The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dutch Crunch topping failure – Why?

yy's picture

Dutch Crunch topping failure – Why?

Yesterday, I made Peter Reinhart’s Vienna bread with the dutch crunch topping. I pretty much followed the directions exactly. I mixed up the dutch crunch paste (using rice flour) to a very thick consistency and applied it moments after the final shaping in an effort to get the most dramatic mottling effect. It was a bit too thick in retrospect – I couldn’t brush it on. Rather, I had to spread it on with my fingers.

Then I let the bread proof for 90 minutes with the paste on top. Everything seemed fine, but the final product was not as expected. The dutch crunch topping barely browned at all. It was several shades paler than the crust itself, as you can see in the photo below. I believe the topping should come out darker than the crust. Furthermore, the flavor was terrible. It tasted like chalk. Any idea what could have caused this? Was there not enough yeast activity in the topping? Was it just too thick? 

mrfrost's picture

Are you sure you put sugar in the topping?

Or maybe, did you leave the topping sitting so long that all the sugars were eaten up?(just reaching here).

yy's picture

I remembered the sugar. I believe the bit of bread flour in the topping recipe is also there to feed the yeast. However, it's not very much, so it's possible that the topping sat too long. The topping didn't seem risen at all, though. 

ananda's picture

Hi yy,

I don't use Reinhart's formula, but am familiar with what we call "Tiger Paste" here in the UK.

There is no wheat flour in the formula, just rice flour.   I usually mix the paste up about half an hour before baking, and brush it onto the proved loaves around 5-10 minutes before they go in the oven.

If you coated the loaves with the paste at the start of final proof, I think this is not right.   The yeast level in the paste I use is quite high for rapid ferment.   Also, the paste is supposed to go crackly as it dries in the baking [yes the sugar brings colouration too].   Using wheat flour seems counter-productive given these criteria.

There is a bit more info here, especially from Franko.