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I'm trying to write up a how-to guide for braiding six strands of dough.

I figured that for comprehension I would instruct the cook to move the pieces of dough based on a color-coding scheme. E.g. I would say place the black strand between the blue and green strands.

However, in order to identify which strand is which, I need food-safe colored items that can be stuck into the ends of each strand of dough [to be removed after braiding is complete]. What are some items that can fit this purpose?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

wooden toothpicks with colored ends, like the kind at cocktail parties? (like these?

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I guess glass marbles would be safe enough as long you don't forget to remove them!

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I don't think identifying strands to move (and where to move them) by colour is a good way to go. It'll get too confusing to say "Put the red one across all the others so it's to the right of the orange one, then put the blue one between the yellow and purple, then put the orange one across all the others so it's next to the green one, then put the red one between the yellow and blue, ..."

Use colours like this page to show what to do, but if someone can do a basic three-strand braid, they can easily learn to do 6 strands.

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If you writing up a guide, you don't actually need to do that, just edit your photos in GIMP or Photoshop to add markers as needed (if its a video, you can edit that too, though its more time-consuming). You can also do something that'll be friendly to the colorblind, like put numbers on them as well.

You could also use food colors, I guess, though kneading it in would be somewhat messy (and you'd have to handle the dough as six separate doughs). Would certainly produce a weird-looking bread at the end!

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I think you misunderstood my question. I'm trying to find something to for the reader to use, not just me – yydl May 26 '11 at 21:39
@yydl: OK, then my suggestions won't work. I'm leaving my answer here in case someone else comes by (who just wants to do something similar, but doesn't need his readers to do so as well). I'd go with toothpicks, then; but I'd put numbered tags on them (possibly in addition to colors), to avoid problems with colorblindness. – derobert Jun 2 '11 at 17:26

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