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Homemade Tiger Bread

My Homemade Tiger Bread is pillowy soft and fluffy with a delicious crusty tiger topping. Perfect for making a hearty sandwich or why not try a slice simply buttered and spread with jam ? Tiger Bread Rolls are great alongside any soup or simply filled with pulled pork or your favourite burger.

Tiger Bread is super easy to make. I’ve used my Farmhouse Loaf recipe to make the dough and then added the topping halfway through proving time.

Once you’ve tried this recipe, with its savoury and slightly sweet topping, you’ll be baking Tiger Bread again and again.

A willow basket filled with homemade bread.

Your bread can be done and dusted in about 3 hours including the dough rising and baking time. This Tiger Bread recipe makes one large loaf or nine large or twelve standard crusty Tiger Bread Rolls.

What is Tiger Bread ?

Tiger Bread is also known as Dutch Crunch Bread and Giraffe Bread. It originated in the 1970s in the Netherlands where Tiger Bread is known as tijgerbrood or Tiger Rolls as tijgerbol.
It’s a basic bloomer with a tiger topping made from rice paste which gives a distinctive mottled crust.

A willow basket filled with crusty bread and rolls.


People have asked, “What is the difference between tiger bread and giraffe bread ?” Well, they are in fact the very same thing.

In 2011 British supermarket ‘Sainsbury’s’ renamed their Tiger Bread as Giraffe Bread. This was in response to a 3 year old girl remarking the crust looked more like a giraffe.

Today, Sainsbury’s shelves display loaves of Giraffe Bread with the word Tiger in brackets on the label.

What equipment do I need ?

  • I use my KitchenAid stand mixer to knead the dough. Simply add the ingredients and mix on a low speed. But don’t worry if you haven’t got a stand mixer. All you need is a bit of elbow grease and you can easily knead by hand.
  • A baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  • A shallow baking tin containing boiling water in the bottom of the oven. This creates the beautiful crispy crust.

What ingredients do I need ?

Bread Dough Ingredients

You only need 6 ingredients to make the bread dough.

Water, flour, butter, salt, yeast and sugar in various containers on a work surface.
  • Bread Flour – You will need a high gluten content flour, generally labelled as Bread Flour or Strong White Flour.
  • I like to use Marriage’s Very Strong White Bread Flour, which is 100 % Canadian wheat. This flour has the advantage of being high in protein and so produces more gluten. As a result, the dough holds together well but is also very elastic. This means it is perfect for making Tiger Bread and Tiger Bread Rolls.
  • Yeast – I’ve used instant yeast in the recipe, often called fast action or quick yeast. This yeast has the advantage that you can add it directly to your flour.
  • My favourite is Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast, which comes in a handy vacuum sealed 125g packet. Once opened, Dove’s Farm Yeast keeps for up to two months if you store it in a cool dry place. I buy Dove’s Farm yeast from Amazon and the Use Before date has always been two years away.
  • Sugar – you need a small amount of white sugar. Adding sugar speeds up the action of the yeast, meaning your dough will be ready to use within hours. This contrasts massively with the long proving time needed for French bread or sourdough.
  • Salt – I like to use sea salt as it contains less sodium than regular salt but any fine salt will work in the recipe.Water – use lukewarm water. Too high a temperature will kill your yeast. Just like us, yeast works best at around 37°C / 98°F. You should be able to comfortably dip your finger into your water. Cold water will work but it will take longer for the bread to rise.
A digital thermometer measuring the water temperature at 38.5 C.

Tiger Bread Topping Ingredients

Yeast, sesame oil, rice flour, water, salt and sugar on a work surface.
  • Rice Flour – rice flour is gluten free which is essential for the distinctive cracked crust.
  • Sugar
  • Sesame oil – adds to the golden colour of the crust and gives a lovely toasted nutty taste. You can substitute with vegetable oil if you need to avoid sesame oil.
  • Yeast – I used instant yeast.
  • Salt – just a pinch for flavour.
  • Water – just enough to make a thick paste.

How To Make Homemade Tiger Bread

A willow basket filled with bread.

Make your dough

Four step process showing dough ingredients in mixing bowl, water being added, half mixed and lastly finished dough.
  • All you have to do is mix the ingredients for 10 minutes using a stand mixer. I use my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer set on a slow speed and mix for 10 minutes. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, check it using the window pane test.

The windowpane test is a consistently reliable way to check your dough is ready. Pinch off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it apart, pulling and rotating the dough into a thin membrane, or window pane, which is translucent when you hold it up to the light.

  • Equally, the dough can be hand mixed together in a bowl and then kneaded on a counter top. You will get the same results, all you need is a bit of elbow grease.
  • Cover your dough and leave it to rise for about one and half hours in a warm place. If it’s a cold day, this may take up to 2 hours.
First bowl shows freshly kneaded bread and second bowl shows risen dough.

