Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!
Is it just me or did you break out in song as soon as you saw the title of the challenge too? I'm not scared of lionss and tigerssss and bearssss, but I'm scared of loving youuu. Yes? No? Maybe so? Okay, maybe it's just me. Anyways, the title of the challenge doesn't exactly hint at the actual challenge itself, so I was basically in suspense until my slow Internet finally loaded the page. Thankfully, it ended up being something not as scary as a lion, tiger, or bear. Just some fancy bread, apparently very popular in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But it's not the actual bread that's special, rather, it's the topping that crackles into a spotted pattern similar to that of a tiger's when it bakes, hence giving it the name "Tiger bread" in the Netherlands (supposedly the country it originated from). So basically, you could make any bread Dutch Crunch bread as long as you coat it with a paste made of yeast, rice flour, sugar, salt, oil, and water. I played it safe and used the recipe that Sara and Erica provided for soft white rolls, as well as their recipe for the Dutch Crunch topping.
Apparently, I've inherited some bread making genes from my mother because the rolls came out awesome on my first try! I did run into one little issue with the topping being super thick when I mixed together all the ingredients, and I mean, REALLY thick, but I simply added more water until I got it to the right consistency. From there on out, it was all rainbows and butterflies and pretty patterns. And a wonderful aroma sifting throughout the house.
Before I could taste my almost-too-pretty-to-eat bread rolls, I had to complete the second part of the challenge which was to construct a sandwich of my choice. I think my mind subconsciously told me to pick a basic cheese, lettuce, tomato sandwich because it was just so eager for me to get on with the taste test. Or maybe I've convinced myself that to defend my lack of creativity. But honestly, it wouldn't have mattered how creative I got because this bread is a star in it's own right.
The crunchy topping is unlike no other. Seriously. Yeah, it does kind of slightly scrape the roof of your mouth when you're biting into it, but that is a small price to pay for something so delicious. But let's not let the topping steal all the spotlight--the roll itself is nothing short of perfect either. It's soft and fluffy and has a wonderful airy texture. Are you starting to imagine what a combination of the two in your mouth would taste like? Crunchy meeting soft? Sweet meeting salty? Is your stomach grumbling? Are you reaching out for the screen? Alright, let me stop.
Needless to say, I won't be heating my sandwich rolls in the oven until they get crispy on the outside anymore. Or buying sandwich rolls at all, for that matter. Okay, I'll probably still do both of those things but I'll definitely be doing a lot more of making this tiger bread. Rawr. Over and out.
Dutch Crunch BreadIngredients:For the soft white roll1 tablespoon active dry yeast¼ cup warm water (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).1 cup warm milk1½ tablespoons sugar2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)1½ teaspoons saltUp to 4 cups all purpose flourFor the dutch crunch topping1 tablespoon active dry yeast1/2 cup warm water1 tablespoon sugar1 tablespoon vegetable oil1/4 teaspoon salt3/4 cups rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)Directions:For the soft white rollsPreheat oven to 380ºF.In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (It took about 1 and 1/4 cups of flour for me)Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size.Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.For the dutch crunch toppingCombine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. A thin layer will not crack properly so don't be afraid to be generous with the topping. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.