“Bread is the basic sustenance of every culture in the world, and I’m trying to connect with that primal need that we all share. The act of creating and baking bread can be a very meditative act. It centers your spirit in the present moment,” said Arielle, (Welcome to Moonberry Lake).
Danish Crunch Bread
(Recipe discovered at www.daringbakerduluth.blogspot.com)
Maybe you’ve heard of this stunningly beautiful bread before? Dutch Crunch is a basic yeast bread that is glazed with a rice flour mixture before baking. I made the rolls and round loaf that you see above.
I glazed them with my rice flour “frosting” to which I had added toasted sesame oil and Marmite (for flavor and color)…
And 30 minutes later, this is what came out of my oven! Isn’t it a beauty? The recipe is simple, and the bread is perfect! I know that I will use this recipe for years to come.
Dutch Crunch Bread makes 2 large round loaves or 12 sandwich rolls
The recipe for the Dutch Crunch topping came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. The recipe for the bread below came from The Bread Bible and an adaptation of a recipe found on bakingbites.com.
The recipe below is based on my experience.
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons oil (plus additional oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1 tablespoon salt
Up to 8 cups bread flour (or all purpose is ok too)
1. In a 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).
2. Add in oil, salt and 4 cups of flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix until the dough comes together.
3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the dry flour is picked up from the bottom and sides. If it puddles and sticks all over the sides once the flour is picked up, continue adding flour in increments. At this point, I had added only 2 cups of flour after the original 4.
4. Turn out onto a generously floured surface and knead for several minutes. As you knead, sprinkle flour over the dough and knead it into the dough. Add flour to the counter as the sticky dough picks it up. As soon as the dough isn’t sticking to the counter or your hands and it’s smooth and springy, stop kneading. I used an additional 1 cup of flour for this step.
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into desired portions. 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). You won’t be needing a bread pan. See below for tips on shaping round loaves and rolls.
7. Cover with a clean towel and let rise while you prepare the topping.
8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described below.
9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated 375ºF oven for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Rotate pans half way through if you need to bake them on the top and bottom racks. Increase browning by baking closer to the top of the oven. Let cool on a wire rack before eating.
Dutch Crunch (Tiger Bread) Topping for 2 large loaves or 12 rolls (you won’t use it all)
Can be used on any kneaded yeast bread dough.
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour-increase by 1 cup or more for homemade rice flour)
Several drop of very toasty sesame oil (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Marmite (optional)
1. 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. Mine was the consistency of a thin honey. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. Spoon the topping onto the top of the dough and guide it around as it drips over the sides. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly. Do not let too much topping pool up at the bottom of your dough, as it will create a hard dark foot and too much crunch on the bottom of your bread.
3. Place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.
To create a nice round loaf or sandwich roll: With your dough on a lightly floured counter, cup your hands on the sides of the dough. Gently pull the dough underneath itself while rotating the dough clockwise. You will see the top of the loaf stretch smooth and it will create a nice rounded shape as you stretch and rotate. You don’t want to tear the top and you don’t want the folds to show on the sides. Keep any little folds under the loaf or roll, and stop pulling when the loaf has the height that you want and is round, smooth and tight.
Good luck with your own Dutch Crunch experience! It’s a beautiful bread that I hope you try and love!