Painting a Loaf

Did you know you can easily add a quick splash of color to your loaves to make them perfectly gift-worthy? This little trick also is handy for special occasions and holidays. You can quickly and easily add a “Happy Birthday” wish or “Congratulations” note. All you need are some regular food colors (I use the gel type) and some cheap paint brushes. You can also use natural agents as paint. Turmeric, blue pea flower powder, cranberry powder, spirulina, cocoa or charcoal powder can be mixed with water to achieve natural colors for painting your loaves.

Before painting your loaf, brush off all the excess flour and use a basting brush to moisten the whole loaf so that the paint goes on nicely. Make sure your food colors are very well diluted with water so that they glide easily. Normally I bake my loaves until the crust is quite dark, but with a painted loaf I make sure to keep it on the lighter side to prevent the colors from over-darkening. You can also drape your artwork with a small patch of foil as it bakes just to keep the colors bright while the rest of the loaf browns.

If you aren’t confident in your artistic capabilities, you can very easily use a stencil, a cut out from a coloring book as a guide or a printable graphic from the internet cut to shape. Try to choose an overall shape that compliments the shape of your loaf. Here are some other quick and easy painted designs you can try:

  • Dip an edible leaf in paint (maybe herb or marigold leaves?) and press onto the loaf
  • A rainbow
  • Get a cookie cutter shape and carefully trace around it with a very wet fine brush full of paint
  • Lay cut strips of parchment over a moistened loaf as a guide for painting stripes
  • Draw a simple five point star and fill in each section with a different color
  • Paint splatters
  • Polka dots or trace around a small lid for different color circles
  • A few simple holly leaves with berries
  • Herringbone pattern
  • Crescent moon and stars
  • Stalk of wheat
  • A dahlia by tracing around the tip of a teaspoon (similar to the scales in the mermaid video below)
  • A spiderweb
  • Trace around canning jar lid rings in an overlapping pattern


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