What Makes Dutch Tiger Bread Unique?

If you're looking for a new recipe to liven up your dinner table, Dutch tiger bread may be the perfect accompaniment to serve alongside a beef stew or whatever's on the menu tonight. While sold in the United States as "Dutch crunch," tiger bread has been produced in the Netherlands, where it's called tijgerbrood or tijgerbol, since the 1970s (via Lavender and Lovage). And while the food's deceivingly complex-looking exterior is fairly easy to make, the unique texture on the crust of these baked loaves lends to the bread's name — or naming debate.

In 2011, a child wrote a letter to Sainsbury's, a supermarket chain in the UK, suggesting that the Dutch specialty should be called giraffe bread instead, since its appearance resembled the spots on the long-necked creatures more than the stripes of a tiger (per BBC News). The correspondence went viral, and the company conceded, changing the name of its tiger bread to giraffe bread. Regardless of which animal you see first, this recipe is a type of European bread that deserves special attention.

A wilder side of bread

Traditionally made using white flour, tiger bread is the perfect temptation: a soft, chewy core with a satisfyingly crisp crust. Baking Sense describes these textured rolls as not only crunchy but also easy to make from scratch — and customizable. You can form a loaf to slice for sandwiches or make balls of dough for ready-to-serve breakfast rolls. A starter isn't required for this recipe; plus, any leftover rolls can be kept in the freezer to serve later.

Merry Boosters explains that the food's special exterior is the result of a rice flour paste that's spread on dough that's half-proofed. In the oven, the gluten-free coating cracks instead of rising, so while the bread is baking, a tiger — or giraffe — texture forms on the crust. And while the finished product certainly looks rough and wild on the outside, the inside is anything but. Whether it's served with European or American butter, tiger bread can certainly add a few extra purrs of satisfaction to your kitchen table.