Dutch Crunch bread is a San Francisco bread sensation that is not sourdough! These rolls — generally used for building sandwiches — are made from a tender white bread but topped with a rice flour coating that bakes up incredibly crisp and crackled, making for a bread roll that is both beautiful and delicious.
Making Dutch Crunch is way cheaper than a plane ticket to San Fran, and the results will elevate your summer sandwiches, burgers, and even breakfast sandwiches. Here's how to make Dutch Crunch bread at home.
What Is Dutch Crunch Bread?
Dutch Crunch is ubiquitous in San Fransisco, but it has origins in other parts of the world. Tiger Bread, a similar bread in taste and appearance, is found in the Netherlands, hence the "Dutch" in the name.
The "crunch" comes from the thin, crackled topping that coats the top of the bread. It's made from a mixture of rice flour, sugar, and yeast that is brushed on the bread before baking. Dutch Crunch bread is usually shaped in rounds or small baguette-shaped loaves. It's chewy, with a dense crumb and slightly sweet flavor, making it an obvious choice for a really good sandwich.
Rice Flour Topping Makes This Bread
While it is unclear how the bread became so well-loved in the Bay Area, the crunchy topping is what we are all here for. The topping is a thick mixture of rice flour, yeast, vegetable oil sugar, and water . You'll make this topping while the bread is rising. Before baking, you top the rolls with a thick coating of the mixture. The topping will set in the oven, then crack and brown as the rolls rise and bake.
The end result is a crisp topping that you'll want to pick off and eat on its own — but hold off! This topping gives sandwiches a satisfying crunch akin to adding a few potato chips to the stack.
Key Steps for Dutch Crunch Bread
- Make the bread dough. The bread part of Dutch crunch bread is pretty straightforward. You'll warm some milk and water and mix them with flour, yeast, salt, and oil in your stand mixer. And then let the springy dough rise in the stand mixer bowl until doubled in size.
- Shape the rolls. You can shape these Dutch Crunch bread into round rolls, which we prefer for the ease and ability to support the topping. Divide the dough into six (five-ounce) portions, shape each portion into a round by pinching the ends together into a bundle, and then (with the pinched side down) gently roll the round in the palm of your hand. Move the rolls to baking sheets and let them rise.
- Mix up the topping while the bread rises. Stir together the rice flour, sugar, oil, yeast, and water in a small bowl. The mixture should be thick but drippy (about the consistency of glue). Add a little more water by the tablespoon if the mixture is thick or dry. Let the topping "rise" — it will get bubbly as it sits — while the oven preheats and rolls rise.
- Carefully coat the rolls with the topping just before baking. Here's the most challenging part of Dutch Crunch bread: The rolls are going to be puffy and delicate, but you've got to smear them with the thickish rice flour topping. Be careful and do your best not to deflate the rolls when spooning this rice flour mixture over top. Wipe up any excess topping that drips down and pools around the dough on the baking sheet.
Serving and Storing Dutch Crunch Bread
Bake the rolls in a hot oven — 425°F — for 22 to 25 minutes. The topping will take some time to brown, so give it time before pulling the rolls. Cool the rolls for at least 10 minutes before slicing for sandwiches. This roll will make every bite a chewy, crispy, unforgettable one!
How To Make Dutch Crunch Bread
Makes 6 (6-inch) sandwich rolls
What You Need
- For the bread:
active dry yeast
Cooking spray or oil, for coating the bowl
- For the topping:
white or brown rice flour (not sweet or glutinous rice flour)
active dry yeast
1/2 to 3/4 cup
warm water (about 100°F)
Measuring cups and spoons
Electric stand mixer
Large and small bowls
Warm and cool the milk and water. Place the milk and water in a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup and heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside to cool slightly, until between 100 and 105°F.
Proof the yeast. Place the warmed milk and water mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the sugar and yeast and set aside until the yeast is bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Make the bread dough. Add the flour, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue mixing until a smooth, elastic dough ball comes together, about 8 minutes.
Knead and shape the bread dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead it a few times by folding the dough over on itself and then punching it down. Shape the dough into a tight ball.
Let the dough rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Lightly coat the stand mixer bowl with cooking spray or oil. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size and gently rises back when poked, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare the baking sheets. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape the rolls. Turn the risen dough out onto a clean work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 6 (about 5-ounce) equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape the dough into tight rounds. Place the shaped roll on a baking sheet. Repeat shaping the rolls and space them evenly apart on the baking sheets, 3 rolls per sheet.
Let the rolls rise. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes more. Meanwhile, heat the oven and make the topping mixture.
Heat the oven to 425°F. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 425°F. Make the Dutch crunch topping.
Make the Dutch crunch topping while the oven is heating. Place the rice flour, sugar, oil, yeast, and 1/2 cup of the water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. The mixture should be thick, but drippy — about the consistency of glue. Whisk in more water 1 tablespoon at a time if the mixture is too thick. Cover and set in a warm place to rise until the rolls are risen.
Smother the rolls with a thick layer of the Dutch crunch topping. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Dutch crunch topping over each roll, and then use a brush or the back of the spoon to spread the topping into a thick, even layer across the tops and slightly over the sides. You won't use all of the rice topping — a thin, even layer is better for cracking than a thick one. If any topping drips down the sides and pools around the bottom of the rolls, use a paper towel to wipe the excess away.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back and between racks. Bake until the tops of the rolls are cracked and golden-brown, 10 to 13 minutes more.
Cool the bread before slicing, topping, and serving. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and cool completely. Slice and fill with your favorite sandwich ingredients.
Storage: Dutch crunch rolls keep best tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.