I recently made coloured swirled bread, in which different colours of dough (in my case a coloured and an uncoloured piece) were rolled together and baked in the same loaf to give an interesting novelty appearance. When I put it into the oven the poke test on the uncoloured dough rose up slowly, but the uncoloured sprang back a bit more quickly. The finished bread rose acceptably, but not spectacularly, and the coloured dough was somewhat denser than the uncoloured. The whole thing was a sourdough loaf if that makes any difference.
When should the colouring for the coloured piece have been added?
- after kneading? This is what I did. With liquid colouring, which seemed to colour individual strands of gluten, this required considerable kneading to distribute evenly. This amounted to nearly twice the amount of kneading as the uncoloured piece. Since the undivided full batch of dough had completed kneading (it was at windowpane) when I divided them, I might possibly have overkneaded the coloured piece. The uncoloured piece would also have undergone more fermentation than the coloured piece due to how long the extra kneading took (even in the fridge).
- before kneading?* This would have allowed the colouring to be more easily mixed in, but would also have required each colour of dough to be separately kneaded to windowpane strength as well as separately proofed. Not only would I need to be sure each piece was equivalently kneaded but also equivalently proofed. As with the other option this would leave one piece fermenting longer than the other.
EDIT: *before kneading referring to the point when the flour and water and other ingredients have been barely incorporated together and the result is still just a "shaggy mess" as some describe it. I assume that "kneading" is a specific stage of breadmaking for the purpose of gluten development, not merely an act of kneading at any point in the process.