There is a story behind this Rainbow Bread Recipe. Back in the day….like we are talking about my 10 and under years. Publix used to make and sell Rainbow bread. This was the 80’s – early 90’s. Rainbow Brite & Punky Brewster were my favs, and my mom would occasionally come by us a loaf of rainbow bread as a special treat.
Now, this bread didn’t taste any different, but to my sister and I, it was the best bread in the world! My sister and I were talking not that long ago, and she asked if I remembered the Rainbow Bread. UM….OF COURSE! I even went as far as going into Publix and requesting they make me a couple of loaves (which they will still do) but they are pricey. I became bound and determined to make my rainbow bread.
I used a basic bread recipe and divided it into five equal (or almost equal) pieces. You can divide it into however many colors you choose for your bread.
I then began kneading in food coloring into each separate ball of dough. This is a thick dough, so be prepared for some serious muscles! I then covered them and let them rest to rise for an hour or so. By the way. Do as I say, not as I do. My hands are still pink. Wear gloves when you are kneading in the coloring, or you will end up with tie-dyed hands too 🙂
I then rolled out the red dough into roughly and 8×4 rectangle. I did the same with every color and stacked them in order. Look how beautiful!
Then start rolling short end to short end. Of course, the seam will be on the bottom. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan and let rise again. Once it has doubled in size, bake at 350 for 30 minutes!
Allow to cool completely before slicing! That is the coolest sandwich bread ever! This would be perfect for a St. Patricks day lunchbox, or just for a little one who loves rainbows!
- 1 cup milk plus 1 egg yolk (totaling 1 cup together)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Food Coloring
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, whisk milk and egg yolk together and microwave 30 seconds. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, and yeast.
- Add milk mixture, butter, and salt and stir to combine.
- Knead dough until it comes together and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. This is a thick bread dough.
- Divide dough into 5 equal pieces (or however many colors you choose); place each piece in a small bowl and cover with a tea towel.
- Remove one piece from a bowl and place it on a plastic cutting board (or any surface you're willing to cover with food coloring). Add several drops of food coloring (I started with 10 drops and kept adding as you go). Using gloves to prevent your hands from getting dyed, begin to knead the food coloring into the dough, adding more food coloring until it is fully incorporated. This takes some time; just be patient, and it will come together!
- Shape dough into a ball and return to its bowl. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, dying each a different color, being sure to wash your hands/gloves and your work surface between each color.
- Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1½ to 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, punch down dough. Remove red dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle. Roll out the yellow piece of dough into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle and place directly on top of red dough. Repeat with green, then blue, then purple mixtures until you have a stack of 8-by-4-inch rectangles.
- Begin rolling up the dough from short end to short end.
- Place loaf in a lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Uncover dough and bake until browned on top and cooked through about 30 minutes.
- Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
- After making one loaf, I plan on doing it a little differently next time. I will make 5 loaves. Adding the food coloring to the dough when I add the milk. Each batch of dough will be a different color, and then I will divide to make the rainbow loaves. This will save the kneading of the food coloring into the dough. I can freeze the loaves until we are ready to enjoy.