Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

Bread making is a very rewarding endeavor and it comes with fond memories for me. It takes me back to a time when I was in middle school and had a Canadian neighbor who made this most gorgeous and delicious loaf of poppy seed braid. I was so captivated by it that I had requested for her to teach me how to make it. You can read about it in my Lemon Poppy Seed Braid post. I made a couple of loaves, left off, and got busy growing up. I related this story to Ro-Ri San and some eight years back, he surprised me one day with a bread machine while we were still living in Colorado. I am very fond of this machine and I have put it to good use, making two to three loaves of bread each week. It even has a dough cycle and I sometimes use it for hand shaped loaves.

Colorado is a very challenging place to do any kind of baking because of the high altitude, low atmospheric pressure, and low humidity. Adjustments have to be made or cookies will come out flat as pancakes and cakes collapsing half way through baking. Breads present a special challenge and may require several tries for each recipe before the right balance is achieved. While it can be frustrating to a novice, it is also a great learning experience. I have found out the hard way that bread recipes are more of a guide than an absolute measure of ingredients. No matter where you live, the amount of flour, fat, liquid, and leavening agent has to be adjusted accordingly because of weather conditions and altitude of the place. Less liquid is needed on rainy or snowy days and less yeast is required the further away from sea level. Adjust liquid by each tablespoon and leavening agent by each quarter teaspoon.

I am thankful for this “training” because I was more able to handle gluten-free bread making when my boys needed to go on a gluten-free diet. It was quite a challenge to work with flours such as rice, soy, buckwheat, sorghum, garbanzo, potato, and corn which have no elasticity to them. I would have been in great despair had I not had the experience of bread making before. I highly recommend The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman for those who have to live with a gluten-free diet.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

Now, coming to these delicious loaves, I want to thank my talented blogging buddy and friend, Denise of Bread Expectations and Quickies on the Dinner Table, for creating this recipe specially for me. Denise blogs out of Singapore and is the author of Quickies, Morning, Noon and Night. I had the privilege of meeting her during my last visit to that part of the world. Denise knows how much I love homemade breads and enjoy Marmite, a vegetarian yeast extract that is said to have that umami flavor. I absolutely agree with her that Marmite is one flavor that you either love or detest. I grew up with Marmite and like Denise, I have taken it as a “tea” diluted in water, spread on buttered bread, and mixed into congee. Today, I have heard that Marmite is used by some restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore to prepare shrimp and vegetable dishes. Denise, on the other hand, has come up with something totally original and creative with this fantastic Black Pepper and Marmite Boule.

I was drooling while reading her post and got to work right away as I had all the ingredients at hand. I had just enough Marmite in the jar to swing this recipe. I followed it closely and made only minor adjustments to the amount of flour, water, and yeast to suit the conditions in my kitchen. This is the first time I used my new KitchenAid stand mixer (Christmas gift from Ro-Ri San) for bread making. I made two loaves with the dough and though they are not as bowl-like or gorgeous as Denise’s, they are still beautiful. I dusted them with flour and more cracked black pepper as instructed, giving them a rustic look. The aroma 10 minutes into baking was incredible! The crumb was tender and has a very fine texture. These are very tasty loaves and I hope you will give them a try.

Please click here for the recipe at Denise’s blog. While you are there, do leave a comment and check out her other fantastic bread recipes. Her pictures and style of writing are sure to captivate and have you going back for more. For quick and tasty meal time solutions, try her other blog Quickies on the Dinner Table.

