Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Along with salt and black pepper, tiger bread is my favourite form of loaf. Once it’s out, I end up eating enough to fill a tiger. I’ve been finding it hard to find recipes which strike the balance between the crackled top and the nutty flavour of the baked in store supermarket loafs so I’ve decided to take it on myself. Here I’m using just my basic white loaf recipe, with toasted sesame oil instead of butter for the nutty taste, and have based the paste recipe on Lorraine Pascale’s take on the bread, her crackled top loaf, but adding sesame oil to this as well. Here’s the weird part. I really like the flavoursome chewiness of the supermarket loafs beneath the crusty top so before I add the tiger paste to the bread, I brush it over with marmite to get this, as well as more of the distinguished tiger loaf flavour. I suppose tiger bread is just as much as a love/hate thing anyway.

500g strong white bread flour
1½ tsp salt
1 sachet action dry yeast
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Around 300ml warm water

For the Tiger Paste
50g rice flour
1 tsp sugar A
 pinch of salt
½ tsp yeast
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, keeping the salt and yeast separate so that the yeast doesn’t die. Mix in the butter and slowly begin to add the water, until you get a rough sticky dough. The wetter the better.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead for around 10 minutes, pushing the dough away from you whilst folding it in on itself. Once the dough is smooth, soft and slowly springs back when touched, form into a ball and place into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film that has been rubbed with oil and leave to rise in a warm place for around an hour. Next to a radiator, in the sun or the airing cupboard are my favourite rising places.

In the meantime make the tiger paste. Mix all of the ingredients then add about 50ml of warm water to make it into a paste. It will look like wet sand at this point, but it will work its magic later. Set to one side.

Once the dough has doubled in size, take your fist and punch the dough to release the air. Knead once more for a couple of minutes then shape into an oval, or any variation of loaf shape you want. Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with the same cling film then leave to rise once more for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again.

Within this time preheat the oven at fan 200°/220c/8, putting a small, empty baking tray in the bottom. Once the dough has risen, drizzle generously with the marmite in tiger-like stripes then rub all over with the tiger paste, which will also help distribute the marmite. Add cold water to the empty baking tray to create steam which allows the bread to rise before forming a crust. Bake the bread for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crackled and the bottom sounds hallow when tapped.

Mine actually came out with a tiger print; normally tiger bread actually looks more giraffe-like. I’d love to say I did it on purpose, but who knows, yours might come out like that too and I can claim I did.

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