Dutch crunch, also called tiger bread, will grab customer's attention with its unique, mottled appearance. The versatility of the topping, which can be used on any type of dough, will quickly make it a favorite.
Thirty years ago, I landed my first bakery job. My responsibility was mixing from the early morning until all products were baked and the kitchen was clean. At the end of the shift, I was allowed to select a product to take home. It took me a while to notice it, but once I did, I always chose this strange, mottled, crunchy roll called Dutch crunch. It was ideal for snacking and sandwiches. Due to the frenetic pace of scaling and managing three mixers, I was unable to observe how it was made. The owner/operator took great delight in not telling me how these fantastic rolls were created. I constantly peppered him with all sorts of questions, and he was usually generous with his answers, except for this one incessant, nagging question of mine. It provided a daily source of amusement for him, fueling my curiosity. I guessed, postulated and theorized, but could not figure it out.
After several months, as I became increasingly aware of my environment and assumed more responsibility, I observed him spreading a paste on top of dinner rolls, hoagies and hamburger buns. A few days later, I found the secret formula during clean up; I'm convinced that it was intentionally left on the workbench for me to “discover.” The index card simply read Dutch crunch and listed the ingredients: white rice flour, salt, sugar, yeast, oil and water.
Dutch crunch, also known as tiger bread, remains a curiosity, seldom found beyond the West Coast. It requires no special equipment and is simple to produce. Its appearance is striking, instantly garnering consumer interest. While there is no limit on the size of the product, many retailers find that smaller units sell better due to the greater crunch to crumb ratio. The topping can be applied to any type of dough, although typically it is used with lighter, moderately enriched dough, such as the provided bun dough formula. In the oven, the starches gelatinize, dry out, firm up and crackle, in that sequence. The topping imparts a slightly sweet, yeasty flavor and a crispy, crunchy texture that contrasts nicely with the light and tender products made from the bun dough.
Many of the topping ingredients are familiar, except for perhaps white rice flour. Artisan bakers occasionally use it to dust couche or loading peels due to its slow absorption properties. Pastry chefs may incorporate white rice flour in shortbread to give it a crumbly and crispy texture, and it is a popular ingredient with the gluten-free baking community. It has a sweet, subtle flavor that does not mask or interfere with others. White rice flour contains proteins, but they are not gluten forming. So why add yeast? Purely for flavor. Fermentation can occur, but the carbon dioxide cannot be trapped, unlike dough made with wheat flour. It is thought that the original formula included yeast so the paste would expand at the same rate of the dough.
The consistency of the topping is somewhere between a slurry and a paste. When applied to the surface of formed dough products, it creates a unique finish, and when the topping is applied also affects its final appearance. Applying directly after shaping produces finer, more even crackling and striations. The products shown in the photographs were proofed about 60 percent before the topping was spread on the dough, and proofed for another 20 to 25 minutes. The finish has larger, more irregular crackling and is slightly crispier and crunchier than when the topping is applied before any proofing.
Incorporating Dutch crunch into a bakery's repertoire is an efficient way to expand and/or extend product lines and grow sales. The topping can be applied to any type of dough that is baked between 360°F and 375°F. The novelty, appearance and flavor of the products can create a niche that will stimulate and sustain consumer interest.
Mitch Stamm is an associate instructor at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., where he teaches Principles and Techniques of Bread Making. He is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef with 40 years experience in foodservice. For more information on Johnson & Wales University, visit www.jwu.edu.
ARTISAN BREAD IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL HONEY BOARD
For information on how to use honey in a variety of bakery formulas, visit the National Honey Board's website at www.honey.com.
|Rice flour||1||8||680 g||100|
|Water (70°F)||1||6||624 g||91.76|
|Total appr. wt.||3||11||1.674 kg||246.14|
Method: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes before applying to dough.
|Bread flour||2||3.25||1 kg||100|
|Total appr. wt.||3||8.8||1.61 kg||161|
Method: In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, incorporate all ingredients on low speed. Desired dough temperature is 70°F. Tightly round dough, and place in a covered container. Ferment at 70°F for 12 to 15 hours.
• Final dough
|Bread flour||6||3 kg||100|
|Non-fat dry milk||15.75||450 g||13.33|
|Total appr. wt.||18||3.15||8.594 kg||231.64|
Method: In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, incorporate all ingredients on low speed for about four minutes. Mix on high speed to develop. Mixing times will vary with mixer types and RPM. The dough should feel tacky. Desired dough temperature is 78°F to 80°F. Tightly round the dough, and place in a covered container for one hour. Divide into desired weights, and shape accordingly. The hamburger buns in the photo were scaled at 4.25 ozs. (120 g) each; the hot dog buns were scaled at 3.17 ozs. (90 g) each; the loaves were scaled at 10.6 ozs. (300 g) each. Place the shaped dough on parchment-lined sheet pans. Place the pans in an 80°F proofer and proof to 50 percent to 60 percent, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pans from the proofer, and spread an even coat of Dutch crunch topping on the shaped dough. Return the pans to the proofer to finish proofing, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Bake in a 375°F convection oven until the topping is mottled and browned.