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Purple Walnut Bread. Aargh!

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Purple Walnut Bread. Aargh!

I am making a modified verison of Pearl's Walnut Levain from Maggie Glezer's book. The walnuts are turning the bread purple. I've tried toasting them, but that doesn't help. I'm thinking of toasting them and tossing them in flour and then adding them to the recipe. Any ideas?


Floydm's picture

I believe if you mix them in very gently just at the very end you can reduce the purple coloring. I doubt you'll completely remove it though: that is the oil leaking out of the walnuts. I actually find it quite attractive looking.

zolablue's picture

What could be better than purple bread!  I don't care for walnuts but I must try harder because I love the idea they can turn the bread purple. LOL.  Btw, I've wondered the same thing about the blue cheese walnut bread in the BBA book which looks quite purple.  Is that also due to the walnuts in the recipe or the blue cheese or a combination of both?  Or is it the photo? 

AnnaInNC's picture

That explains it, the walnuts !  I thought it was the beer which I used in lieu of water.

qahtan's picture

 This is my walnut and Guinness bread to which I also added walnut oil... qahtan

Sylviambt's picture


I love using toasted walnuts in the Glezer and Hamelman pain levains.  Yes, they make for interesting looking bread. I usually use them in conjunction with craisins, raisins or currants.  Always very popular loaves, and I've never heard a negative word about the color.


TRK's picture

I haven't tried walnut bread, but I did adapt a method from Cook's Illustrated's recent kalamata olive bread.  They recommended folding in the olives in during the bulk fermentation.  I mixed up some wet sourdough and kneaded briefly in the mixer.  Then I did two folds during the fermentation, adding the olives during the first so they got reasonably mixed.  I poured the dough onto a well-floured counter, spread it gently, then placed the olives on top.  Then I made a standard fold (stretching and folding each of the four quarters over the center).  I returned the dough to the bowl for an hour, and folded it again.  This kept the olives from breaking up or staining the dough.  It also kept them mostly inside the loaf so they didn't get burned when I baked it (I ended up making fougasse with this particular one).  This technique would probably work for adding things to any dough if  you want to avoid mixing it in during kneading.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Thanks for the help! 

Zolablue, I make that blue cheese walnut bread (I renamed it Rhapsody in Bleu) and for me, it has a slightly bluish color.  While I'm mixing it up, however, it has a rather unappealing gray tone to it.  I use Gorgonzola, if that makes a difference.  Also, I made it once as he described and was totally put off by the flavor and the smell (overpoweringly sour).  I now add 1 t instant yeast to the dough and talk about divine....I have a home-based baking business where I live (yay for VA where it's legal!) and I have a couple of loaves just baked of my Rhapsody in Bleu waiting to go. 

Sorry about that little tangent--I love that bread!

In regards to the purple of the walnuts, this time when I toasted them, I rubbed them in a dishcloth to get most of the skins off--a rather messy job, but it did work better.  I like the idea of gently folding them in during the bulk fermentation.  I'll try that next time. 

zolablue's picture

That bread uses a barm so are you saying you simply replace the barm with the instant yeast?  I love your name for it!  I'm even more anxious to try it now.  Trouble is I don't love walnuts and hubby doesn't love blue cheese but I'm so in love with the color I just gotta do it. :o)

beenjamming's picture

blue cheese and walnut bread is simply the best thing in the world. forget that you don't love walnuts and forget your husband doesn't love blue cheese. I usually make this bread with a very high poolish percentage which i find compliments the cheese's sharpness with its own. I usually use danish blue because it's a lot cheaper than gorganzola and really melts into the dough nicely. also, concerning the discoloring caused my the walnuts: i usually wait until i shape my loaves to add the cheese and walnuts, making kind of a cinnamon roll style log with closed ends and I've never had purple loaves with that method. I'm also keen on shaping my loaves this way because it eliminates hunks of blue cheese or walnuts on the crust and the cheese and walnuts fountain out of the score marks in the oven in a really beautiful way.

zolablue's picture

I desperately WANT the purple or blue bread.  My mother used to bake purple birthday cakes for me as a child and often used blue icing.  My father used to call me Violet as a child because of my passion for all things purple.  So purple bread is right down my alley.  LOL.


