Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious bread with a unique crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one-of-a-kind sandwich with our bread but I was too lazy for that and was happy enough to test the hot rolls with a dab of beurre français.
Technically, Dutch Crunch doesn’t refer to the type of bread, but rather the topping that is spread over the bread before baking. In Dutch it’s called Tijgerbrood or “tiger bread” after the tiger-like shell on the bread when it comes out of the oven. The final product has a delightful sweet crunch to it that makes it perfect for a sandwich roll.
Therefore, the heart of this challenge is the topping. While a few bread recipes have been provided, it is up to you what rolls or loaves you want to turn into Dutch Crunch, which should leave room for vegan and gluten-free options. The hosts recommend a nice, soft sandwich-appropriate roll with not too much crust, so the topping can really stand out. I had to try more than once to get it right!
DUTCH CRUNCH TOPPING
2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)
- Combine 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.
- We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around.
- You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
- Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends.
- With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping.
- With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
- When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would.
- The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.
- This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9×5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls.
- If you make only 6 rolls in the first soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.
- We’ve provided this recipe first because it is the mandatory aspect of the challenge.
- However you should not prepare the topping until the bread is almost finished rising (about 15 minutes from baking).
SOFT WHITE ‘TIGER’ ROLLS
1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (It should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch)
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour
- 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.
- Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- 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 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 you can shape them into 2 equal portions as loaves. Use a sharp knife or a dough scraper to divide the dough equally.
- 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. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above.
- Bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating. Servings: Six sandwich rolls.
A Note about Rice Flour
While rice flour is easy to find in San Francisco, we weren’t sure of its availability around the world. If it’s not in your local grocery store, we suggest checking in a specialty shop (somewhere that would sell gluten-free foods) or online (e.g., amazon.com). Be sure not to buy the sweet or glutinous variety, though we’ve found that either white or brown rice flour works just fine. If you are unable to find it, or if you’re just curious about how to make it yourself, it’s not very hard to do at all. There are a number of tutorials online, but the basic idea is to put rice in a spice grinder or something else that can break grains, and grind it until it is a fine flour-like powder. You will likely need to sift the final product through a sieve. We found that home-made rice flour altered that balance of ingredients in the topping recipe, specifically requiring more rice flour to make it the appropriate paste-like consistency. As we note below, you want the topping to form a thick layer on the bread. If it’s too watery or drippy, it will not stay on top of the bread and crack like it’s supposed to.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Store as you would any bread – in a bread box, a paper bag, or loose plastic wrap. Both varieties suggested are best in the first couple of days. The loaves or rolls can also be frozen in plastic – simply toast to reheat.