This Dutch Crunch Bread Recipe (or Tiger Bread) will become your new favorite! So unique with its special crackly top and soft center, this specialty bread famous in the San Francisco Bay Area will make its way into your kitchen and will never leave!
A couple months ago, I ran across some intriguing pictures of bread on Pinterest. It was round and crackly on top. Not just split down the middle from baking, but covered with cracks all over, making a unique puzzle-like pattern on each roll or small loaf of bread. It was a variety of bread I’d never heard of before–Dutch Crunch Bread (sometimes known as Tiger Bread, Giraffe Bread, or Marco Polo Bread). I was intrigued and knew I had to try it!
What is Dutch Crunch Bread?
Dutch Crunch Bread is basically any type of bread or roll with the special crunchy, crackly top. It is super famous in San Francisco and sold in stores, sandwich shops, and bakeries there. Apparently, it is very difficult to find in other areas of the country. But never fear! You can make your own at home!
What Makes Dutch Crunch Bread Crunchy?
Before baking the bread, you brush the top of each roll (or small loaf) with a special topping. It is made out of a mixture of rice flour (which is gluten-free, so it doesn’t stretch or spread), yeast, water, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt. As the bread bakes, this topping breaks and hardens.
How to Make Dutch Crunch Bread (Tiger Bread)
I’ve got step-by-step pictures for you!
First you make a standard dough with yeast, water, milk, sugar, vegetable oil, flour, and salt. Nothing out of the ordinary here. After the dough rises, punch it down and form it into 12 rolls. For the technique to get perfectly smooth, round rolls, be sure to see my French Bread Rolls post. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Lay a tea towel over the top of the rolls while you make the topping. For the special topping, you’ll just mix some yeast and warm water together and let it proof for 5-10 minutes, until it gets frothy. Then you’ll add some sugar, vegetable oil, salt, and rice flour. You can get rice flour in most stores, generally in a “gluten-free” section. I use brown rice flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
Once that is all mixed up, you’ll uncover your rolls and gently brush the topping on the tops and sides of each one. Go ahead and put a thick layer of the rice flour paste on each roll. You should use almost all the topping.
When all the rolls are covered, they will look like this:
Now let them sit uncovered for 20 more minutes while you heat up your oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, until a nice golden-brown color and beautifully crackly!
After a few minutes, remove them from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
These rolls are best eaten the day they are made. Once you store them in a plastic bag, the moisture seeps into the crunchy topping and they are not crunchy any more. You can partially remedy this by reheating them in a toaster oven, but they really are best eaten fresh! These are so great with just butter and jam, or you can also use them to make sandwiches of all kinds!
This recipe adapted from Dutch Crunch Bread Rolls on Handle the Heat.
This recipe for Dutch Crunch Bread (or Tiger Bread) will become your new favorite! So unique with its special crackly top and soft center, this specialty bread famous in San Francisco will make its way into your kitchen and will never leave!
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown rice flour
In a large bowl or a stand mixer, add the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast with 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water. Let proof for 5-10 minutes, until frothy.
Add the warm milk, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix briefly.
Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well. Switch to the dough hook (if using) and add another cup of flour. Mix well. Gradually add the other 1/4 cup of flour if necessary to reduce the stickiness of the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place evenly spaced on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you don't have parchment, lightly grease the baking sheet).
Cover the rolls with a tea towel while you make the topping.
Mix the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast with 3/4 cup warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Allow to proof 5-10 minutes, until frothy.
Add 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup brown rice flour. Stir until everything is well mixed.
Remove the towel from the rolls and brush each one on the top and sides with a liberal amount of topping. Try to use as much topping as you can.
Let the rolls rest and rise, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crackly.
Best eaten the same day.