I appreciate your tips.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Zolablue--I use the barm and 1 t yeast.  I use 20 oz bread flour, 6 oz walnuts, 5 oz gorgonzola (the cheapest blue cheese where I live), 1 3/4 c water, the 1 t yeast, salt (1 1/2 t I think) and the barm.  Outstanding!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

just use a recipe with a large amount of rye.  I never knew my rye walnut was purple too until it was posted on TFL.


Przytulanka's picture


I baked them on Saturday.



700 g whole -wheat flour

400 g whole-rye flour

90 g walnut pices

900 ml water

Knead until all flour is fully incorporated, cover and put into refrigerator for at least 12 hours.



1 tablespoon sourdough whole-wheat starter

150g water

150g whole-rye flour

Let it ferment covered, in room temperature for 12 hours.



Remove the dough from refrigerator and add sourdough.

Mix it through with your hands for 10 minutes. It`s not easy at the beginning. Allow to rest for 30 minutes (delayed salt method).

Add the salt (24 g ) and work it through the dough. Let to rest for 30 minutes.

Give it turn and allow to stand for 30 minutes and give it another turn.

Let to ferment for 5 hours. The dough is slightly wet. Divide the dough and shape into a boule and cylinder  Put into proofing baskets coated with the parchment paper. Proof for one hour.

Soak your Romertopf  for 10 minutes, dry it and put into the oven with  the oven proof pot with lid. Preheat the oven to 500F. Score the loaves and put them into the Romertopf and pot. Cover with lids. Bake 15 minutes in 470F, another 15 minutes in 450F. Remove the loaves from the pots and parchment paper - bake for 15 minutes.

Last year I also baked with walnuts ( 50% bread flour +  50%whole wheat flour) and I remember how surprised I was seeing the colour of  the bread. 

chleb z wloskimi orzechami


AnnaInNC's picture

and then put in the bread when the Roemertopf is very hot ?  

I might have misunderstood your post, but normally you would presoak the lid and then after putting in the bread you would insert into a cold oven, otherwise the Roemertopf might crack.

BerniePiel's picture

Lt Rye, WW, KAF Euro w/ cherries, walnuts and toasted sesame seedsblack cherries to the mix.  I must say this has probably been the bread I get the most compliments about even now several months after I made it.   No one complained about the purple color and the black cherries made it even more purple.  But the flavor was wonderful.

hanseata's picture

I love walnut bread and do not mind the purple color. You cannot really avoid it, toasting adds to good flavor but doesn't prevent the discoloration.

You have to decide, whether you want the nut pieces evenly distributed in your (a little purple) bread or just in one layer. If you add the nuts shortly before the end of your kneading you will not be able to fully incorporate them into the dough, but have a (very purple) walnut layer in the bread. The same happens if you spread them on the dough on the countertop and then fold them in.

With olive bread it's the same. Either the whole bread is a bit discolored or you have discolored layers with olives.





LINFAMAX's picture

You may want to try roasting the nuts in an oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes before adding them to your mix.  That will minimize the blue color.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

It's the anthocyanins in the skin. Toasting can help because it makes it easier to remove the skin (by rubbing with a towel). The heat itself doesn't affect the color; I've boiled walnuts to reduce the bitterness, but the bread still turned purple.

If these are the same anthocyanins as in red cabbage, the color will change according to pH. Acid = pink; alkali = green.  (How about green Irish soda bread on St Patrick's Day?)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I gotta go check that out...

Kiseger's picture

I used walnuts without the skins and no purple, but when I keep the skins I get the purple.  I quite like it, but if you don't then rub off the skins or buy them already prepared (at a cost though...).