On with the recipe…

Flour, sugar, black pepper, salt, and yeast were first mixed in the bowl. I then added the butter and diluted Marmite. To get every ounze out of what was left in the jar, I had to pour in the measured amount of water and give it a good stir.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

I used up all the Marmite in the jar. Time to get another jar soon or I won’t be able to make more of these delectable loaves. This jar of Marmite was sent by my dear childhood friend and avid follower of Roti n Rice, who now resides in the UK. She is my trusted source for British goodies like Digestive Biscuits, lemon curd, thick cut marmalade, and Yorkshire Gold tea. Time to pay her a visit and stock up on more goodies. 😉

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

The flour and all other ingredients were mixed for 3 minutes scrapping the bowl where necessary. It was left to rise for 15 minutes. The mixer was turned on again for a second kneading of 8 minutes.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

The dough was allowed to rise in the mixing bowl for 1½ hours until more than doubled in size. It was very soft, silky, and gooey at this point.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

The dough was then shaped into two loaves, dusted with more cracked pepper and flour, and left to rise for another 60 minutes. The tops were slashed and these fully proofed loaves were ready for the oven. Look at that gorgeous caramel color!

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

It was so fun to see the loaves rising. :)

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

Done! Fresh out of the oven!

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

This Black Pepper and Marmite Boule is excellent slathered with butter or cream cheese. It is also delicious toasted with shredded cheese on the top.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

I have included the recipe here, slightly adapted from Bread Expectations for my own reference.

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 loaves
  • 3¾ cups (560g) bread flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 sachet (2½ tsp) instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp Marmite
  • 1⅓ cup (320ml) water
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  1. Combine bread flour, sugar, black pepper, salt, and yeast in the stand mixer bowl. Whisk till well mixed. Snap bowl into the stand mixer and attach the dough hook.
  2. Stir Marmite and water together until Marmite is completely dissolved. Pour this liquid into the flour mixture. Turn on mixer to speed 2 and allow it to mix for 3 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl and dough hook when necessary. Remove bowl from stand mixer and cover the bowl with a dinner plate and allow it to rise for 15 minutes.
  3. Snap the bowl back into the stand mixer and turn on machine. Allow it to mix for another 8 minutes until dough is very elastic and smooth.
  4. Remove the dough onto a lightly greased surface. Form into a neat, tight ball. Grease the inside of the bowl and place the ball of dough inside with seam side down. Cover the bowl with the dinner plate and allow it to rise for 1½ hours or until more than double in size.
  5. Lightly grease your hands. Gently turn out the dough onto your work surface and divide it into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball by rotating and tucking the dough under itself until the top is smooth and tight.
  6. Place balls of dough on a try lined with parchment paper. Dust with more crushed black pepper and flour. Cover loosely with shrink wrap and allow it to proof for 60 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Slash a cross on the top of the loves about ½-inch deep. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. Remove and cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

This loaf was made using the bread machine on December 4th, 2014. I reduced the bread flour to 3½ cups (525g) and yeast to 1½ teaspoons. I omitted the dusting with cracked pepper and flour. It turned out to be just as wonderful. :)

Black Pepper and Marmite Boule

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    Hi Biren :) Hope you’re having a great start to the year of the rabbit and enjoying your family festivities!

    Thank you so much for the mentions! I am so honoured and so pleased that you like these loaves – I really did not expect that you would bake them so quickly but I guess that only proves just how much you love Marmite LOL

    They’re beautiful, and I remember how good they smelt when I baked them. Looking at your photos makes me want to make them again tomorrow 😀

    I really cannot say how happy I am to have inspired you to use your gorgeous KitchenAid mixer at last LOL Hope this is the rekindling of an enduring affair with handmade bread for you 😉

    • Biren says

      Thanks Denise! CNY is a quiet affair here. We will be having a small celebration on Saturday.

      I hope I did your recipe justice. I think it is quite beautiful even though it is not as bowl-like. The taste however is AMAZING and I love it! Thank you once again for creating it for me. I am truly touched.

      I knew you would be happy to see me use my KitchenAid. I think hubby is pleased too. Will definitely be making more bread with it. I hand kneaded the Trail Bread but it was hard work. Much easier with the KA.

  2. Haruna says

    Marmite should thank both Denise and Biren for elevating their product to haute cuisine! LOL! Good job with bread.

