Tiger Bread

Three Tiger Bread Rolls


…and rrrrrOWWLL!

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
1tsp sugar
1tsp salt
2tbs oil
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 toasted sesame oil
2tbs sugar
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)

59 Comments on “Tiger Bread”

  1. Eron says:

    Such a fun idea — thanks! I’ll keep this in mind for sure.

  2. What beautiful bread!! You must have been so elated when they turned out this wonderfully, i definitely would have been! And when something is this pretty, it always tastes that much better 🙂 delicious im sure

    • MAB says:

      Thank you for the lovely comments Sasha – I did actually get a real buzz the first time I baked these and I saw the pretty pattern! M-A xx

  3. Lovely pics MaryAnne. I always think it looks more like Giraffe Bread too 🙂 xx

  4. Let’s rename it! Excellent picture. xx

  5. Winnie says:

    It’s a great idea!
    As I do not live in the USA – can you please let me know how many grams are in 1 sachet-easy blend-yeast? Is it instant yeast or dry yeast?

  6. Chef Jae says:

    Mary-Anne I absolutely love your pictures! You’ll probably give Rob a run for his money! Lol

  7. This is great 🙂 I am teaching a friend to bake bread and she asked me if I had a recipe for tiger bread, which I did not, so how lovely to stumble upon yours when looking you up before the GBBO final!

  8. patricia willis says:

    Hi Mary-Anne,
    was asked only recently if i knew how to bake tiger bread and now,thanks to you,i do. What a wonderful find your site is. You have a new fan.

    Kindest regards Patricia

  9. Caroline Taylor says:

    Loving your recipes .They are such fun to read .and so informative After seeing you on GBBO.I can almost imaging you reading them to me in your own inimitable way ! Do you use any sesame oil in the glaze or do you find it doesnt need any ?.Its quite a distinctive flavour

  10. glenna says:

    does anyone else remember the movie, alien nation? these remind me of their heads. …..beautiful bread and i will try to make it.

  11. I so need to make this. I always wondered how they made the top look and taste so good! I learn so much from you! Thank you!

  12. Malcolm Jones says:

    One of the tastiest is Tesco. The Sainsbury’s is not as tasty, I think they use less Sesame oil.
    The main taste ingredient is the sesame oil, the ‘tiger stripes’ are due to the corn flower paste. Mix the 2 together and magic !

    More flavour is available if some of the oil is added to the bread mix.

    Enjoy – delicious.

  13. Charlotte says:

    just made this, bloody amazing! tastes so good and is so easy to make, i used sesame oil in the paste and it gave so much more flavour! thanks so much for posting this, i have wondered how to do it for a while!

    i imagine my boyfriend will be extremely happy when he realises this is his present!

    absolutely delicious 🙂

  14. Irena says:

    Hiya MA! Great blog!

    I don’t live in the UK and only found out about GBBO through your blog and will now have to find a way of getting the series online.

    I stumbled upon your blog when searching for a recipe for a tiger bread as we miss the one from Tesco and I thought how hard would it be.

    The buns turned out really well, only problem is that the paste is quite sweet. I am wondering if I layered it on too thick – I could only make a bread with 500g because of my breadmaker, but didn’t want to fiddle with your paste recipe just in case I messed it up.

    DO I HAVE to use 2 tbs of sugar or can I cut it down to maybe one and keep the other ingredients the same quantity?

    Many thanks and keep up the lovely recipes,


  15. Simon Scanlan says:

    Why put yeast in the tiger paste mix?

    There’s no gluten in rice flour so the paste is not going to rise regardless of whether you add the yeast or not.

    Has anyone tried spraying the mixture onto the proving loaves?

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Simon! Lack of gluten has no effect on whether yeast works or not. The yeast adds air bubbles and makes the paste light and frothy, so it is easy to paint on when risen. The rice paste won’t stretch. Once cooked, it will crack apart as the dough underneath expands. The thick paste would be a little difficult to spray, but if you find a way, do let me know how you get on. M-A 😀

  16. fariba says:

    thank you for your excellent recipies

  17. […] recept voor deze broodjes komt van deze website. Je hebt voor deze broodjes rijstebloem nodig voor de bovenkant. Gewone bloem kun je niet […]

  18. Jenny Salerno says:

    I just love your recipes!!! Thanks for sharing!! I am having so much fun just reading them, can’t wait to try them, all!!!

  19. Caroline Brownlie says:

    I’d like to make dough in my bread maker then cook it in a loaf tin in the over. If I use the extra large receipe with 600g of flour, how long and what temp for it in a 3lb tin in the oven??

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Caroline! Bread needs a hot oven, so 200C or 180C Fan. Cooking time depends on your oven as well as the size & shape of your tin, but as a guesstimate I’d say at least 45 minutes and possibly even as much as an hour. Remove loaf from tin after 50 minutes and return to the oven on its side to crisp up the crust. Hope this helps!

