Dutchie Crust: Daring Baker Challenge March 2012

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!

Dutchie crust

Our San Franciscan hosts call this crispy, crunchy bread Dutch Crunch, but in Milwaukee we call it Dutchie Crust. I actually never had any rolls of this type until I met my Husband and his family, and was introduced to Canfora Bakery just down the road from our house. Canfora is a "European" style bakery, and I do confess that I feel no guilt in the occasional purchase of hard rolls from them. They are fluffy and soft inside with a thin, brittle crackling crust - and I couldn't help but want to compare this month's challenge to them.

I followed the provided recipes for both the rolls and the topping, although I'd like to experiment more with this topping, perhaps even on a sourdough roll. It is made primarily of rice flour, which I ground from white rice in my VitaMix. I haven't ever purchased any rice flour, but homemade rice flour never quite loses the trace of grit you would expect from a hard, brown or white rice kernel.

The rice flour is mixed with yeast and water, a little sugar, oil and salt and left to sit for about 15 minutes before "painting" the tops of the risen rolls. It is thick, and I used my hands to almost mold it to the tops of rising bread. The bread dough recipe itself was a pretty standard roll recipe, and the heavy rice topping seemed to make them flatten out a bit, even though they were rising fine. Not a bad thing, and they would probably make a good torta or sandwich roll (I dug through my frozen leftovers and found some pork and cabbage from December that I heated and thickened with a little flour. It wasn't picturesque, but it was tasty.)

rice flour topping

The topping made the rolls a bit gritty to eat, though the interiors were soft and pleasant enough. (My Husband picked out the filling and ate it alongside his meal...) I found them ok, in part because I was comparing them to the Dutchie crust rolls from down the street, and in part because the topping literally left a bad taste in my mouth.

I consulted Fany Gerson's recipe for conchas, and noticed that the topping uses flour and baking powder - the same type of topping I believe my Rhode Islander father-in-law said they used on top of the Dutch Crust rolls he made when he worked in a Portuguese bakery when he was young. Gerson's recipe has quite a lot of sugar, presumably because conchas are really a pan dulce, or sweet bread. But I may be on to something if I begin to experiment with it.

doughDutchie crust roll interior

I'll be sure to write an update when I try again to master the mysteries of the Dutchie Crust roll, Meanwhile, be sure to check out the Daring Baker blogroll to find other variations on the challenge this month.

Dutchie crust roll