Rainbow French Bread, how I love you so. This has to be my favourite thing to bake with my toddlers. It's not only beautiful, it's delicious and it's fun to make! The variety of colours and thickness of the swirls are endless and every time we bake rainbow bread it always looks different.
There are quite a few steps and takes a bit of time but it's quite easy to make. The hardest part of this recipe is mixing the food colouring into the dough. Once you have the dough made and kneaded you will want to separate into individual balls. I find that four balls/colours works best but you can always play around and see what you like best.
How to Make Rainbow Bread
I use a stand mixer to mix up my dough but you can do it by hand as well. To start add the water, yeast, and sugar together let it rest for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. You’ll know it’s activated when the top of the mixture has a bubbly foam.
Add in the oil, salt, and flour. I always add an extra 1-2 tbsp of water to get the bread to combine. You want the dough to form one ball and not stick to the bowl. Once formed, knead the dough for six minutes.
After kneading divide the dough into four balls. One ball at a time, mix in the food colouring. I find it takes 1/2-1 tsp of food colouring per each dough ball to get my desired colour. You will want to make sure you choose bright colours, I like to use Club House’s neon food colouring. Kneading the colour in takes a bit of time and you want to make sure the dough is full saturated. My toddlers love to help squish the dye in and play with the coloured dough balls.
After the dough is coloured it does a double rise. I grease two large bowls with vegetable oil and place two dough balls per bowl.
Once risen it's time to create the loaf. To do this use a rolling pin and roll each ball into a rectangle. Try and keep all the rectangles the same size (it does not have to be perfect). For more thin swirls roll the dough quite thin, for chunkier swirls keep the dough thicker. You can play around to see what you like better and change it up next time.
Once rolled out layer the dough on top of each other and roll it together starting on one of the long sides. Once the dough is rolled into a loaf pinch the bottom seem together. Then pinch in the ends and tuck/pinch them into the bottom of the loaf. Cover the loaf with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
After the loaf rises for the last time you will add the egg wash and add the slashes. Then just bake, slightly cool, and enjoy your homemade rainbow bread. The best part is cutting it open and seeing your beautiful rainbow pattern inside.
Bake them on your own or bake them with your kids, either way I’m sure you’ll love with this Rainbow French Bread!
If you make this bread you can tag me on Instagram @jessiebakestreats and leave me a review below. I’d love to hear from you!
For more ideas you can follow me on Pinterest.
Rainbow French Bread
- 2 & 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 & 1/4 C warm water
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 & 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 C all purpose flour
- 4 tsp food colouring multiple colours
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp cold water
- In your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on add yeast, warm water, and sugar into the bowl and stir together. Let sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated and there is bubbling foam on top of the mixture.
- Once yeast has been activated add in oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Mixing everything together and when combined add the remaining cup of flour. If dough is not coming together add in a tbsp of warm water and mix again. Continue doing this until dough is firm and sticks together. If dough is too sticky add small amounts of flour.
- Once the dough is the right texture (forms into one cohesive ball) continue kneading the dough in your stand mixer on a medium setting for 6 minutes. You will know when the bread is well kneaded when you press down on the dough with your finger tip and it bounces back up.
- Remove dough from the bowl and divide dough into four equal pieces. You can do this with a scale but I just eyeball it. (You can do as many pieces or colours as you like but I find four works best).
- Take one ball and add 1/2 tsp of food colouring into the dough ball. Knead the colour in by hand. You want to knead the food colouring until the dough is a solid colour. This does take a lot of time and you may have to add more food colouring in.
- Continue this step for the remaining three dough balls using a different colour for each ball.
- Once the dough has been dyed it is time to let it rise. Grease two large bowls with vegetable oil and place two dough balls per bowl inside. Turn dough over in the bowls to coat the top with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm location until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
- After an hour gently punch each ball down, cover, and let rise again for another 30 minutes.
- After the second rise remove dough from the bowls and place on the counter. Using a rolling pin flatten each ball into a rectangle. Try and get the rectangles do all be similar lengths and widths (it doesn't have to be perfect).
- Lay each dough rectangle on top of each other trying to line up the edges.
- Starting at one of the long edges, roll the dough together so it creates a loaf. Pinch the seem and ends together, and tuck them together underneath the loaf.
- Place on a lined baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Create an egg wash by mixing the egg white and cold water together. Uncover and brush egg wash over the loaf.
- Using a sharp knife make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of the loaf.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread has a hollow sound when tapped on.
- Cool before slicing.
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