Home RecipesBreads Red, White, and Blue Bread

Red, White, and Blue Bread

by elyn_ryn

I love to prepare patriotic food for the fourth of July.  In summers gone by, I can recall making dishes for the occasion—even if we had a quiet holiday at home. Sometimes I cut fruit with a star cookie cutter, and other times I attempt something special like patriotic bread! This bread has a surprise inside with swirls of red, white, and blue color.  It is pretty to slice it for picnic sandwiches or to eat it slathered in butter! This bread is simple to prepare and I suggest using a mixer for every step to speed up the process. It can be made ahead of time, frozen, and then thawed for your patriotic celebration!  

Using Yeast

This bread-making starts like many others—letting the dough rise. It does not take a lot of work to mix the ingredients and the yeast does all the heavy lifting to make the dough rise and double in size.

This recipe uses dry active yeast instead of instant yeast. You place it in warm water to make sure it is “active” and fresh enough to work. If it doesn’t foam in the warm water, it might be old and shouldn’t be used. If you only have instant yeast on hand, you can still use it in this recipe. Even though instant yeast doesn’t have to be activated with warm water, it can be old and you not realize it. So to make this recipe with instant yeast, follow the instructions with the only difference being that you substitute instant yeast for active yeast. This gives you insurance that the yeast is fresh. As a side note, I have accidentally used instant in this recipe and the recipe turned out fine.

Preparing the Colors

When the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Then divide it in half. If the dough is sticky, use a little flour to make it workable.

Divide each half into 3 equal pieces for 6 pieces total. This recipe will make two loaves of bread. Each loaf will need 3 pieces (one red, one white, and one blue). To start the coloring process, put two dough pieces into a clean mixer and add a generous amount of blue food coloring gel. Using the dough hook, let the mixer work in the coloring until the dough has a uniform color. Many blue colors are sky blue and will turn out too light. To get a darker blue, use royal blue or add a little purple gel food coloring to a sky-blue color. It is best to put in all the colors at the same time and only mix once so you don’t overwork the dough.

You can also hand knead the color into the dough. It takes a little while to do so but can be enjoyable if you like kneading dough.

Take the blue dough out of the mixer and divide it in half again. Set aside the two blue dough pieces with 2 white dough pieces. Clean the mixing bowl and dough hook. Place the two remaining uncolored dough pieces into the mixing bowl and add a generous amount of red gel food coloring. Turn on the mixer and let the dough hook knead the dough until it has a uniform red color. Depending on your mixer, a lower mixing speed might work better than a higher speed.

Add a little flour if the dough sticks to the mixing bowl. Sometimes the food coloring will wet it enough that it becomes sticky. Once the red color is consistently mixed through the dough, remove the dough and divide it into two pieces. At this point, you should have 2 blue pieces, 2 white pieces, and 2 red pieces.

Assembling the Loaves

Roll out one piece of each color to a rectangle about 5 x 7 inches each (shown above). You don’t want to roll the length longer than your bread pan but the width won’t matter as much as you will see below.

Stack the three colors on top of each other with white in the middle.

Roll the stack of dough to about 8 x 12 inches. The length needs to stay a little smaller than your pan length but the width needs to be wide enough for you to roll up the dough (shown below).

Carefully roll up the long side of the dough to make a tight log.

Place the dough “log” into a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Then repeat the process to make the second dough log for the other pan.

Second Rising

Let the dough rise again until doubled in size and then bake.

Surprise Inside

The inside of the bread should look like this with rolled colors. Like snowflakes, no two loaves will be exactly alike!

It is so much fun to cut into this bread and see how your creation turned out. These loaves are great for sandwiches on the 4th of July or anytime you want a patriotic theme. If you want to make this bread ahead of time to use later, wrap it well once it has completely cooled and place it into the freezer. Then thaw it several hours before you want to use it. Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Red, White, and Blue Bread
Red, white, and blue swirled bread perfect for patriotic celebrations!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 160 minutes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 160 minutes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
  1. In a large mixing bowl add the water, yeast, and 1/8 teaspoon of the sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes. The mixture will be foamy.
  2. Add the sugar, salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour, using a spatula to stir between each 1-cup flour addition. Then add the rest of the flour by ½ cup additions and mix with a mixer and dough hook between each ½ cup. Stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is a little sticky to your finger. If a lot of dough sticks to your finger, then add a little more flour. (I needed 5 ¼ cups of flour to reach the correct consistency. You may need more or less flour.)
  3. Once the dough is smooth, not too sticky, and has pulled away from the sides of the mixing bowl, use the mixer to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  4. After kneading, oil the inside of a large bowl. Add the bread dough to the bowl and turn the dough so that all sides are greased.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a warm towel on top. Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. Wash the mixer and dough hook.
  6. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide it into two pieces. Then divide each dough half into three pieces.
  7. Of the 6 pieces of same-sized dough, set two pieces aside for use later.
  8. Place two pieces of dough into the mixing bowl. Add a generous amount of blue gel food coloring. Using the dough hook, knead the dough until the blue gel coloring is distributed evenly throughout the dough. Add a little flour if needed, so the dough is not too sticky.
  9. Remove the blue dough from the mixing bowl and divide it in half again and set it aside.
  10. Clean the mixing bowl and dough hook. Place two more dough pieces into the mixing bowl and place a generous amount of red gel food coloring on the dough. Use the dough hook to knead the dough until it is a uniform red color. Use extra flour if you need it to keep the dough from being too sticky.
  11. Remove the red dough from the mixing bowl and divide it in half.
  12. Get one red piece of dough, one white, and one blue. Using a rolling pin, separately roll each dough piece to approximately 7 x 5 inches.
  13. Stack the rolled dough pieces together in this order: blue, white, and red. The bottom color of the stack will determine which color is on the outside of the cooked bread. To have red on the outside of the cooked bread stack red first, white, and then blue.
  14. Use the rolling pin to roll the stacked dough together so that it is approximately 8 x 12 inches.
  15. Starting on the long (12-inch) side, use your fingers to roll up the dough into a log. Place the dough log into a greased baking pan.
  16. Repeat the process for the other three pieces of dough and place the rolled-up log into the other bread pan.
  17. Use cooking spray to grease two pieces of plastic wrap and place them over each pan. Cover the pans with a warm towel and let them sit for 1 hour to rise again.
  18. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  19. Cool the bread in the pans for about 5-10 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Brush butter on top of each loaf.

You may also like