Avoid These Food Colouring Blunders While Baking

Food colouring can work wonders for even the simplest of bakes. In baking, they are mainly used to attain deep primary colours like red, blue, green etc which can be hard to enhance with natural ingredients. They can be used in batters, icing, fondant and even on loaf-based bread. Red velvet cake, for instance, is actually a chocolate cake, which is traditionally made with non-Dutched, anthocyanin-rich cocoa. However, most renditions available in the market use red food colouring to attain the deep red sponge base. Rainbow cakes are another example of a recipe that makes use of food colouring.

Not all food colourings are the same, some are water-based, while others are oil-based or gel-based. Using the wrong type for your recipe can result in uneven colouring or unexpected reactions. While synthetic food colours are widely available, natural alternatives can offer vibrant hues without the potential health concerns associated with artificial dyes. If you don’t want to use colouring you can experiment with ingredients like beet juice, turmeric, and spinach to infuse your dishes with colour, And if you’re using food colouring, here are the blunders you should avoid

Not Knowing When To Use Gel Vs Liquid

It’s important to remember that gel and liquid colouring is not interchangeable. Liquid food colouring is less concentrated and has higher water content, while gel food colouring is highly concentrated. It typically comes in a gel or paste form, allowing you to achieve intense colours with only a small amount, which is helpful when you want to avoid adding excess liquid to your recipes.

Gel food colouring provides vibrant and intense colours and is ideal for creating bold and deep hues in cake batters, icings, and other recipes without compromising the texture. Liquid colouring is best used for attaining pastel shades and lighter colours since achieving deep, rich colours can be challenging with liquid colouring without altering the consistency of the mixture.

Overdoing It

When it comes to food colouring always proceed with caution and use small quantities. It may take longer and it's tempting to intensify colours for maximum visual impact, but a heavy hand can result in an unpleasant aftertaste and a wonky appearance. Start with a small amount and gradually add more until you achieve the desired tone, be it in icing or batter

Ignoring Colour Wheel Basics

Understanding the colour wheel is essential for creating seamless colour tones and visually appealing dishes. Mixing complementary colours can lead to muddy, brown tones. Familiarise yourself with basic colour theory to avoid unintentional colour clashes and maintain the vibrancy of your culinary creations.

Using Faded or Expired Colours

Like any ingredient, food colouring has a shelf life. Using faded or expired colours can result in lacklustre hues and compromise the overall presentation. Regularly check the expiration dates and store your food colouring in a cool, dark place to ensure longevity and optimal performance.

Staining Hands and Utensils

Food colouring can stain everything it touches, from hands to utensils and countertops. To prevent an inadvertent tie-dye effect in your kitchen, wear gloves when handling food colouring and clean utensils promptly. For stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub surfaces clean.

Neglecting the Impact on Taste

Some artificial colourings can leave a bitter aftertaste. If possible, choose food colourings that are flavourless or complement the flavour profile of your recipe. If you have to use a flavoured colouring consider mixing it with natural alternatives