Tiger Bread or should that be Giraffe Bread?

Tiger Bread
Tiger bread is delicious, there’s no doubt about it.  Lovely soft white bread with a crispy crunchy crust.

But did you know that it’s really easy to make it at home too?

Here’s how


1 x Quantity of Basic White Bread Dough (recipe here)

Tiger Paste

35ml warm water

1/2 tsp dried fast action yeast

1/2 tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp vegetable or sunflower oil

15g rice flour (rice flour also makes really great crunchy shortbread if you were wondering what else you could use it for!)

Make the bread dough as per the instructions here and allow to rise in a bowl until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out onto the worksurface and knead lightly for a couple of minutes.

Free-form loaves need more work to shape them than if you were using a tin.  You need to form a good spine in the dough to encourage the dough to rise upwards instead of flowing outwards as there’s no tin to hold it in the right shape.

Flatten out the dough into a rectangle, start folding the edges into the centre, keep folding in to tighten up the dough and to form a long loaf shape that is slightly tapered at each end.

Once you can fold in no more turn the dough over so that the seam is underneath.

Cup your hands along either side of the dough and tighten the loaf up a little more by tucking the dough underneath the loaf, like you were tucking a sheet in under a mattress! (you’ll use both hands, one either side of the loaf – I haven’t figured out how to use both hands and take a photo at the same time yet, leave it with me…!)

Keep tucking until it feels tight and you can tuck no more!

Transfer your shaped loaf to a well greased or floured baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel.

Mix together the tiger paste ingredients in a small bowl or jug using a fork.

Allow the mixture to stand for ten minutes before using.

Using a knife, a palette knife is best, spread the tiger paste across the top and sides of the loaf in a plastering action.

Place the loaf, uncovered in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size (30-45minutes).  As it rises the paste will start to crack.

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)/200c/Gas Mark 5.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the tiger paste is crisp and golden, and when tapped on the base the loaf sounds hollow.

If your tap is dull the loaf is slightly underbaked and will need another 5 minutes in the oven to finish cooking through.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Best eaten within two days or frozen as soon as it has cooled completely.

Tiger paste can also be used on rolls, plastering on before the second rise as per the loaf.  Bake time for rolls should be 15-20 minutes.

Sainsburys recently rebranded theirs as Giraffe Bread after receiving a letter from a 3 year old girl pointing out it looked more Giraffe than Tiger! – you can read the full story here.

Tiger Bread

Tiger Bread

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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28 Responses to Tiger Bread or should that be Giraffe Bread?

  1. my honest says:

    Oh my goodness I have always wondered how the supermarkets make this, now I can too! Can I charge you for my subscription to WeightWatchers?

  2. Thanks for this- I always wondered what was in the tiger bit of it- I thought it might be marmite or something, so I suppose that is the yeast flavour coming through. I will be trying this out soon. And I saw that letter- so sweet. Although Sainsbury’s only gave her something like £3 gift voucher!She should be getting some of the profits now she has named it!

  3. Yum, have always wanted to know how to make this! Will try this weekend – just made wholemeal bread for today 🙂 x

  4. Ann Macey says:

    As always a very useful post. I will be making this bread soon because my husband loves it.
    Ruth do you ever try sugar free baking? My husband is diabetic but loves the occasional treat I would love to give him sugar free biscuits and cakes but my experiments have not been successful. It would be great to surprise him at easter with a simple sponge cake that actually looked like a sponge cake and not a pale imitation

  5. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Love a crusty piece of bread and this is true to name.

  6. Glo says:

    You are a genius Ruth – I will try this.

  7. I love how they changed the name of tiger bread in response to a customer! Never knew how to make it at home though so glad to have this recipe up my sleeve now 🙂

  8. What a beautiful and relatively simple bread! It looks like it would make for wonderful toast for sandwiches, too. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to have found your blog!

  9. Oh Ruth this is such a beautiful Loaf. I can’t resist bread. Especially home made, toasted, slathered in butter and marmalade with a coffee in the morning. Heaven !

  10. Thanks for the tutorial, now I just have to get time to make it.

  11. Bread Tins says:

    I always bake my own bread, I would never go back to shop bought bread. I do cheat a little and use a bread maker, and I follow a recipe from the back of a pack of bread flour…BUT…I add half a tespoon of Sesame oil to the mix once it’s no longer dry…the result is a very moreish flavour that cannot be beaten 🙂

  12. Blackbird Bread says:

    Hi Ruth, tried this recipe today, but, for me, too much paste, (followed recipe for paste exactly as said), which meant that loaf didn’t crack before going into oven. When baked the loaf was nicely cracked on sides but not on rest of loaf which had turned deep brown. Will try again with less paste. Thanks anyway!

  13. Blackbird Bread says:

    Hi, tried again, more rice flour (increased to 25g) and bit more veg oil. Didn’t use it all and proved in v warm spot (top oven which I left open while bottom oven was warming up). Worked a treat! Thanks!

  14. Bread Machine says:

    This sounds great! i will be making this tonight !

  15. A Trier says:

    Looks great and I do like your pictures accompanying each stage. I have tried other methods with no success except for a slightly darker crust but yours makes more sense than the others. First rise nearly complete on the dough and have just made up the paste but it doesn’t look anything like the consistency of your paste. Mine looks more akin to a slightly thick wash. Can you identify something that the paste should resemble in consistency as I am about to add more flour but would like to have best shot at getting it right first time for a change. Many thanks in anticipation.

  16. A Trier says:

    P.S. My vote goes for leopard or cheater bread. Well done to the young lady who brought Sainsburys onto the right lines.

  17. Donna says:

    Thank you!!! We emigrated to Canada 2 years ago, not only is the bread sweet but I haven’t seen a tiger loaf since we arrived. Just made my first one and my son almost cried with joy!!! Amazing that its the really simple things that you miss the most.

  18. barbara horn says:

    this recipe worked really well although I did’nt have any rice flour so used semolina instead I also added some sesame seeds for extra nuttyness truly scrumy thankyou

  19. Robin Bartholomew says:

    Thank you for the clear instructions on shaping the loaf. I make sourdough tiger bread and it is really tasty. I use sesame oil in both my bread mix(2tbsp) and the topping, gives an excellent flavour.

  20. Catherine says:

    I have made Tiger bread lots of times and I too use sesame oil to give the lovely flavour. The recipe is one of the most popular hits on my blog so lots of people must want to make it! Your paste recipe is slightly different to the one I use so I will give yours a go, thanks.

  21. Kirstie says:

    Can I check the quantities for the tiger paste? Made this at the weekend but mixture was very runny and nothing at all that resembled paste? Is it really only 15g rice flour?

    • Hi Kirstie – yes it is only 15g of rice flour which is about a heaped dessertspoon – the water is only 35ml which is tablespoon plus a teaspoon if that helps. If you try it again mix up the dry ingredients and then add water just a teaspoon as a time until you have a thick spreadable paste x

  22. I always thought the crust on giraffe bread was made with sesame oil!!

  23. Elena says:

    Great bread. Thank you!

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