  3. says

    Oh my goodness!! You used marmite – this is fantastic! You are turning out to be quite the professional baker. Come to think of it you and Denise should begin a joint venture :)

    Truly impressive, dear!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  4. says

    Biren, let me just say your bread looks FANTASTIC. Can you taste the marmite at all? My family think I’m weird (and I might just agree haha) but I can’t even tolerate the smell lol. I LOVE homemade bread and yours looks really really good!

    • Biren says

      Yes, the bread has a savory taste to it. The aroma of the marmite is definitely there. My second son who is not a fan of Marmite tasted this bread and said that it is very good. He was a little apprehansive at first.

  5. says

    Biren this is such a rustic and beautiful bread! It looks perfectly crusty on the outside but deliciously chewy on the inside. I also love making bread but don’t do it often because it’s hard for us to finish up the bread before it goes bad! Sad, I know.

    • Biren says

      You can always freeze your bread. Slice and freeze it. Bread stays fresh in the freezer but not in the fridge. Take out as many slices as you like and allow it to thaw on the counter for 45 minutes and it should be good to go.

  6. says

    Biren, your bread looks fantastic. I have not tried marmots before so am not sure if I would like it or not. Although I DO like the smell and taste of durian so I think I have a pretty threshold when it comes to funny tasting food ;-). I have just started to get into bread making and am loving it. You’ve made Denise proud with these gorgeous loaves. That really was sweet of her to create this recipe for you. Blogging love is so wonderful.

  7. says

    Oh Biren! You are amazing:) I saw this on Denise’s site too. It’s such a beautiful bread. Though she did relate Marmite to earwax (smile). I’m sure it’s fantastic though!

  8. says

    Your bread loaves are beautiful Biren! You are very talented – these are so professional looking. I like the idea of marmite in bread – it seems like a natural pairing!

  9. says

    I made a similar recipe, inspired by Denise’s Marmite Boule! I absolutely love baking bread, in fact we’ve given up buying bread at the store and I love the difference it has made. The expense is so much lower, too. Great interpretation!

  10. says

    i saw this bread on Denise blog the other day. yours look perfect too.

    I start reading Denise blog for a short while, her bread expectation blog being the first one I found. she’s a wonderful baker.

    have a wonderful rest of the week Biren

    • Biren says

      I think some health food stores may carry it. I am sure I’ve seen it somewhere but unfortunately can’t recall exactly where.

  11. says

    I love my Kitchenaid stand mixer too, glad you finally got to use yours :) I’ve never had Marmite, but I’ve heard of it. Would be interesting to try it sometime, and I’m glad you found a cool recipe using it in bread!! It looks so tasty and crusty!

  12. says

    What a beautiful loaf of bread Biren! I love having a food blog because it introduces me to so many new foods I have never had the pleasure of trying. Marmite is one of those. Your recipe is the second I’ve seen now that uses it. Do you know of any place to get it in the states? If not, thankfully I have a UK friend as well that would probably bring me back a jar or two if I asked nicely. :) Have a good weekend and stay warm up there!

    • Biren says

      I think you may be able to get small jars at the health food store but they can be a little costly. I know it is very inexpensive in the UK so you may want to turn on your “charm”. 😉 You have a great weekend too!

  13. says

    Oh Biren, I want to bake bread like you. Must make it a goal for this year. otherwise I am going to drool every time I see freshly baked bread when I drop by…haha. If only you can throw one over to me 😀 Hope you are enjoying your new year.

  14. says

    Hey Biren, the pics are amazing and I loved your step by step explanation- never tried baking bread but now with your recipe, I think I will give it a shot!

  15. says

    Beautiful, crusty bread! I have a much loved bread machine too. I love knowing the ingredients that are going into my bread. No preservatives. It makes fantastic pizza dough too! Have a wonderful weekend.


  16. says

    This just showed up on my FB feed – I don’t why I didn’t see this before..

    okay, this looks absolutely wonderful! I think I am one of a handful of Southerners that like Marmite! Beautiful loaves and such a great use of marmite!



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