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Red bread ideas?

My nephew requested, as an inside joke, that I make red bread for his graduation.party. I think it would be funny to actually do it. Any ideas? It could be sweet or savory, quick bread or yeasted, but I don't want to use red dye. The more red, the better but I still want it to taste good and not taste overwhelming like beets or whatever is used to make it red. Any ideas? Thanks!

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    1. That's a challenge. Piqued my curiosity. Like blue room, I thought tomato, but it doesn't look like the bread comes out very red at all. Then I thought tomato paste or roasted red pepper puree. I made a strawberry quick bread once, but it was just a pale pink, so I'm not sure that raspberries or cherries would work any better. Maybe really dark cherries. Pomegranate juice is too watery. Here's a recipe using beets that at least has color.


      I hope you figure this one out because I'm really curious!

      1. Many years ago I made lots of different breads for the buffet reception we did for my son and daughter-in-law's wedding on her family's farm. One of them was a rolled loaf with two parts, one with...I'm thinking tomato paste. Definitely red. Maybe in an old James Beard cb? If I find it I'll re-post.

        1 Reply
        1. I have read about many attempts to make Red Velvet Cake without dye, none of them successful. Rusty or purplish were as close as it came. I tend to doubt you can achieve true red bread without dye.

          1. I think beets or shiso powder would be the only "real food" ingredients that would bring you anywhere close to having red bread. But even those would be dulled by the baking and the flour, so they'd be more like rust-colored bread. Also, as you fear, the bread will taste overwhelmingly like beets or shiso. Do you not want to use dye because it's unhealthy? If so, there are a couple of all natural, vegetable pigment-based food colorings out there, like Nature's Flavors brand: <http://www.naturesflavors.com/product...> . They call the color "Cherry", but it has no flavor. It should give you a nice, bright, joke-worthy red.

            1. Take a long sub roll and split it in half lengthwise. Take a bottle of tomato ketchup and write CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATE on the loaf :)

              failing that fun idea...consider baking a red ketchup cake or tomato basil bread decorated with sliced tomatoes on top and a flag sign wishing your nephew the best!

              Or make a fresh tomatoe pizza pie!

              1. Look at the pictures with the link I sent. The tomato section is red-orange, and not a pastel. Tomato works. Just think of how well it can stain your white shirt...

                1. Thanks for the ideas/thoughts, everyone. I've made tomato based bread and it does turn out more orange than red. I love the idea of that tomato paste bread w/ ketchup just because this is for a teen, though. I might give it a try just for the novelty sake (ketchup bread?). I've used all natural dyes and haven't liked the taste. I'm one of the ones who've tried to make red velvet cake w/out dye (daughter has red dye allergies), unsuccessfully. I'm not sure if this is worth experimenting since it's essentially a joke and not something he really wants.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    One more thought - I have never used annatto(a.k.a. achiote) and don't know what it tastes like. But on Daisy Cooks she infuses oil with it, and the oil turns paprika-red, and the food cooked in it is saffron-yellow. If the pulverized seeds are suitable for use in bread, they might be strong enough to add real red color.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I've used a natural food dye that uses annatto. I don't remember what it was like but if it were good, I'd have kept using it, I assume. Red #40 is everywhere, surprisingly, so I've experimented a lot. Thanks for the thought.

                      1. re: chowser

                        This is a nice beet bread recipe that uses a roasting method during prep of the beets. So you'll rec' plenty of natural red color but the bread will actually taste good too.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Thanks--that looks red enough to be "red", too.

                          1. re: chowser

                            chowser, the bread is delicious actually and makes for wonderful panini's.

                  2. You could make a quick bread using beets. It should turn out good and red!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chefj

                      This was my first thought--do you have a good recipe for one?

                      1. re: chowser

                        Sorry, No I don't but If finely shredded or grated you could sub it in for any recipe that calls for carrots.

                    2. Not that I have tried this at all, but a chili puree? Certainly can help in the red department, goes well with tomato flavor and even if not clearly totally red looking you can say "Oh. I thought you meant red hot like you *wink* ".

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Quine

                        LOL, that would embarrass the heck out of him, too!

                      2. How about bagels or pretzels, boiled in something red before being baked? I'm not sure whether you can just use extra baking soda to out-compensate the acidic liquid. Hopefully if you go with a boiled bread someone with more food chemistry knowledge can weigh in. I'm wondering about red wine, fruit puree, or cranberry juice. If you made fruity bagels, that might be cool.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jvanderh

                          I remember seeing red bagels in a bagel store--maybe it was fresh raspberries? I can't remember.

                        2. I've made tomato juice bread before--a yeast bread that uses hot tomato juice to proof the yeast. The finished product is sort of pink but it does have a nice tang and makes tasty grilled cheese sandwiches and also toast to accompany eggs. Apparently, the military served this regularly, as a way to increase the nutritional content of the bread, and troops referred to it as "red bread." I can't find my recipe but did an online search and found several versions that sound pretty close to the one that I've used.