Renana's Kitchen

Rainbow Challah - Natural Colors

October 7, 2021

Colorful Rainbow Challah for Parashat Noah made with Natural food colors of spices and vegetables.

Rainbow Challah - Natural Colors

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Parashat Noah (or Noach, in Hebrew נח) is the second weekly Torah portion in the Jewish cycle of Torah readings.

It comes quickly after Sukkot and talks about Noah building the ark and the flood.

One of the things people like to do for this week is baking some rainbow-themed desserts and challah. Others take it in a savory direction and make a colorful salad or veggie platter.

The rainbow is god's symbol to Noach that he won't destroy humanity again with a flood.

Recipe Rainbow Challah

To color the challah dough and make it look like a colorful rainbow, you can use gel food coloring. I wanted to use natural food colors instead and used spinach, beet, paprika, and turmeric to dye the dough. I followed a recipe by Rivky Weinschneider (@spinachnspice) which she posted on her Instagram.

Rivky only created the challah with 3 colors, I added the paprika as a fourth color because I like to braid challah with 4 strands. For the beet color Rivky used beet peels she soaked in warm water, I changed it to beet juice as I did in my beet challah recipe. In addition, Rivky used spelt flour for the spinach dough and I used all-purpose flour for all the dough batches. She also added gluten (bread improver) which I omit. Check out her original recipe over on Instagram.

The method to get the color from the spinach is to use frozen spinach cubes and dissolve them in hot water. I felt that my outcome wasn’t very green so maybe next time I will use matcha powder or Spirulina powder to get a greener green or I'll use more spinach.

For the spices, you just add them to the flour and when kneading the dough it will get colored. Yellow dough with turmeric and orange dough with paprika.

Rainbow Challah Recipe

In this recipe, you make 4 different dough batches, each for a different color. There are methods when you make one batch of challah and then divide it and add the food color to each piece of it at a time. Since the natural color in this recipe is added through the liquids in the dough or added to the flour itself in the spices cases I think it's harder to create just one dough and add the color later. In the case of the liquid, it's impossible anyway. The spices can be kneaded to the dough but it’s just easier to mix it with the flour to get an even color dough.

As a result of the 4 batches, this recipe makes a bit of a mess in the kitchen and you need 4 different bowls and work with clean hands all the time to not mix the colors when touching the dough. It's only once a year that you make it and the outcome of the challah is so beautiful and interesting, this is how I convince myself it's worth the mess and dishes, LOL.

Before baking, many times the braided rainbow challah looks colorful and beautiful. After baking, however, the color fades or it looks brown and not colorful at all. To try and avoid that, I didn't use egg wash to brush the challah (Rivky in her original recipe did used it), this way the challah’s outer side won't become so browned while baking. Another option is to brush the challah with only egg whites. While cutting the challah you see all the colors inside in each slice so even if the outside looks not so much as a rainbow you always see it inside.

This rainbow challah is sweet challah and the spices and vegetables used for the natural colors add flavor as well and create very special challah. The challah is vegan (water challah) since I didn’t add egg wash and there are no eggs in the dough itself.

 Easy Rainbow Challah

The recipe yields 2 big challahs made with 4 strands each, or smaller challahs depending on the number of pieces you divide each dough color to and how many strands you choose to braid.

Other desserts for the week of Parashat Noah can be parve funfetti cookies or my parve marble (mabul) cake.

Other challah recipes on my blog:
Classic challah
Whole wheat challah
Sweet potato challah
Vegan challah (Water Challah)
Beet challah
Apple Cinnamon Rosh Hashanah Challah

Here is the recipe for this beautiful rainbow challah with natural colors:

Ingredients:
For the green dough:

  • 2 cubes frozen spinach
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¼ cup oil

For the yellow dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric

For the orange dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon sweet paprika

For the purple/pink dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup beet juice

Preparation:

  1. Set the oven to 170°C/ 325°F with the fan.
  2. Green dough: Dissolve the spinach in the hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then blend the spinach and water.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in the mixer then add the spinach water. Mix for 5 minutes and then let rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Yellow dough: Mix all ingredients in the mixer for 5 minutes. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Orange dough: Mix all ingredients in the mixer for 5 minutes. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Pink/purple dough: Mix all ingredients in a mixer for 5 minutes. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Divide each dough into 2 parts (or more if you want smaller challahs).
  8. Roll each dough part to a strand ready for braiding.
  9. Braid 2 challahs of 4 strands each, using one of each color dough.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  11. Cool at room temperature.
  12. Serve and Shabbat Shalom!

Best Natural Colors Rainbow Challah

Rainbow Challah Natural Colors

  Rainbow Challah

 Rainbow Challah Recipe


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 Rainbow Challah Recipe Natural Colors - Renana's Kitchen.  Colorful Rainbow Challah for Parashat Noah made with Natural food colors of spices and vegetables. rainbow challah natural colors.