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!
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!
Brown Rice Bread With Dutch Crunch Topping
- For the bread:
- 1 Tbs active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbs sunflower oil
- 1/2 Tbs salt
- 1 cup (200 g) cooked brown rice
- 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
- For the topping:
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 TBS sunflower oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs (60 g) rice flour
- Add the yeast and honey to your warm water and stir to dissolve completely. Then set aside for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
- Meanwhile, combine the buttermilk, honey, oil, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Then add the rice and beat until smooth.
- Now add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour and beat on high until smooth. Keep adding flour a half cup at a time and blend until you can’t use your beater anymore. Then switch to a wooden spoon, or chopsticks, and continue adding the flour until you have a soft manageable dough. Depending on the weather and the flour you’re using, you may have to add another cup of flour.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and springy. You may continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary. The dough will be slightly sticky, but not too wet.
- Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn it over to coat it. Then cover you bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel (or a plate) and let it rise in a warmish spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch (22 x 12 cm) bread tin with oil and line the sides with baking paper. Make sure the paper comes at least to the top of the tin, even a little higher.
- To prepare the Dutch Crunch Topping Combine all the ingredients with a whisk and beat hard to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Gently deflate the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a loaf and place it into the tin, pressing it down so it is even and pressed into the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 15 minutes.
- Coat the surface of your loaf with the topping. You probably won’t need it all. Then let it continue to rise, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated 375℉ (190℃) oven for 45-50 minutes. I advise you against using the convection setting, as this can cause the bread to be burnt on the outside and undercooked on the inside. If you have no choice, then reduce your oven temperature to 350℉ (180℃) and keep an eye on your bread.
- Check the bread after 45 minutes. To know if your bread is done, take it out of the tin (use oven mitts) and tap on the bottom of the loaf. It should sound hollow (see video). If not, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes, then check again. Repeat if necessary.
- Cool on a rack before slicing.
Anxious all the time and can’t just ‘will away’ your stress?
WANT TO FEEL BETTER QUICKLY AND EASILY?
Imagine waking up feeling great every morning, looking in the mirror and loving what you see, being crystal clear about who you are and what kind of life you want for yourself, without running off to Costa Rica for a month-long retreat, or worrying that it’ll just mean adding 50 more things to your to do list.
I know how you can do it and I’m going to show you how.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I’d love to see it! Tag @yourholisticlifereset on Instagram and hashtag it #yourholistickitchen!
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