Yes – Tiger Bread! Also known as Tijgerbrood in The Netherlands and Dutch Crunch Bread in the US.
There’s nothing special about the bread itself – its just regular bread dough. Its nice to have a party trick up your sleeve though, to jazz things up once in a while. The secret to getting the crackled effect is painting the half-risen rolls (or loaves) with a yeast paste made with rice flour. Let the bread finish rising, then bake as usual.
When the proved dough hits the heat of the oven, it continues to rise. The rice paste, because its gluten-free, doesn’t stretch and so as the dough rises, the paste ‘tears apart’ to give the distinctive mottled appearance.
Just as an aside, I always think it looks more like the patterning on a giraffe than a tiger. Still, if it were called giraffe bread, I wouldn’t be able to do this: *mimes clawing* rrrrrOWWLL!!!
Moving on… I made this dough in a bread-maker, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
In fact, I really don’t understand the snobbery attached to the use of bread machines. I use mine more like a food-processor, and no-one seems to mind if you chop stuff in one of them as opposed to by hand, so what IS the problem? Just pop in the ingredients and then I can do my own thing while it does its own thing, and bing! in 45 minutes the dough is ready to make into whatever takes my fancy. I still like to make speciality breads by hand, but for a basic dough, the machine can do it more quickly and more cleanly. Consequently, I don’t bother with all the weird stuff that seems to appear in bread-maker-specific recipes. Bottom line: if I wouldn’t use it when making bread by hand, then it doesn’t go in the bread machine. If you don’t have a bread-machine, you can use exactly the same ingredients to make the dough by hand.
Availability: Rice flour is available in health food stores and in some UK supermarkets. If it’s not with the regular flours, try the aisle with the ‘special diet’ foods. Doves Farm is a well-known brand. Price £1.80 per kilo (July 2011)
Important: Ground rice IS NOT rice flour.
This recipe makes 8 large rolls.
Bread-maker Basic White Bread Dough
600g strong white bread flour
1 sachet easy-blend yeast
400ml warm water
- Put the ingredients into your bread-machine in whatever order is specified for your machine.
- Set it to ‘dough’ (mine says ‘pizza’) and press start.
- When finished, the dough can sit quite happily and continue to rise for up to 30 minutes if its not convenient to shape the rolls – much longer and it may rise over the pan, so don’t leave it indefinitely.
- As soon as the machine starts, mix the topping.
Tiger Bread Paste
150ml warm water
160g rice flour
1 sachet easy blend yeast
2tbs sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
Soft baking brush – silicon for preference.
2 baking trays
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and leave to rise.
Shaping the rolls
- When the dough is ready, tip it onto a floured surface and gently pat down.
- Cut into 8 even pieces.
- Shape each piece into a roll and lay on baking sheets to rise. Best to use 2 sheets than try and squash all eight rolls onto one.
- After the rolls have been proving for 15-20 minutes, stir the paste vigorously and then brush lightly over the rolls. The paste will have the consistency of thick, pouring cream. NB Be careful you don’t deflate the rolls as you brush the paste onto them – Gently Bentley! Also – the thicker the layer of paste, the larger the ‘scales’ on the finished bread.
- Leave the rolls to rise for a further 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C Fan) and then bake for 15 minutes. NB Turn the baking sheets around after 10 minutes, to get an even colouring.
- Leave to cool on wire racks.
Variations: Experiment with different bread flours.
Cost (paste only): £0.55 (July 2011)