I first ate Dutch Crunch Bread in Portugal many, many years ago. We came across it in the bread aisle while shopping for groceries. It was labeled Pao Tigre (or Tiger Bread) and so pretty to look at, I had to buy it. A beautifully textured light and brown cracked crunchy crust is the hall mark of this otherwise soft bread.
Dutch Crunch Bread is also known as Tijgerbrood/ Tijgerbol in the Netherlands. Simply put, that means Tiger Bread. It is called Dutch Crunch Bread only in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. because that’s the only place this bread is well known. The bread gets its name from the typical pattern of the crust. The pattern supposedly resembles a tiger’s stripes. It looks more like a leopard’s or giraffe’s pattern to me. I do believe it is called Giraffe Bread in the UK! For this bread, regular bread dough is shaped into a round and covered with a yeasted rice flour paste. This topping cracks and crisps up when the bread rises and bakes in the oven.
Dutch Crunch Bread is soft and slightly sweet and the crisp, crunchy topping provides a nice contrast. It’s not very difficult to make. The bread is typically made as a single oval shaped (bloomer) or sometimes around loaf but can also be made into smaller buns or rolls. Buns or rolls make excellent sandwiches. This bread is best eaten the same day it is baked. If you live in humid conditions as I do, you’ll find the crunchy crust tends to soften the next day. My bread is an adaptation of this recipe. I had first baked this bread way back in 2009 and posted it on this blog. My post disappeared unfortunately, somewhere between moving hosting platforms and now. This is a repeat posting of that, with updated text and images.
The paste for the crust typically uses sesame oil. I’ve found other oil works fine and I like using coconut oil in particular. I like using a little whole wheat flour in a lot of my breads. If you don’t, just substitute that with an equal amount of all-purpose flour. Take care with the crust. Apply the rice paste generously but not too thick. Apply it too thick you will be left with a very strong flavor of rice flour every time you take a bite. If it isn’t thick enough, then you won’t have a good crust.
Dutch Crunch Bread
For the Dough :
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp coconut oil or oil of your choice
- 1 cup warm milk or soy milk
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 cups all- purpose flour maybe a little less or more
For the Topping:
- 3/4 cup fine rice flour
- 2 tsp active dried yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame or coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- You can knead by hand or use a machine. As always, I use a food processor and then do the final kneading by hand. Put the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Mix to dissolve the yeast and let it proof for about 10 minutes, till it is frothy.
- Put the proofed yeast mixture, oil, milk, salt and whole wheat flour in the bowl of the processor. Also add about 2 cups of the all-purpose flour and knead to a smooth and elastic dough. Add as much more of app-purpose flour as necessary to achieve this consistency.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for a couple of minutes more. Roll into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl, turning to coat well. Cover loosely and let it rise for about an hour and a half or till it has doubled in size.
- Lightly flour your counter and turn the risen dough out on it. Lightly knead to degas the dough. If making into rolls, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Shape into a smooth boule or rolls. Place on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely. Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the topping. It should have a thick batter-like consistency that will spread easily and not drip off the dough. Let it sit while the shaped dough is rising. The topping should look “puffy” after this time.
- Once the dough has risen, brush a generous (but not overly thick) layer of the topping over the bread (or bun/rolls), covering the top and sides well. Let it rise for another 20 minutes.
- Bake the dough at 190C (375F) for about 25 minutes or till the bread is done and the crust is a deep brown. Let it cool completely on a rack.