This is a real artisan tiger bread recipe, otherwise called Dutch bread or giraffe bread. For the best tiger bread you should have the best dough, the right proofing times and the best tiger paste.
I've tested loads of different techniques and found the best method using ingredients you can easily find in the supermarket. Tiger bread is really rewarding to make, especially when the paste cracks nicely!
How to make tiger bread video lesson
For the dough:
600g White bread flour
For the tiger paste:
90g Rice flour
15g Caster sugar
4g Table salt
5g Sesame oil
3g Fresh yeast (2g dried yeast)
1 cup Warm water 32C (90F)
Method for tiger bread
Add the ingredients into a mixing bowl and use a plastic dough scraper around the edges of the bowl to combine the ingredients. After a minute or so, take the dough onto the table and use some long stretching motions to gently knead the dough. Continue for 8 minutes and then put the dough back in the bowl, in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Using a dough mixer:
Add the ingredients into a dough mixer with a dough hook. Mix on slow speed 7 minutes, until the dough is nice and elastic. Then increase the speed and knead for another 5 minutes. Put the dough into a bowl and take a temperature reading if it’s above 26C (78F) cover and put it in the fridge. If it’s cooler than 26C (78F) cover and leave at room temperature. Skip to step 4.
Fast knead the dough
Take the dough onto the table and knead as fast as you can for 7 more minutes. At the end of this the dough should be reasonably stiff, with signs of a strong gluten network appearing.
The first rise (bulk ferment)
Put the dough into a mixing bowl, cover, and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour.
Stretch and fold
Knock back the dough or complete a stretch and fold.
The bulk fermentation, continues...
Take a temperature reading of the dough, if it’s above 26C (78F) place it back in the fridge, if it’s cooler then leave it out on the table, covered for another hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper onto a lightly flour dusted area of a workbench. Divide the dough into 2 even weights, which should be around 485g - 500g. Pre-shape the pieces into round balls and allow to rest for ten minutes.
Final shape and rise
Final shape following the bloomer final shape and leave to proof on a dusted wooden board or a baking sheet lined with baking paper. You should consider preheating the oven at around this point. Preheat to 250C (480F) with a baking stone above a lipped baking sheet.
Prepare the paste
After 30 minutes (½ proofed) start making the tiger paste. Except the oil and the water, add all the paste ingredients to a bowl. Add the oil and a tablespoon of warm water to start with and whisk. Gradually add more water a little at a time to create a thick batter. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Paste the tiger bread
When the bloomers are ¾ proofed, apply the paste using a brush or by hand. Gently distribute it over the surface, but be careful not to damage the dough. Once pasted, continue to proof for another 15 minutes, this allows time for the paste to adhere to the dough and start to “crack”.
Once cracks are visible on the surface, it's ready for the oven. Slide of the board onto the baking stone, drop the heat to 230C (450F) and add a good cup of hot water to the preheated tray beneath the stone to create steam. Wear oven gloves when doing so and shut the door quickly, but safely! Bake for 30-35 minutes, opening the oven door temporarily after 20 minutes to release the moisture.
Remove and cool
Take out the oven and cool, the cracks in the tiger bread will be more defined after cooling.
Using dried yeast
If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.
Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F) - no higher! Add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of water from the recipe.
Top tips for the best tiger bread
If you want to change the batch size or make the two other breads shown in the video use the bakers formula. This is a spreadsheet that you can download which changes the recipe ingredients depending on the amount of dough that you need.
The cracks in the tiger bread will be more defined after cooling.
If you are using steam its best practice to open the oven door to let the steam out after 20-25 minutes. This helps with the colour and texture of the crust.