Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Tiger Print Soft Sourdough Bread

January 22, 2022 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Tiger Print Soft Sourdough Bread

Tiger Print Soft Sourdough Bread

To usher in the new year of tiger, I baked this Tiger Print Bread.  This is one of the easiest festive breads I think? Many bakers are making this and I just joined in the fun.  I used the Pumpkin Soft Sourdough Bread recipe and scaled down the quantities in order to make a square loaf.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

Recipe - Tiger Print Soft Sourdough Bread

Yields:  1 loaf


Sweet Stiff Starter:
56g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
172g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
88g milk or 72g water (I used full cream or whole milk) 
28g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
130g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
100g mashed pumpkin, (
about 200g pumpkin - peeled, cut, steamed and mashed, discard the excess liquid if possible)
All the sweet stiff starter
10g light brown sugar (please increase to your liking)
1 tsp salt
40g - 45g egg *
28g butter 
2.5g activated charcoal powder

450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

* Depends on your flour, because each flour absorbs liquid and hydrates differently. You may also add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time during kneading if the dough is too dry, when you see that the dough doesn't stick to the bottom at all.  We want the dough to clear from the sides of the bowl with only a small part of the bottom sticking to the base of the mixer bowl. You should hear a slapping sound of the dough hitting the sides of the mixer bowl. 

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with milk/water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 10 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around  5 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
    3. However, if you fed your starter with milk, the starter will take a longer time to proof and very much depends on your stater.  Mine took about 9 - 10 hours to proof overnight.  And the starter did not rise to triple in size compared to feeding with water.  It rose about 2.5 in size only.  
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually slightly torn the stiff starter dough first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an unevenly mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 minutes or until the dough become smooth, silky and reach window pane stage.  During the kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    4. Divide the dough into two equal portions. 
    5. Round up the pumpkin dough and let it sit in a bowl, cover with clingfilm.
    6. Add in charcoal powders into another dough and continue kneading for another minute until the charcoal powder is well incorporated. Round up the dough and keep it covered with a lid.
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes (room temperature around 29C).  The dough rose slightly in 45 minutes. 
  4. To shape:
    1. Transfer the pumpkin dough to a clean and slightly oiled surface then divide into 6 portions randomly.  Do not need to be exactly the same size. Form each portion to a ball and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
    2. Repeat the same for charcoal dough.
    3. Please watch the video "How To Shape Tiger Print Bread"
    4. Place all dough in the loaf pan.  
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof in a warm place until the dough reaches 0.5cm - 1 cm below the height of the pan (still be able to slide on the lid). This one took approximately 3 hours at room temperature of 29C - 30C.  Put on the lid. The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  6. To bake:
    1. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C (top & bottom heat) or 180C (fan-forced) for 30 - 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  I usually preheat the oven for 15 minutes before baking.
    2. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Oh! This is so cool! I have made Tiger cakes before, but I might try to make your bread when I get some charcoal powder. Thank you very much for sharing!

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting here and your comment. Hope you will like it too. My pleasure to share.

      Cheers :)

  2. Thank you so much, YL! I made this today and it turned out perfectly! My daughter loves it!
    I went online immediately after I read your post and bought activated charcoal for the first time, haha. Have also bought many more bread making tools since I’ve followed your blogs 😄

    1. Hi, thanks for following my blog and posts. Glad to hear that it turned out well and your daughter loves it.

      You can use the activated charcoal bread to make charcoal soft bread too.

      Happy baking and have a wonderful day..

      Cheers :)


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