
- Cover the dough loosely and place it in the refrigerator overnight for cold fermentation
- Next morning, preheat the oven at 220℃
- Place water and 8-10 ice cubes in an oven-safe deep tray
- Take the dough out of the fridge once the oven is preheated
- Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife
- Place the water bath in the oven, followed by the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes
- Reduce the oven temperature to 200℃ and remove the water bath
- Bake for further 15 minutes
- Turn off the oven and let the bread sit in the oven for 15 minutes for curing
- Cool completely, slice, and serve