Tiger Bread (Tijgerbrood)

Tiger Bread, sometimes known as 'Giraffe Bread', originated in the Netherlands in the 1970s, where it's known as tijgerbrood or tijgerbol (tiger roll). 

In the San Francisco Bay area, it's called 'Dutch Crunch' and Wegmans Food Markets of New York, market it under the name 'Marco Polo Bread'. 

Sainsbury's now sell it under the name 'Giraffe Bread' ever since they received a letter from the parents of a three-year old little girl who sugested the name. 

Whatever you know it as, it's always the same. A distinctively soft bread with a mottled crust. 

This recipe is for two, one pound and a bit Tiger loaves, but you could just as easily divide it up into smaller portions and make Tiger rolls. 

It's a two stage process. 

Firstly, there is a need to make the dough into a loaf and reach a point half way through the seond prove. 

Secondly, the top of the loaf is painted with a paste that reacts in the oven to create the distinctive mottled 'tiger' effect. The dough is then left to complete the second prove. 


The Bread

600 gms strong white bread flour

400 ml tepid water

25 mls toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon active instant bread yeast

If you want to use slightly less sesame oil (for example 20mls, increase the water to 405 mls, so ensuring that you have 425mls of liquid)

The Tiger Topping

75 gms rice flour

90 mls tepid water

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons active instant bread yeast



(Machine mixing)

Place the salt at the bottom of the pan. Cover with the flour. Carefully add the water and the oil and, finally, the yeast. Choose a basic dough programme (2hrs 20 minutes). During the first 15 minutes, the flour and water will mix to autolyse. 

You're now ready for Stage 2

(Hand mixing)

Place the wet ingredients in a bowl including the salt. Add the flour and leave for 20 minutes to autolyse. Then add the yeast and bring together into a sticky dough.

Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead until you have a soft and silky dough. 

Once you have a soft and silky dough, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and place it somewhere warm for an hour until it has tripled in size. 

You're now ready for Stage 2. 


Tip the dough onto a floured surface

Knock it back by stretching the dough and folding it back on itself over and over again. This will remove the air from the dough, increase the tension and make it ready for the second prove. 

You now need to decide whether you want to make Tiger rolls (divide your dough into 8 equal portions and shape accordingly) , a large Tiger loaf (simply form the dough as a whole) or two smaller Tiger loaves. For this recipe, I'm making two 1lb+ Tiger loaves - one as a boule and the other as a traditional tiger bread oval. 

Weigh the dough and divide into two equal portions.

Form the dough into a ball. Turn it over so it is bottom side up. pull the edges into the middle to create a 'dough bag'. Gently roll the top around on the floured board until you have a smooth surface. 
Turn the dough over and, using your cupped hands, make it into a neat sphere. Then, if you wish, gently manipulate it into an oval. (Do not slash the dough)

Repeat with the other piece of dough. 

Place on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Cover with paper and leave at room temperature for ONE hour


About half an hour into the second prove (i.e. after 30 minutes) , make the Tiger topping.

Mix the topping ingredients together into a paste, cover and put to one side until the loaf has proved for 50 minutes

Using a pastry brush, paste the topping generously over the top and sides of the loaf. 

Cover and leave at room temperature until the dough has risen to twice its original size. (Approximately a further 20 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C

Place in the lower part of the oven. If you can, gently spray the dough before it goes into the oven but DO NOT spray again as the added mosture half way through will stop the paste cracking, as it is supposed to do. 

Bake in the lower part of the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. 

The crust should be cracked and golden brown. The bread will have the distinctive taste of Tijgerbrood.

Note to self - these were baked at 200 degrees C  for 10 minutes and then 190 degrees C for 20 minutes.....next time, I'll drop the heat to 190 degrees C for 10 minutes and 180 degrees C for the last twenty. The bread was perfectly done inside, nevertheless. Some of us have hotter ovens than others. 

Cool on a wire rack.

This bread freezes very well.

Alright, that's right, that's right, that's right
That's right, I really love your tiger.........

Happy baking....


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