Make Blue Bread with Butterfly Pea Flowers

Not that my kids need any convincing to eat bread, but here is a fun spin on a yeast bread that only requires one extra step to get a gorgeous purple-blue hue without a flavor change!

Why make blue bread, you ask? I don’t know, why not? It’s pretty, it makes you go wow, and its a fun special activity to do with your kids.

All you have to do is replace the water in your recipe with strongly brewed butterfly pea flower tea. Butterfly pea flowers contain a large amount of the amazing class of molecules called anthocyanins. They normally appear as a gorgeous, deep purple-blue color in nature, commonly seen in blueberries, but anthocyanins are also responsible for the deep pinks found in fruits like pomegranates and cranberries.

Butterfly pea flowers are still pretty new to western supermarkets, so I buy mine from Amazon here.

To make this bread, I added 1/2 cup of loose butterfly pea flowers to 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan, brought them to a boil over medium high heat, removed from heat, and let the flowers steep for about 10 mins. The resulting tea should be a very dark, dark blue. I waited for the tea to cool to about 105F, added the recipe’s sugar, then proofed the yeast straight in the tea. Afterwards, I just followed the normal recipe.

Butterfly pea flower tea doesn’t really taste like anything, maybe slightly reminiscent of normal green peas but not off-putting when you drink it by itself (kind of boring to me though). In the bread, the taste was undetectable. If you’re familiar with anthocyanins, you might be wondering if this bread changes color, as anthocyanins will change to pink when in acidic conditions. It does, but I couldn’t get it to change under normal palatable bread conditions. If we doused it with lemon, it changed to a bright pink after a few minutes, but then we had soggy lemon bread. Not too great, but still pretty. I want to try using cultured butter one day, as that is slightly acidic. Let me know if you ever try this yourself!

When you find yourself with lots of leftover flowers after you make this loaf, try some of these other activities with your kids that utilize butterfly pea flower tea! It undergoes a color change at different pH values, which opens the door to some amazing projects! (Some of these project say to use red cabbage juice, but that and butterfly pea flower are interchangeable for color changing activities).

Flower Petal Chromatography

 

This is a quick easy science project you can do with children of all ages. You can make it very simple for young ones, or more complex for older children. In this project, you crush flower petals with a household solvent, then separate the colorful components of the petals using paper chromatography.
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