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How to Paint Sourdough

Use your bread as a canvas and paint any design you have in mind! Just dilute your gel food coloring with a little water or vodka, and paint onto your rice floured loaf. Touch-ups and finer details can be done post-bake.
Keyword: bread, design, paint, sourdough


  • Sourdough loaf, pre-baked
  • Rice flour
  • Paint brushes
  • Gel food coloring
  • Edible food markers
  • Paint palette (I just use a large plate)
  • Water or vodka
  • Lame
  • Parchment Paper
  • Dutch Oven



  • Set up your work station:
    a) Pour your water/vodka into a cup, and place your paintbrushes in it. Keep your paint palette/plate and gel food coloring nearby.
    b) Preheat your oven + dutch oven/baking steel according to your recipe.
  • Prepare your bread:
    a) If you are worried about how long you will take to paint and don't want your dough to overproof, you can freeze your dough in its basket for ~30 minutes. Proceed with the following steps.
    b) Place parchment paper on top of a large plate or tray. Turn out your sourdough onto the plate/tray.
    c) Liberally dust the surface of your sourdough with rice flour.
    d) If needed, I lightly outline my drawing using a cookie scribe/toothpick.


  • Squeeze your choice of gel food coloring onto the plate. Using your wet paintbrush, mix in a little of the water or vodka into the paint. Mix different colors to create shades of your choice. Go ahead and paint!
    Note: Do not focus on outlining anything in this step. It is easier for the food coloring to bleed into the unbaked dough, so focus your time on painting the main shapes of your design. After baking, you can go in with fine detail brush or edible food marker to outline, write words, etc.

Score your loaf:

  • Using your lame, score the perimeter of your painting. This will cause the bread to burst at the edges of your painting, allowing your design to stay in tact. Also sneak in some VERY light scores into the painting to prevent extra splits in the dough.


  • Place your scored loaf into your dutch oven/baking steel. Bake according to your recipe. Let cool on wire rack for a few minutes.

Touch up your design:

  • Depending on the brand and how much you diluted your gel food coloring, the colors may fade in the oven. If so, you can repaint parts of the loaf. You can also add any finer details at this point.
    It may be preferable to use vodka because the paint will dry faster. You can also use edible markers.