I took my bread making in a new direction today as I decided to have a dabble with the wondrous world of Tiger Bread. Or Giraffe Bread if you’re pandering to the whims of a small girl like Sainsbury’s. Even though they now have to call it Giraffe (Tiger) Bread on all the labels.
The basis of the Tiger Bread is simple. It’s just bread isn’t it. I mean, the secret of Tiger Bread is in the crust. What lies beneath is just a plain old bit of bread. No matter what you might think as you tuck into a lovely buttered slice of the stuff and thing that it really is the best thing since you learned how to cut the bread into the aforementioned slices.
I can do bread. I can do bread so bloody well. I am amazing at bread. I used to think I was good at bread, but having spent the last six or eight months making bread I could happily go back in time and tell past me I was properly shit at the bread thing because now I am all sorts of amazing.
And I’m quite good at making the paste for the top of the Tiger Bread. The paste being the secret to the lovely cracked crust which makes the bread stand out amongst the normal loaves (and those “well-done” ones that Sainsbury’s sell which are, you know, burnt). The paste, as you make it, leaves you craving the Tiger Bread. It smells of the bread, it probably tastes of the bread but it’s a raw yeasty batter and you probably don’t want to eat that.
Basically, you put the batter onto the bread during the second prove, bung it in the oven and magic happens.
I did that today and all I managed to do was make a helmet for my bread. They were no tiger-like crevices in the surface of the crust. Just a brown crust across the whole thing. Around the sides it had the tantalising hint that it was working, but the main bulk of the bread was just encased in a sesame-flavoured helmet. It’s cracked and shattered as it cooled, which is one of the best bits of bread making ever. Sometimes it’s just fun to stand in the kitchen and listen to the crust of a loaf cracking.
So now I need to have another crack at this Tiger Bread malarkey. I think I know where I went wrong. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. I think I waited too long before I put the paste on the loaf. There wasn’t enough proving time to stretch it out and make the cracks. I think. That’s probably what it is.
Otherwise it’s just going to be helmet bread from now on. Which, somehow, doesn’t sound as nice.