Last week, in my post about my top three books for beginner bread makers I mentioned Marmite bread, with reference to James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread, where I got the initial idea for this recipe. (It’s a great book that should be on everyone’s shelf.) I offer Marmite bread as a choice for people to make on my full day Bread Basics course and it will be a recipe that will be included in my upcoming online course because it one of my absolute favourites.
My mentioning Marmite bread prompted Tony to get in touch and ask if I had published the recipe on here yet. It is included in my recipe book but Tony was one of the first people to attend one of my bread making courses, way back in May 2015, and as learning to make bread is a lifelong adventure I hadn’t come across James’ Marmite Bread at that point.
So this post is especially for Tony, as a thank you for his support for all of this time.
Even if you hate Marmite I urge you to try this recipe just once because I promise that it doesn’t have to taste marmitey, if you reduce the Marmite to 30g (don’t go lower or there is no point in adding it at all) all you get is a deep savoury taste to your loaf which is absolutely delicious and fantastic with soups and stews, but please try the 40-45g first as it really is lovely even for the Marmite haters amongst us (weird creatures). It also makes delicious toast which can, of course, be spread with yet more marmite for a double hit. Can you tell I am a Marmite lover?
Note of caution though – Marmite is salty so reduce the salt that you would normally add otherwise the loaf will be too salty. Also, don’t do what I did once and overdo it on the marmite front. I got cocky in a class one day and added two spoonfuls instead of my usual one spoonful and whilst everyone else’s loaves rose beautifully mine remained as flat as a pancake. The saltiness of the Marmite will kill the yeast if you go overboard. Lesson, well and truly learned.
500g strong white flour or you could replace 100g with 100g wholemeal or 50g rye & 50g wholemeal
5g easy bake/ instant yeast or 15g fresh yeast (remember that you can reduce the yeast and allow the bread to rise longer)
5g fine salt
340-380g water (depending on flour choice)
Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Weigh the Marmite out in a jug and pour over 100g hot water and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool a little and then add to the flour. Add another 200g of warm or cool water (if you use cool water your dough will take longer to prove which improves the texture and flavour). Start to mix, adding splashes of water in until you get a dough that is soft and slightly sticky. Make sure that there are no dry bits in your dough. Leave to rest for at least ten minutes or up to an hour depending on how your day is going.
Knead your dough or use the stretch and fold method as I demonstrate in this video.
Cover well and leave to prove until airy, remember it will take longer for it to prove if you used less yeast or cooler water. You can also pop it in the fridge at this point for several hours or overnight if that fits better into your day.
Shape your dough. I show you how to shape for a loaf tin or as a batard/ bloomer in this video.
Cover with clingfilm or similar, remember to oil it well so it doesn’t stick to the loaf and deflate it. Allow to prove, again this can happen overnight in the fridge if it suits you.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Steam the oven well as you put your loaf in, I like to use a plant mister to do this, spraying several times (avoiding the glass door and light). Bake for 30 minutes, check that it is baked by tapping on the bottom, it should sound hollow or insert a temperature probe and check that it reaches 90 degrees centigrade. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and I promise you will love it even if you hate Marmite.