Shape your dough

  • Transfer your dough onto a lightly oiled work surface. Use oil not flour as you want your bread to be nice and soft. Adding flour makes a drier loaf.
  • Shape your loaf by gently working your dough into a rectangle.
  • Roll up your dough tightly from the short side. If you roll up loosely you will end up with big air pockets in your bread.
A four step process of flattening dough, folding and rolling into a bloomer.
  • Pinch the seams together and turn the loaf over so you have the long seam on the bottom.
  • Tuck under the ends of the loaf quite firmly to form the bloomer shape.
  • Place on a lined baking tray.
Finished shaped loaf topside view and upside down to reveal pinched seam on the bottom of the loaf.
  • Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 25 minutes until your topping is ready.
  • Place a shallow baking tin in the bottom of your oven and preheat your oven to 230°C.

Make your Tiger Topping

Once you’ve shaped your dough, mix all the Tiger Topping ingredients together to form a paste.
Cover and leave for 20 minutes.

Four step process showing sesame oil being added to a bowl, whisked tiger topping, covered topping and lastly, risen topping.


Uncover your shaped bloomer and gently cover with Tiger Topping, taking care not to deflate the half risen dough. I’ve painted the paste on and I’ve spread it on with my fingers. For me, using my fingers was much easier but either way has the same effect.
Leave uncovered for a further 20 minutes proving time.

Spreading tiger topping on bloomer loaf.

How to bake your Tiger Bread

  • Place your tiger bread in the oven and quickly pour a cup of boiling water into the pre-heated baking tin. Gently close the oven door. The boiling water in the hot tin creates a nice steamy oven which creates a lovely golden crispy crust.
  • Don’t be tempted to add too much water. One cupful is enough to create steam at the beginning of baking which is all you need. Too much steam throughout the bake and you can end up with a thick tough crust.
Tiger Bread Loaf in oven baking.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 230°C before turning down to 200°C for a further 30 minutes.
  • Once baked, tip your loaf onto a cooling rack. Tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked, it should sound hollow.
A loaf of Dutch Crunch Bread on a cooling rack.

How To Make Tiger Bread Rolls

  • Divide your risen dough into 120 gram portions to give 9 balls or 90 gram portions to give 12 balls. I prefer to weigh the portions to make sure they all get an even bake. You can of course simply divide the dough by eye.
  • Shape portions into balls before using a cupped hand to roll each ball in a circular motion on an oiled work surface.
  • Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 25 minutes.
Coating half risen rolls with rice paste.
  • After 20 minutes of your rolls proving, your tiger topping should be ready. Spread your tiger topping over each roll taking care not to deflate the half risen dough.
  • Leave to rise uncovered until doubled from their original roll size.
Tiger Bread Rolls in the oven with hot water being poured into a tray.
  • Place your tiger bread rolls in the oven and quickly pour a cup of boiling water into the pre-heated baking tin.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 230°C before turning down to 200°C for a further 15 minutes.
  • Once baked, place your rolls onto a cooling rack. Tap the base of a tiger bread roll to check it’s cooked – it should sound hollow.
Tiger bread rolls on baking parchment on a cooling rack.

Tiger Bread Recipe FAQs

What is the crust on tiger bread made of ?

The crackly topping is made with a gluten free rice paste. This means the rice paste doesn’t stretch as the bread dough expands, resulting in a tiger patterned golden crackly crust.

Can you substitute rice flour in a recipe ?

To make Tiger Bread topping without rice flour, use cornflour or corn starch instead.

How do you get a crusty top on bread ?

Add boiling water to a shallow baking tin in the bottom of the oven when you bake your bread.
This creates a nice steamy oven which leads to a brown crispy crust from starches forming a gel. As the bread bakes, this gel layer turns brittle and glossy creating a perfect crusty Tiger Bread Topping.

How Long Will It Keep ?

A willow basket filled with homemade tiger bread and tiger rolls.

Like most homemade bread, fresh is best but Homemade Tiger Bread and Tiger Rolls will keep for a couple of days.

Can I Freeze It ?

Yes, Homemade Tiger Bread and Rolls freeze well. Make sure your loaf or rolls are fully cooled and place in a freezer bag before freezing for up to three months. Tiger Bread can also be sliced and then frozen so you can take out slices as you need them and avoid waste.

To defrost, remove your bread from the freezer a couple of hours before you need it and defrost at room temperature.

You can refresh your bread and serve it warm – simply bake for 10 minutes at 160°C / 320°F Fan.

Serving suggestions

  • Tiger Bread makes a tasty bread for you favourite sandwich filling.
  • So good served simply with butter and homemade strawberry jam.
  • Tiger Bread and rolls make a perfect partner for any soup.
  • Tiger Bread Rolls make delicious burger buns and are scrumptious filled with pulled pork.
A crusty loaf cut with a slice of bread buttered with strawberry jam.

More Bread Recipes for you to try

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A willow basket filled with homemade tiger bread and tiger rolls and a loaf sliced with jam and butter..
A willow basket filled with homemade bread.

