Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daring Bakers: Dutch Crunch Bread

Until this month, I had never heard of Dutch Crunch Bread.  Living in small-town Southern Illinois, that’s not particularly surprising.  If not for the Daring Bakers’ Challenge, I’m doubt I ever would have heard of it.  Dutch Crunch is also known as tiger bread or giraffe bread because of the pattern of the crust after baking.  The “crunch” is actually a topping applied to the bread (any bread) and not the bread itself. 

Most of the bread I make is sourdough.  I considered other types of bread for this challenge as I wasn’t sure if sourdough would be a good match for the topping, but compromised by making a less tangy sourdough with a softer crust. 

Making sourdough bread has nearly become second nature to me.  Since the Tea & Cookies sourdough challenge in February, I’ve made sourdough bread at least once a week, sometimes twice if I’m giving bread to friends.  The recipe I use makes two loaves of bread.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put this crunch topping on all of the bread.  What if I didn’t like it?  Why waste perfectly good bread if I didn’t like the "crunch"?

the Dutch Crunch topping
Although I’d only intended to make half of the topping recipe, I mistakenly measured the rice flour out for the full amount.  I chose to adjust all of the other ingredients to the full amount since it would be quicker than starting over.  Then I started to wonder if my active dry yeast was still good as I've forgotten how long I've had it.  (My sourdough bread doesn't use yeast, and I ordinarily use instant when I need it.) 

I'd say the yeast is still good.
Mixing up the topping didn’t do anything to reassure me that I would like it.  It smelled rather badly in my opinion – sweaty gym socks came to mind.  All I could think was, “please, please, please don’t let it taste like it smells!” and “maybe baking gets rid of the smell.”  But at least the yeast was still active. 

one topped, one waiting
The next step was to spread the smelly topping over the two small sourdough boules I was "sacrificing" for the cause.  The instructions indicated to err on the side of too much topping versus too little.  I spooned and spread the topping until I just couldn't stand to add any more. 

Once the bread was out of the oven and slightly cooled, the first thing I did was smell the crust.  While not as strong, it still smelled a little bit like sweaty gym socks to me.  I wasn’t looking forward to the second half of the challenge:  creating a sandwich using the bread. 
it is rather attractive bread
Tug had grilled chicken breasts for dinner the night before.  They were so large that neither of us finished them, so grilled chicken was part of my sandwich.  We also had a significant quantity of lettuce from our hydroponic garden that needed to be used.  Then I remembered some goat cheese I had bought and not opened yet.  And since I’m a big fan of goat cheese with citrus, my sandwich also included some of the preserved lemons I made earlier this month.  Tug had no desire to try my sandwich and made his own chicken sandwich.  I’ll admit, my sandwich isn’t for everyone.

It looks like a Dagwood, but I smashed it down to size.
And in all honesty, Dutch Crunch Bread really isn’t for me.  Eating it as part of my sandwich was fine, but at one point I pulled off a small piece of the “crunch” and ate it on its own.  It does taste like I think it smells!


  1. Oh! What an interesting smell! I never would have guessed that based on the appearance of the bread. It looks like it turned out beautifully despite the taste!

    1. Apparently, it's just me. The other Daring Bakers seemed to love it, as did my husband who said he didn't smell anything like what I was describing. I may try it out on a few others and see what the consensus is!

  2. So interesting! While the smell of the topping while rising isn't my favorite smell, I found it totally changed during the cooking to a delicious sweet aroma. Your results are beautiful though! Thanks for joining us this month.


    1. Sara, I totally enjoyed learning this technique! And since my husband liked it so much, I'm sure I'll make it again for him. It's such beautiful bread that I really want to like it myself as well! I'm considering it for the menu for the bakery business I'm starting next year as well since it's something most people in our area won't be familiar with. Thanks for the challenge!

  3. I agree with the smell of the topping, but once it was in the evening, it smelled kinda sweet. And I added in a little sesame oil, which kinda masked the yeasty smell. Your rolls crackled well.

    1. I love the idea of the sesame oil, Namratha! I may have to incorporate that for my next effort. Thanks for your comment!


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