How To Make Tiger Bread

Homemade tiger bread
Tiger bread was a first for me. A very pleasant first, as it turned out.

I'd never tackled it before, since I hadn't realised there was anything special about it, aside from the funny-looking crust.

I might not have attempted it today, were it not for the lovely people at Baking sending me a gorgeous hamper of flour and asking if I would please bake their tiger bread recipe. How could I refuse, really?! After all, I was kind of curious how to make that cracked tiger-skin crust happen.

It should be noted, at this point, that absolutely no tigers were used in the making of this bread. Nothing even remotely feline. Just flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and (somewhat unexpectedly, but not too shockingly) butter.

You can check out the recipe that I was trying to follow on Baking Mad, here, but I'll write it out below, too, with the inevitable Rachel-tweaks.

Tiger Bread

For the dough:

500g/17 oz/3⅓ cups strong white flour
1 tsp instant dried yeast
1½ tsp sugar  (they said golden caster sugar, I only had white granulated) (Also, I'm willing to bet you could leave it out)
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp softened butter (vegetable oil would also be fine)
300ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups warm water

For the topping:

½ tsp instant dried yeast
½ tbsp sugar  (again I used granulated in place of golden caster sugar)
½ tbsp vegetable oil
salt (I used about ½ tsp)
75g/3 oz/⅔ cup ground rice
6 tbsp warm water

1. Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

2. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

3. Add the water and knead the dough for a few minutes until it is smooth. (How To Knead Bread Dough is here if you'd like more detail.)

4. Leave the dough to rise, under the upturned mixing bowl, for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

5. When you return to the dough, knead it lightly to knock out some of the gas that has formed, Shape it into a round loaf and place it on a baking tray to prove, for about 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size again. (Notes on proving, plus the infamous 'prod test' video are here.)

6. Make the topping by mixing together all the topping ingredients. Mine was a little runny so perhaps add the water with some caution, to make a thick paste.

7. When you are ready to bake the bread and have preheated the oven, spread the paste for the topping all over the loaf.

8. On the Baking Mad website, it said to bake at 200oC/390F for 35 minutes. I did my usual, which is to bake at about 230oC/450F for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to about 180oC/360F for the remainder of the cooking time. I'm quite obsessed with 'oven spring' these days.

It worked really well! Look at this!

tiger bread

The crust has, indeed, gone all golden and cracked. But what about the flavour? Get ready to cut...

tiger bread


tiger bread

tiger bread

As you can see, it had a very pleasing texture. Quite an open crumb (that's 'big bubbles' to most of us) and the butter gave it a very light texture; more crumbly than chewy.

I gave it to a panel of experts to sample. I wish I'd taken a photo but, alas, you'll just have to imagine it: six children and two mums crammed round the dining table with homemade soup (thanks Lindsey!), homemade baguette and homemade tiger bread. Let's just say it was all gone in about 20 minutes flat. I'm taking that as a thumbs up!

Grab the ebook, quick!

In other news, I'm working very hard to update The Recipes ebook. Currently, I am converting all the measurements into ounces and cups, as well as my usual grams. I'm also adding lots of new recipes, so the collections is bigger than ever. To reflect the added value of this newest edition, the price will be going up. The good news is, you can still grab a copy at the old price for the next 24 hours or so (until I finish the editing and the new edition goes live.) The deal is that when you buy the book, you get a link that gives you access to the latest edition forever, at no extra charge. So, if you've been meaning to get your copy, please grab yourself a bargain now before it's too late!


  1. Ooh that looks interesting! Great to be given some flour to test. Wonderful to have a panel of experts, ready any time........

    1. Yes! It was lovely to get some free goodies :) And of course, extra fun to be able to share the results!

  2. I am unfamiliar with "strong white flour". What is that?

    Also, is this bread best with soups and such? Probably not the proper texture for meat sandwiches?

    1. Strong white flour might be called 'bread flour' in some countries. It is plain flour with a higher gluten content (see % protein in the nutritional info on the packet) which is better, though not essential, for bread. In reality, most sorts of wheat flour could be substituted into most of my recipes, if you prefer wholemeal/wholegrain you could use some or all that instead of white.

      I think tiger bread would be ok for meat sandwiches, though, as you point out, it might be a little fragile, depending on the texture you achieve. It's not ever so crumbly, so it could well be fine.

  3. Castor sugar is just a more broken down granulated sugar, this can be achieved by mixing your regular sugar in a blender until kind of chopped more finely.


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