People are really excited about bread. It’s been a long time since that happened, right? Ordinarily, nowadays it seems that people eschew most bread and bread products on the basis that they’re empty calories, spike blood sugar, and they’re not not good for you. Ah—but hark! Now there’s a new cool kid in the bread school, and it may be the prettiest bread of all: it’s purple, and people are saying it’s a new kind of superfood.
Purple bread is the brainchild of Professor Zhou Weibiao, a food scientist at the National University of Singapore. He invented the purple bread to help people get more nutrients. His version is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and it’s digested 20% slower than ordinary white bread.
Weibiao found that by infusing white bread dough with the natural pigment that gives black rice its color, anthocyanin, a chemical reaction ensued that caused the bread to move more slowly through the digestive process.
“The challenge was to see if we could change the formula of bread, without changing the smooth texture of white bread that people really love,” the scientist said. The fact that the bread became purple was neither the goal nor intentional—it’s just a picturesque side-effect.
Even better than the fact that the lavender loaves don’t spike blood sugar the same way regular bread does is that 80% of its antioxidants are preserved in the bread’s crust and the crumbs, even when the dough is baked at 200 degrees Celcius.
If you want to enjoy the texture of white bread and slow down digestion, this is probably best formula,” Weibiao added. The bread won’t, however, have fewer calories than other kinds of bread—it’s just that those calories won’t shoot right through the digestive system, providing their benefits for longer amounts of time. The amount of starch and wheat flour isn’t any different in the purple bread.
The bread isn’t commercially available yet, but it could be soon—Weibiao says he’s been approached about it by a handful of manufacturing companies. Yum.