Homemade Tiger Bread And Tiger Bread Rolls

My Homemade Tiger Bread is pillowy soft and fluffy with a delicious crusty tiger topping. Perfect for making a hearty sandwich or why not try a slice simply buttered and spread with jam ? Tiger Bread Rolls are great alongside any soup or simply filled with pulled pork or your favourite burger.
5 from 53 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: bread, Breakfast, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: British, Dutch
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Proving time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Sarah James
slices

Equipment

  • stand mixer – I use my KitchenAid or knead by hand.
  • Mixing Bowl
  • large lined baking sheet
  • shallow baking tin

Ingredients

Bread Dough

  • 600 g very strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt / kosher salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp instant yeast – I use Dove’s Farm
  • 50 g softened butter
  • 350 ml tepid water

Tiger Bread Topping

  • 50 g rice flour
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 45 ml water

Instructions

Make Tiger Bread dough

  • Combine all the dough ingredients. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook fitted or by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a stand mixer, mix on slow speed number 1 for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Then continue on speed number 2 for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • If mixing by hand, stir the ingredients together to form a ball and then knead for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Check your dough is sufficiently smooth and elastic to pass the windowpane test.
  • Place your dough in a large greased mixing bowl and cover.
  • Leave to rest in a warm place for at least one and a half hours or until doubled in size.

Shape Tiger Bread Dough

  • Transfer the dough to an oiled work surface.
  • Shape your loaf by gently working your dough into a rectangle.
  • Tightly roll up your dough from the short side.
  • Pinch the seams together and turn the loaf over so you have the long seam on the bottom.
  • Tuck under the ends of the loaf quite firmly to form the bloomer shape.
  • Place loaf on a lined baking sheet.
  • Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes before applying topping.

Shape Tiger Bread Rolls

  • Divide your risen dough into 120 gram portions to give 9 balls or 90 gram portions to give 12 balls.
  • Shape portions into balls.
  • Use a cupped hand to roll each ball in a circular motion on an oiled work surface.
  • Place the rolls on a large lined baking sheet.
  • Cover and leave to rise in a warm place, initially for about 20 minutes, before applying topping.

Make and Apply Tiger Topping

  • Preheat oven to 230°C and place a shallow baking tin in the bottom of the oven.
  • Mix all the topping ingredients together to form a paste.
  • Cover and leave for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover your shaped bloomer or rolls and gently cover with tiger topping. Take care not to deflate the half risen dough. Spread tiger topping paste by hand or with a pastry brush.
  • Leave loaf or rolls uncovered in a warm place for a further 25 minutes of proving.

Baking Instructions

  • Place your bread in the oven before quickly pouring a cup of boiling water into the pre-heated baking tin. Gently close the oven door.
  • Bake loaf or rolls for 10 minutes at 230°C /210°C.
  • Turn your oven down to 200°C / 180°C fan and continue baking.
  • Tiger Bread Loaf: a further 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Tiger Rolls: a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Tip your loaf or rolls onto a cooling rack. Tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked – it should sound hollow.

Notes

  • Makes a large loaf (12 to 16 slices) or 9 large / 12 standard tiger rolls.
  • Like most homemade bread, fresh is best but Tiger Bread will keep for a couple of days.
  • Homemade Tiger Bread freezes well. Make sure your bread is fully cooled and place in a freezer bag before freezing for up to three months. Tiger Bread Loaf can also be sliced and then frozen so you can defrost slices as you need them.
  • To defrost, remove your bread from the freezer a couple of hours before you need it.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Serving: 1slice | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Vitamin C: 0.004mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Recipe Rating




Dana

Sunday 31st of July 2022

I can't get over how pretty this bread turns out! And side from that, it's so fluffy and delicious!

Sarah James

Sunday 31st of July 2022

Thanks for the lovely feedback Dana, it’s always a pleasure to hear from readers. I’m so pleased your rolls were so soft and they do look pretty when they're baked.

Gina

Saturday 30th of July 2022

These tiger bread rolls were perfect for my grilled hamburgers tonight. I love how fresh and easy they are to make.

Sarah James

Sunday 31st of July 2022

That’s great to hear Gina and thanks for taking time to comment, it’s much appreciated.

Claudia

Saturday 30th of July 2022

Very tasty bread and easy to follow recipe everyone loved this

Sarah James

Sunday 31st of July 2022

HelloClaudia, it’s always great to hear feedback from readers. Really pleased my Tiger Bread went down so well for you and your family. Thanks for taking time to comment.

Tara

Saturday 30th of July 2022

This bread looks absolutely fantastic! Such a wonderful combination of textures and I love how easily it comes together.

Ieva

Saturday 30th of July 2022

Wow, one of the best breads that came out of my oven! So easy to make, and the topping worked very well, creating a wonderful pattern! Really fluffy and tasty too! Brilliant recipe!

Sarah James

Sunday 31st of July 2022

Hi Leva, thank you for such a kind comment, it’s made my day. Thanks for popping by, it’s much appreciated.