Today I made some flatbread and while cooking them I noticed a reddish coloring of the dough. I didn't add anything red in particular, so I am very surprised they turned out this way. Why did that happen?

I mixed whole spelt flour and regular wheat flour, yogurt, 2 tablespoons baking soda, some olive oil, flax seeds and sesame seeds, salt, garam masala and turmeric. First I kneaded it with a mixer, the by hand, I left it to rest for 15 minutes, maybe bit more. I rolled it quite thinly with a rolling pin. I fried it on a non-stick pan.

I am actually not sure if this was safe to eat, maybe something reacted in an unexpected way?!

  • 6
    A picture could be helpful in this case, but turmeric and garam masala could add an orange to red tinge. Have you made this recipe before?
    – moscafj
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 20:23
  • 2
    was the reddish coloring noticeable in the raw dough, or after cooking?
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 20:51
  • 1
    @rumtscho only after cooking. I forgot to add that I used yogurt. :)
    – mcjlnrtwcz
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 21:01
  • @moscafj I made similar ones, with this kind of flour and so on. New thing here was the mixer and the seeds maybe, I used them only once or twice before.
    – mcjlnrtwcz
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 21:04
  • 3
    yogurt would be acidic ... could there be something else in there that's acting like litmus paper?
    – Joe
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


As Joe mentioned, there was something acting as a litmus paper!

Turmeric placed in an alkaline solution will turn bright red!

quoted from: https://foodcrumbles.com/how-turmeric-gets-its-color/

Most probably there wasn't enough yogurt or it didn't react with baking soda and left the dough alkaline.

  • 4
    I didn't know that tumeric did that. (I was assuming that there might've been something else that wasn't mentioned). Interesting in that it seems to require heat to get it to change, though. Now I just need to think about how best to abuse that knowledge. (like getting something to turn blood red when cooked)
    – Joe
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 2:33
  • 1
    You get something similar trying to remove curry stains from worktops. Yellow stain; spray with generic household cleaner, leave to soak. Come back to dark orange-red floating stain. Rinse & repeat [literally].
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 5:59
  • 3
    A nice infographic showing the same info - see why tumeric turns red. Commented May 18, 2021 at 13:59
  • 1
    Red onion can do the litmus thing, too. I discovered that when I added red onion to a seafood chowder and it turned (a rather unappealing shade of) blue. 😲 Commented May 19, 2021 at 12:30

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