Have You Baked Your Lockdown Bread Yet?

 

The next time you feel like baking a special bread, you should try this brown rice bread with Dutch crunch topping. If you think it sounds weird to put rice in your bread, allow me to put your worries to rest. The rice totally dissolves into the dough so you won’t even know it’s there.

This delicious Brown Rice Bread with Dutch Crunch Topping is sweet, nutty, crispy, chewy, moist and totally addictive. Soft enough to use for sandwiches on the day you bake it, this bread keeps for several days and is amazing toasted.

I’ve been baking bread for fun since my early twenties. Not only is it extremely satisfying, it’s practically idiot proof. Bread isn’t fussy like cakes. It won’t collapse or turn into a brick if your measurements are a bit off. And even if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you hoped, unless you’ve burnt it black, it will still taste good.

I love the smell of the yeast proofing, and kneading dough is the easiest way to practice mindfulness that I’ve ever found. Watching it rise gives me a thrill and pulling a beautiful fresh baked loaf out of the oven is a feeling akin to parental pride. It takes time, most of it waiting, so you do have to plan on being home that day. Which is why our current lock down is the perfect time to give it a try!

Tiger Bread

Every bakery here in the Netherlands sells a bread called “Tijgerbrood,” which translates as tiger bread. It’s a crispy crackly layer on top of the bread that’s made with rice flour. I’d never seen anything like it in the U.S., but I did find a recipe for it in an old cookbook called Bread, by Beth Hensperger. She called it Dutch Crunch Topping and I’ve been experimenting with that recipe and trying to get it to turn out right for years.

I remember the very first time I tried to make Dutch crunch topping. There was no rice flour to be found in any of the Dutch supermarkets. Determined to make this bread, the closest I could find was cream of rice cereal for babies, so I tried using that instead. Huge mistake! It turned into an awful thick gluey mess!

Finally, I did get my hands on some rice flour at the health food store, but it still wasn’t right. For one thing, the recipe called for way too much topping, which created a thick, tough, rubbery layer on top of the bread instead of the super thin crispy layer it was trying to imitate. The batter was also way too thick and grainy.

Sixth Time’s The Charm…

Eventually, I found rice flour at the Asian market. It was much finer that the organic stuff, so I gave it a try. For starters, I cut the recipe in half, but it was still way too much topping. Cutting it down to a quarter of the original Dutch crunch topping recipe finally did the trick. But even then, I still only ended up using part of it. Once you’ve coated the top of the bread, that’s enough. That did the trick!

The crust is still quite a bit thicker than the traditional bakery tijgerbrood, but it was crispy and crunchy and super delish! It’s also quite a showstopper. So while you’re stuck at home hiding from Covid, why not give it a try? It’s a bit more effort than plain bread, but not that much. You don’t have to spend years experimenting with it like I did. And, since it’s got brown rice in it, you can tell yourself it’s so much healthier than white bread and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

 

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I’d love to see it! Tag @yourholisticlifereset on Instagram and hashtag it #yourholistickitchen!

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