Dutch Crunch Bread

First, let us introduce ourselves. We are Sara and Erica from Baking JDs. During our first year of law school, we discovered Daring Bakers and decided that monthly baking was just the thing to get us to take a break from our studies and do something that we both already loved. Since we graduated in May 2010, we’ve continued the tradition. As busy attorneys, it hasn’t gotten any easier to find the time, but it’s always worth it.

Both of us live in San Francisco, which is home to all kinds of culinary traditions. Of course, sourdough bread is one of the first things that springs to people’s minds. For our challenge, however, we’ve decided to make Dutch Crunch bread.

Download printable file HERE

Sara grew up in the Bay Area, but was dismayed when she moved away for college that Dutch Crunch bread is not usually available outside of Northern California. For many folks from the Bay Area, a sandwich just isn’t complete without Dutch Crunch bread.

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. It’s a common option at sandwich shops all over the Bay Area and is often one of the first breads to run out.

Learn more about the history of Dutch Crunch bread, particularly in the Bay Area, here, here, and here.

Therefore, the heart of this challenge is the topping. While we’ve provided a few bread recipes that worked great for us, 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. We’d recommend a nice, soft sandwich-appropriate roll with not too much crust, so the topping can really stand out. Once you have your final loaves, you’re required to use your bread to construct a sandwich of your choice!

Dutch Crunch Bread

Our choice? Anything involving avocado, of course! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Recipe Source: The recipe for the Dutch Crunch topping came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. The recipes for the breads we’ve suggested came from The Bread Bible and an adaptation of a recipe found on (

Blog-checking lines: Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

Posting Date: March 27, 2012

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., 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.

Here are some helpful links, but we encourage you to rely on whatever method you find easiest for making rice flour, if you decide to make it yourself.

Mandatory Items: You must make the Dutch Crunch topping and use it on your choice of bread or roll. You must use your finished bread to construct a sandwich of your choice – the more creative the better!

Variations allowed: You may use any bread or roll recipe. We have provided suggestions but if you use your own recipe we recommend opting for a soft roll or bread. You may buy rice flour or make your own. While you must make a sandwich, the variety is up to you!

Preparation time: Dutch Crunch Topping: 15 minutes active time, 15 minutes passive time; Soft White Roll: 20 minutes active time, 2 hours passive time; Brown Rice Bread: less than 1 hour active time; 2-3 hours passive time.

Equipment required:
Small bowl
2 large bowls, or a large bowl and a stand-mixer bowl
Stand mixer with paddle (or whisk) and dough-hook attachments (optional)
Wooden and regular spoon(s)
Knife or dough cutter/scraper (optional, depending on your recipe)
Bread pan(s) or baking tray(s)
Plastic wrap or something else to cover the dough while it rises

Dutch Crunch Topping

Servings: 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. Note, however, that you should not prepare the topping until the bread you’ve selected to bake is almost finished rising (~15 minutes from baking).


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)


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. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. 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. 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.
3.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.
4.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.

Soft White Roll

Servings: Six sandwich rolls

This recipe approximates the quintessential white sandwich roll found throughout the Bay Area. The recipe is simple, quick, and addictive.


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) (No need to use a thermometer – 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


1.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).
2.Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together. (The photo to below is with the first 2 cups of flour added).

Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour

3.Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).


4.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
5.Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size (see photo comparison).

Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap

6.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 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). 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).
7.Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
8.Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
9.Once you’ve applied the topping, 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.

Our finished products: Note the roll in the foreground on the left. This is what happens if you don’t put enough topping on the bread – no cracking! So be sure to load on the topping.

Brown Rice Bread

Servings: Two 9×5 inch (23cmx13cm) loaves

If you’re up for more of a challenge, this recipe creates an interesting bread that incorporates cooked brown rice—something that was new to us. The resulting loaf has, as Hensperger describes, a “nubbly” texture and a very light almost-sweetness to it. Great for toasting.


1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115ºF) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar or honey (we used sugar, which worked great)
1 cup (240 ml) warm buttermilk (105-115 ºF) (41-46°C)
½ cup (120 ml) honey
¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (20 gm/⅔ oz) salt
2 cups (480 ml) (200 gm/7 oz) cooked and cooled short-grain brown rice
5½ -6 cups (1440 ml) (840 gm/30 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour


1.Pour the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over surface. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2.In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, honey, oil, and salt. Add the rice and beat until smooth.

Add the rice and beat until smooth

3.Add the yeast mixture and 2 cups flour. Beat hard until smooth for 3 minutes.
4.Add the flour, ½ cup at a time, until a soft, bulky dough that just clears the side of the bowl is formed.
5.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes, dusting with flour 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed to prevent sticking. This dough will be slightly sticky. (If kneading by machine, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand).
6.Place the dough in a greased deep bowl. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Place the dough in a greased deep bowl

7.Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13 cm) loaf pans. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Form the portions into loaves. Let rest 15 minutes.
8.Coat the top of each loaf with the topping as described above, including letting them stand, uncovered, 20 minutes, until dough rises level with the tops of the pans.

Coat the top of each loaf

9.Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5. Place the pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Place the pans on a rack

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

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.

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