Tiger bread is easily recognized for its very distinctive and unique crust.
Since its invention in Holland in the seventies, tijgerbrood, or tiger bread, has become popular in many countries around the world.
With a distinctive design baked into the top, this bread has a very recognizable look to it, not to mention unique flavor.
Sainsbury’s supermarket in the UK changed the name to giraffe bread after a petition was circulated.
People felt that the new name reflected more what the bread actually looked like, which mimics spots more than lines.
The uneven spots definitely have a giraffe look to them, making it a much more apt name.
I first discovered this bread however when I visited my friends who live in The Hague in Holland.
I love any new baking challenge so I got to work trying to recreate, and perfect my own Tiger Bread recipe.
What is Tiger Bread?
A plain bloomer type loaf, tiger bread has an offbeat crust that has an unusual design.
The crust topping is made of sesame oil, yeast, rice flour, as well as some other ingredients.
Having a toasted slice with butter is lovely, and when added to a glass of sauvignon blanc in the late afternoon, is delightful.
But then a nice glass of wine can add so much to the food we are eating!
Right before it’s baked, the topping is spread on the bread.
It is the baked topping that gives it the unusual look, and crunchy outer crust it is famous for.
The inside of the tiger bread loaf is what you would expect from a bloomer loaf, soft and squidgy.
Very popular in The Netherlands, the yeasty flavor topping contributes to making this bread one of a kind.
I assume that part of the inspiration for this bread came from the colonies in the East.
The Netherlands were a huge power at one time, and had outposts all over the world.
The sesame oil is the giveaway to me, however I may be wrong.
Mostly made commercially, and given the nickname Dutch crunch, it is an export that many people are familiar with.
This bread also comes in rolls known as tijger bolletjes (tiger bread rolls) in Dutch.
Tiger bread is very popular in Holland, and so is bread in general.
However, a lot of the most popular breads in The Netherlands are sweet varieties, some filled with currents, others raisins.
Some other breads are made with spices to enhance a popular flavor.
How to Make Tiger Bread
Just like making a simple white bread loaf, the recipe is very easy to make.
Starting with all purpose flour, add yeast salt and a bit of sugar.
Followed by a little bit of butter and water, then mixed until a dough emerges.
Set the dough aside in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm part of the kitchen to rise.
Once the dough is double in size punch it down, then shape your loaf.
Brush the top of the loaf with the topping and place in a proofer or cover with a damp towel.
Once the loaf has risen, bake in the oven for 20 minutes to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow the bread to cool, and then slice for best results.
It is a great toasting, or frying bread, providing you with that perfect crunch.
How to Get the Perfect Crust
Crust on a loaf of bread is so important, having a satisfying crunch just does something for the soul.
The trick for this mottled crust is the topping that is added before cooking.
Once the dough is made, and has been allowed to rise until doubled in size in a large mixing bowl, it is rolled out on a lightly floured surface.
The next step is to shape the smooth and elastic dough into a loaf shape on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
This is not a loaf that is traditionally baked in a loaf tin, but made free hand.
Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rise again.
Spread the topping on the loaf or bread roll, which can be done using a palette knife, or fingers.
The most important thing is to be gentle as much as possible so as not to deflate your loaf.
Or you can put the topping on before the loaf rises.
Right before putting your loaf in the oven spray the top with water for a little extra hydration.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes on the baking tray until the top is brown, and when thumped on the bottom, it will sound hollow.
As you cool the loaf on a wire rack you will notice the unique top crust and maybe hear a little crackling as the loaf approaches room temperature.
Don’t waste any time cutting into it as soon as it cools for a treat of treats.
Can Tiger Bread Be Frozen?
Most bread freezes well, and this type of bread freezes really well.
Just pre-slice it and place your ideal portion in a small freezer bag.
Push out all the air to prevent freezer burn.
It should last up to at least six months if wrapped properly.
Tips for Making
- Allow the dough to rise in a warm space to get the best rise out of it.
- Be gentle putting the topping on the loaf before you put it in the oven. Too much pressure and you can deflate the dough.
- If the loaf is cooked but the top is not brown, you can always brown it under the broiler in your oven.
Tiger Bread Recipe
For the Bread
For the Bread
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add the butter and water.
- Form into a dough (add more flour or water as is necessary to form dough).
- Knead for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
- Preheat oven to 355ºF (180ºC).
- Punch down the dough, roll out onto a floured surface and shape into a long loaf shape, place on a tray lined with parchment paper.
For the Topping
- Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.
- Once loaf has proofed, gently spread the topping on the dough. (Be very careful not to push too hard and deflate your loaf).
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is knocked on.
- Allow loaf to cool on a cooling rack.