Amateur bread bakers often struggle to create a crisp crust that gives way to a soft crumb beneath, using high-hydration dough and various techniques to infuse steam into the early stages of baking. Recently, I became aware of a shortcut that uses a crunchy topping to achieve something similar. While I have never encountered “Dutch Crunch” or “Tiger Bread” in the wild, the technique is simple. Prepare rolls, buns, or loaves using any recipe (enriched doughs are often used) and apply a thick paste of rice flour, oil, sugar, and yeast. The topping dries before the bread has fully risen in the oven. As it rises, the topping cracks, creating a craggy, crunch surface.
Dutch Crunch Topping
A paste to add a crunch topping to bread
120 g white rice flour
100 mL water
12 g sugar
12 g oil
6 g instant yeast
- After the bread dough has risen, but before baking, mix together the topping ingredients, adjusting with rice flour and water as needed for a thick paste. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Liberally apply the paste to the top of the dough with a spoon or brush and let sit for another 15 minutes.
- Bake as usual (typical recipes with this topping use temperatures of about 400° F for 20 minutes).