After 24 hours of sleepless travel with pint-sized companions, Crowded Earth Kitchen arrived in Amsterdam. Finding a meal was a tricky venture, because hungry as I was, this was not the time for anything exotic. Planes, trains, automobiles, and multiple time zone changes shall not be paired with spicy food or sushi, thank you very much. A simple cheese sandwich on tiger bread was a perfect snack.
Dutch tiger bread, also called Dutch crunch bread, is a unique bread worth sampling in the Netherlands. It’s basically a white bread topped with a signature crunchy, crackly “tiger” coating. Sesame oil imparts a distinctive flavor to the crust; I find it delicious, but feel free to substitute olive oil if you prefer a more neutral flavor.
The secret to the crackled top is rice flour – not in the loaf of bread itself, but as an ingredient in a coating baked onto the top of the loaf. This is a fun bread to make with children, and makes a pretty fabulous sandwich. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)
For the bread loaves:
2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup canola oil
6 cups white flour
For the crunch coating:
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm (not boiling) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rice flour (not glutinous or sweet flour)
Step 1) Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.
Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms. Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking. Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.
Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size. This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.
Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is
fun!). Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes. Divide dough in half, and shape into loaves.
Step 6) Transfer loaves onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise for one hour. After 45 minutes (15 minutes before the hour is up), prepare crunch coating as follows:
Step 7) Combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add yeast. Let sit for 2 minutes until yeast starts to foam. Add olive oil, sesame oil, salt, and rice flour. Stir until well combined, then let rest for 15 minutes.
Step 8) After loaves have risen for an hour and crunch coating (a “paste” at this point) has rested for 15 minutes, gently smear the coating onto the top and sides of the loaves. Let loaves rest again for another 15 minutes.
Step 9) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy your tiger bread!