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Rainbow Swirl Bread

(62 reviews)
Rainbow Swirl Bread
  • Prep Time 30 min
  • Total Time 3 hr 0 min
  • Servings 1
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Rainbow Swirl Bread

Somewheeeeeeere over the rainbowwwww... is this beautimous bread...


cup milk plus 1 egg yolk (totaling 1 cup together)
cups Gold Medal™ unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2
tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4
teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 1/2
tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
teaspoons salt
Red, yellow, green and blue food coloring


  • 1 In a small, microwave-safe bowl, whisk milk and egg yolk together and microwave 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • 2 In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar and yeast.
  • 3 Add milk mixture, butter and salt and stir to combine. Using dough hook and stand mixer or by hand on a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it comes together and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes with stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
  • 4 Divide dough into 5 equal pieces; place each piece in a small bowl and cover with a tea towel.
  • 5 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'd start with 10 drops and keep 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!
  • 6 Shape dough into a ball and return to its bowl. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, dying each a different color (red + blue makes purple), being sure to wash your hands/gloves and your work surface between each color.
  • 7 Cover bowls with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • 8 When dough is risen, punch down dough. Remove red dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle. Roll out 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 doughs until you have a stack of 8-by-4-inch rectangles.
  • 9 Roll up dough tightly from the short end into a loaf. 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.
  • 10 Heat oven to 375°F. Uncover dough and bake until browned on top and a thermometer inserted in the bottom center reads 190°F, about 30 minutes.
  • 11 Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
See Step By Step

Step By Step  

Rainbow Bread

As prepared by Girl Versus Dough,

Spring officially has sprung, and you know what that means...

Well yes, it does mean no more snow (hopefully) and a little more sunshine, but it also means a whole lotta rainy days.

But though the April showers are working hard to bring May flowers, we can bring some brightness and happiness into our homes at any time via this Rainbow Swirl Bread. Isn’t this the craziest/most awesome thing you ever did see? It’s like the rainbow and the pot of gold all in the same recipe -- the pot of gold being a delicious sandwich bread you can eat with anything and everything.

Let’s taste the rainbow!


Basic bread dough in mixing bowl

First, make your basic bread dough. I used the same base I’ve used for other dyed bread recipes (like panda bread, owl face bread, etc.) because it works so well every time and holds up to a bit of a beating when you add the dye.


Dough divided into mixing bowls for different colors

Divide the dough into five pieces, or however many colors you want to swirl into the loaf.


Each dough dyed, in different mixing bowls

To dye each piece of dough, place one piece at a time onto a plastic cutting board or any work surface you don’t mind getting covered in food coloring. Add about 10 drops of food coloring to the dough and, using your hands (I’d recommend wearing gloves, lest you end up with a rainbow on your hands, literally), knead the food coloring into the dough, adding more food coloring as needed until the dough is fully dyed.


I’ll admit this does take some time (about 10 minutes per piece), but it’s by far the toughest step of the whole recipe so once you’re done, it’s easysauce from here on out! Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough (clean your hands and work surface between each piece!) until they’re all dyed.


Dough risen, in mixing bowls

Cover the dough with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled.


Stacking colored dough on each other

Punch down the risen dough, then roll out the red piece on a lightly floured surface into an 8-by-4-inch thin rectangle. Roll out the yellow piece the same way and place it directly on top of the red piece. Repeat with remaining pieces, stacking them all on top of each other into one large 8-by-4-inch rectangle.


All colors of dough stacked up

See all the purdy colors? Now it’s time to swirlify!


Tightly roll up the dough into a loaf and place it into a greased loaf pan. Cover it and let it rise until doubled.


Before and after baking

Bake the bread until it’s golden brown-ish on top and a thermometer inserted in the bottom center of the loaf registers at 190 degrees F, about a half-hour. Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely before you slice into it.


Rainbow Swirl Bread, ready to eat

Finally, it’s time to reveal your rainbow! Look at that awesome swirl.


Closeup of finished Rainbow Swirl Bread

Have fun with this bread -- use it to make French toast, sandwiches, bread pudding or just to stare at it when you need a little brightness and cheer in your life. Happy baking!


Stephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) has spring fever, and the only prescription is more rainbow. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!
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