March Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Dutch Crunch Bread

Blog Checking Lines: Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

Dutch Crunch bread, if you’ve never heard of it, is a type of white sandwich bread with a unique crackled and crunchy topping.  I grew up eating Dutch Crunch bread, which I didn’t realize was regional to the San Francisco Bay Area.   I even made it a couple of times many years ago.  While I order it occasionally with my soup at a local bakery, I had kind of forgotten about being able to make it.  This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was a nice reminder to try the home version of Dutch Crunch bread again.

For the challenge, we were provided with a very nice, soft, white roll recipe that goes together in a snap.  I’ll definitely be making the rolls again, even without the topping.  After shaping, the rolls are liberally covered with a pasty mixture made from white rice flour, yeast, vegetable oil and water.  The rolls can rise a little bit again or can be baked immediately.  As the rolls bake and grow, the topping cracks apart and crisps up.  While these rolls don’t produce as brown and crunchy a topping as the store-bought version, the homemade version is definitely more tasty!

Homemade on the left, store bought on the right.

As part of the challenge, we were also tasked to create a unique sandwich with our tasty rolls. I had a harder time with this part of the challenge since I’m not really a sandwich eater and these rolls are HUGE at about 4 oz each.  I ended up making a vegetarian sandwich by spreading my split roll with hummus and topping it with a tasty cabbage slaw made with red cabbage, carrots and cilantro that has been mixed with cider vinegar, chipotle pepper and oil.

March Daring Bakers' Challenge: Dutch Crunch Bread
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Soft, white rolls with a crunchy topping.
  • For the Rolls:
  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ 1⁄4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110o F) (41-­43°C) (No need to use a thermometer, it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110o F) (41-­43°C)
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (22 1⁄2 ml/2/3 oz) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. (7½ ml) (9gm/1/3 oz) salt
  • Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour

  • For the Topping:
  • 2 Tbsp. (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/1/2 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105F) (41-46C)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour)
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes. (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and small yeasty).
  2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
  3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions. Shape each into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
  8. To prepare the topping, combine all the topping ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing or thick cake batter. It should drip slowly off your whisk. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
  9. Using the back of a spoon, coat the top of each roll thickly with the topping. If desired, let them rise for 20 minutes, covered lightly with plastic, after applying the topping. They may be baked right away if desired.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 380F/190C/gas mark 5 for 25-30m minutes, until well-browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.


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March Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Dutch Crunch Bread — 10 Comments

  1. This looks delicious! I love the vegetarian sandwich! Your crunchy topping looks great! This was a great challenge, I never heard of dutch crunch before so I got to make something new that I’m not used to! Yours came out great, good to know homemade is better! 🙂

  2. I love that you compared our version to the store bought version – where did you find the roll? Your results are beautiful, and your sammich is making my mouth water. Thanks for joining us this month!!

    • We can get Dutch Crunch rolls at a Northern California bakery chain called “Le Boulanger”. It was fun to try to duplicate it!

    • I’m not sure about swapping the oil for butter in this recipe – oil is more liquid than butter. It would probably work in the dough, but you might need to add a little water to the topping to get the right consistency. Give it a try and let me know what happens!

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