  20. bharat says:

    can i used fresh yeast

  21. Peter says:

    Has anyone done these in a Halogen whirlwind oven?
    If so, can you tell me the temp and time please?
    Thank you.


    • MAB says:

      Wotchers, Peter! Never heard of one of those ovens – how do they differ from regular ovens? M-A Edit: Never mind, I did a search. I suggest you consult the manual, as the tiger bread rolls are baked just like regular bread rolls. Hope this helps!

  22. Jeremy says:

    Remember if using fresh yeast to use roughly 20% more than you would for dried or fast acting yeast!

  23. Keith says:

    These have to be some of the best loaves I’ve ever made by hand and was a little surprised that they came out so well. The crust was crisp and the crumb was soft, springy and absolutely delicious. The reason I was uncertain was because of the percentage of water to flour ratio which is normally 60% of water to flour (bakers percentages) at that ratio it would be 360ml or 360g, whichever way you measure it, not the 400g mentioned in the recipe but it worked so well. The dough was a little sticky from what I normally make but perfect results nevertheless. I measured the dough and made into two equal cobs which I placed on one baking tray on baking parchment. I brushed the paste on quite thickly but the end result wasn’t anywhere near as good as shown in your picture, I think the reason for this was that I left the dough too long in initial rising before brushing the paste on, therefore not being able to rise much further, both out or when placed in the oven to give the cracked effect, well, that’s my theory anyway. I baked these loves for 35 minuets at 180 degrees C (fan) before taking them off the tray and placing them back in the oven for another 5 minuets to crisp up the base. I used organic white bread flour from Shipton Mill for these loaves, the result couldn’t have been better apart from the giraffe or tiger pattern. Thank you!

  24. Keith says:

    Well here I am back again after my posting above and more loaves baked.

    OK, well I have a problem with the paste and wondered if anyone out there can advise.
    I brush the sesame infused paste onto the rising dough with no problems at all at about half way stage being careful not to disturb the rising dough itself, then I let the dough expand further until it’s ready to pop into the oven. The trouble is…..it does not crack to give the giraffe/tiger effect!!!!!! What on earth am I doing wrong?

    I’ve tried keeping the dough covered after applying the paste to keep it soft, I’ve also tried not covering the dough after the paste has been applied to allow it to dry out a bit, neither are successful. After baking, the paste is just one mass, as applied, over the baked bread albeit cooked. The bread however is just as good and as tasty as ever it was so no problem there, I’ve also tried brushing the paste on thinly and also thickly but it’s just the same result whatever I do, it just doesn’t have the pattern it should have when finished!
    Can anyone help please!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Keith!

      Sorry to hear your Tiger Bread hasn’t been working out. If the paste isn’t cracking in the oven, it sounds to me as if you’re leaving it a bit too long in the second rise, which means it has no more oomph! left once it goes into the oven.

      The dough should go into the oven when it is about 2/3 risen, and finish rising while it bakes.

      How long are you letting it rise – both first and second times?

      M-A 😀

  25. Keith says:

    Hi M-A,

    Thank you for getting back to me so soon, much appreciated.

    Well to tell you the truth it just gets one rise as I am using easy bake dried yeast from Allinson. I’ve also tried Morrison’s & Sainsbury’s too, they are all fast action, instant types. I was under the impression that with this kind of yeast the benefit was that only one rise is necessary before the dough goes in the oven.
    Anyway, after tightening the dough into two cob rounds I have waited up to 45 mins before applying the paste then a little longer before going in the oven. On the other hand I’ve applied the paste after only 20 mins in the enlarging rounds and perhaps another 20-25 mins before going in the oven.

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Keith,

      Fast action yeast means it can be added to the dry flour immediately, without first needing to be activated by sugar and water. This is the only shortcut when using the fast-action yeast.

      The dough still needs to be kneaded for 10 minutes, left to prove for at least 1 hour, knocked back, shaped, and then left to rise again for about 30 minutes.

      You need to add the paste 15 minutes into the second rise, and for the dough to still be springy enough to push back when pressed lightly with one finger, when you put it into the oven.

      If the dough retains the imprint of your finger, then it is over-risen and the yeast will have nothing left to raise it in the oven.

      Hope this helps! M-A 😀

  26. Keith says:

    Ohhhhh!!……hey, thanks for your speedy reply M-A as always and I will certainly try your suggestion of course, but now I’m confused……

    On all the packets and/or small tins of Easy Bake, Instant, Fast Action type yeast, call them what you will from whichever company they come from, they all say or at least mention the same thing in that the method they use for this kind of yeast, only one rise is given!!!!!

    In the case of Allinson Easy Bake it states that after kneading the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic……..”Shape the dough on a baking tray or place in a tin, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size for 30 to 45 minutes”. Then it goes on to say “Bake the loaf for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to” etc etc “and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is risen and golden brown”

    I have to say here that the loaves produced by this one rise method are in themselves, very good.

