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What is Tiger Bread?
Originally called tijgerbrood or tijgerbol from its native Netherlands, tiger bread is the descriptive name given to a unique loaf with a crispy texture and mottled appearance. The cracked skin is achieved by applying rice paste to the pan or rubbing on the surface before baking. The lack of gluten in the rice paste creates the crackled pattern on the bread's signature skin.
While traditional tiger bread is usually in a white bread loaf or a bread roll, the technique can be applied to any bread type and shape.
Depending on the region where the bread is baked, tiger bread is also known as giraffe bread, Dutch Crunch, and Marco Polo bread.
The rest of this article will tell you everything you want to know about tiger bread, its history, its ingredients, and recipes.
The History of Tiger Bread
While the first tiger bread loaves seem to have been baked in the Netherlands, there is some debate over whether the recipe itself was developed in Indonesia. Historians credit Dutch colonization of Indonesia in the 1600s with the introduction of rice to the Netherlands.
Dutch colonizers set up colonies all throughout Asia, including India, Malaysia, and Japan as well as Indonesia. It is through this colonization where Dutch bakers must have recognized rice's versatility and began adding this previously unknown ingredient into traditional European recipes.
There is another theory regarding how the technique of spreading rice paste on top of bread loaves came to be. While wheat and rice are both grown in Asia, the two crops thrive in drastically different climates. Northern China, where the air is thinner and humidity is low, is the ideal place for wheat while hot, rainy, and humid South China is best for cultivating rice.
Some historians believe that tiger bread originated in Asia when wheat was in scarce supply and rice was an available substitute.
The technique of spreading rice paste on wheat bread has existed in Asia for centuries. Examples are a Japanese bread called Melon Pan, which is wheat-based with a starchy crust, as well as the Bo Luo Bao (also known as the Chinese pineapple bun) which has a similar, sweet-tasting crust.
To account for the Dutch name of the bread, a few historians believe that tiger bread was being sold in the Netherlands in the early 1900s. However, records negate this theory, since it's highly unlikely that rice was readily available to the average Dutch baker in the early half of the 20th century.
Tiger bread made its way to the United States after World War II, when many colonial Dutch and Indonesian citizens emigrated to the U.S, especially San Francisco. They brought the recipes with them, and from there, tiger bread entered the United States.
Ingredients in Tiger Bread
Traditional tiger bread includes the following ingredients:
- Wheat flour
- Rice flour
- Sesame oil
Tiger Bread Nutritional Information
While standard white tiger bread is high in carbs, it is low in fat and contains almost no saturated fat. For those who are more health-conscious, tiger bread can easily be made using whole wheat flour.
One slice of tiger bread (28 grams) typically has the following nutritional values:
- Calories: 80
- Fat: 2.5 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.5 grams
- Trans fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 140 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 13 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
How to Make Tiger Bread
Mix wheat flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Slowly pour in the water. Knead until elastic, roughly 8 - 10 minutes, then form into a ball. Oil a bowl and place bread ball in the bowl. Cover. Leave bowl in warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
Briefly knead risen dough and form into an oval shape. Place dough in a well-oiled pan. Cover. Place dough in warm place until doubled in size again.
To make the rice paste, whisk yeast, rice flour, sugar, sesame oil, salt, and warm water in a small bowl. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes before spreading the paste on top of the loaf.
Bake for 35 minutes. Skin should be hard and crispy with signature tiger bread crackles. To confirm if bread is done baking, tap it. If it sounds hollow, it is done.
Let cool completely before cutting.
Tiger Bread Recipes
As far as freshly baked tiger bread goes, you can never go wrong with butter and jam. However, leftover tiger bread has plenty of uses, such as:
- Bread pudding
- French toast bites
Tiger Bread FAQs
What is tiger bread?
Tiger bread is a type of bread that originates from the Netherlands. It is characterized by its mottled crust, which is caused by the dough being brushed with oil before baking.
Where does tiger bread come from?
Tiger bread comes from the Netherlands. It gets its name from the tiger-like pattern on its crust, which is caused by the dough being brushed with oil before baking.
How is tiger bread made?
Tiger bread is made by brushing the dough with oil before baking, which creates the characteristic mottled crust.
What does tiger bread taste like?
Tiger bread has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
How do you eat tiger bread?
There are many ways to enjoy tiger bread! It can be eaten plain, or with butter, cheese, or jam. It also makes a great base for sandwiches and toasties.
Is tiger bread healthy?
Tiger bread is made from wheat flour, so it contains some nutrients and fiber. However, it also contains oil and sugar, so it should be eaten in moderation.
What are the ingredients of tiger bread?
The ingredients in tiger bread are wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, and oil.
Is tiger bread vegan?
Yes, tiger bread is vegan as it does not contain any animal products.
Is tiger bread gluten-free?
No, tiger bread is not gluten-free as it contains wheat flour.
What is the history of tiger bread?
Tiger bread has its origins in the Netherlands. It gets its name from the tiger-like pattern on its crust, which is caused by the dough being brushed with oil before baking.
How did tiger bread get its name?
Tiger bread gets its name from the tiger-like pattern on its crust, which is caused by the dough being brushed with oil before baking.
Is tiger bread Dutch?
Yes, tiger bread is Dutch in origin.
Is tiger bread the same as giraffe bread?
Yes, tiger bread and giraffe bread are the same thing. They are both types of bread that originate from the Netherlands.
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