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.