    No mention anywhere of knocking back and allowing a second rise, which I also have to say I do when using a dried active or even fresh yeast.

    It says pretty much the same thing on all the packets for this type of yeast! That’s why of course I’ve only been giving the dough the one and only rise that they all mention when using it.

    Maybe the only way to achieve the giraffe/tiger effect is to double rise the dough as you mention but I don’t really see why that would make the difference, unless of course normal types of yeast, both dried or fresh have more Oomph! in them to start with than the instant types.

    Could I ask…..after brushing on the paste would the formed dough still need to be covered until the time when I put them in the oven or would it be better to leave them uncovered?

    • MAB says:

      As long as the dough isn’t in a draft, then leaving it uncovered will be fine.
      I’ve been checking packets and Sainsbury’s fast action says 2 rises, but Tesco’s says one. Odd. Let me know how the next batch goes! M-A 😀

  27. Keith says:

    Will do. Yes it is odd isn’t it, both Allinson’s and Morrison’s say just one, thanks M-A.

  28. Keith says:

    Hi M-A

    Well here I am again after another attempt at the Tiger pattern on the loaves. This time I made 2 bloomers from the dough and brushed the paste on after approx 15 to 20 minuets into the second rise,(yes two rises, better). I used an instant type yeast again, in this case ‘Fermipan Red’ and the result was excellent on one of the loaves and gave the distinctive tiger/giraffe pattern all over but the other was different, half was crackle/stripe the other half was plain but cooked, brushed paste.

    This was my fault as I see it. After brushing the paste on I covered the dough loaves to finish the second rise. I took the black plastic bag off and it had stuck a little to the top of the dough removing some of the paste so I re-brushed one of them and left the other.

    The untouched one was perfect after baking both at 180 C (fan) for 35-40 minuets, the re-paste one came out looking near like a Badger ha ha.

    Anyway M-A, it looks like I’ve cracked it at last. (sorry for the pun).

    P.S.Did we find out why on some instant dried yeast packets/tins, one dough rise is directed, the others two?

  29. Kris says:

    Hi Great recipe, thank you. If I wanted to make more of the paste for larger batches, say double, does the amount of yeast also get doubled?



    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Kris!
      Great question!
      Yeast can raise up to 100 times its own weight, so unless you’re planning to add 600g of flour, just the one sachet will be fine.
      Happy baking! M-A 😀

  30. […] found the recipe a on Time To Cook Online’s blog. Having sources the ingredients, it was a journey into the unknown for me. I left the dough to […]

  31. […] it looked much better by the end of it. I also got a bit of baking in – a second attempt at Tiger Bread, this turned out really well and tasted AMAZING. I made it by hand rather than in the Breadmaker […]

  32. […] More often than not, we get potatoes and a generous donation of bread in various forms (tiger bread, aka giraffe bread is quite popular with clients), but what gets delivered beyond the carbs is […]

  33. Joyce says:

    Only just found this but been wondering how to make tiger bread for ages. My son loves it! I’m a regular maker of bread (I do it in my food mixer) but have never heard of “toasted sesame oil”. Is that a particular form of sesame oil or do I do something to the oil after I have bought it?

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Joyce!

      Sesame oil is sold ‘plain’ and toasted – actually, the most regular form of it (here in the UK supermarkets) seems to be the toasted variety. It’s either with the rest of the flavoured oils, or in the Asian foodstuffs section.
      Hope this helps! M-A 😀

      • Joyce says:

        That is hugely helpful. Thank you so much.
        Have a great Christmas.
        Now I’ve found you blog I shall be returning on a regular basis. My daughter and I only came late to Bake Off and are only watching series 2 now on Really so we don’t know yet if you won. Looks to us as though any of the last four might.

  34. […] recently saw a blog post over on Mary Anne’s blog about Tiger Bread. I absolutely love Tiger Bread from the supermarket but had never really given […]

  35. justjoel59 says:

    I tried to make a bread very similar to this. I was hoping for a soft bread with that lovely crackly “giraffe skin” on top. I don’t know if my dough was too dry or what, but it was a large river stone with a lovely, crackly giraffe skin on top! I need to try this again!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers justjoel59!
      Sounds like not enough liquid in your dough, and/or dud yeast.
      If you try again, use half milk, half water – it softens the crumb beautifully.
      And I always use 3/4 liquid to flour, so to 500g of flour I would add about 375-400g/ml liquid.
      Hope this helps!
      M-A 😀

  36. Emma Cook says:

    Great recipe 😛 Didn’t Sainsburys officially change the name in their stores to Giraffe Bread after a little girl wrote in saying it didn’t look like a tiger XD

  37. Becky Scott says:

    Should the sugar for the paste be tsp not tbs?

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Becky!
      Thanks for the question.
      It is actually tbs. The sesame oil can sometimes be a bit bitter, and the sweetness helps counteract that.
      Have fun!
      MAB 😀

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