Soft Vegemite Bread Scrolls

What is better than fresh bread scrolls, hot out of the oven? Fresh Vegemite bread scrolls, hot out of the oven. In Australia a common Vegemite question is “How much Vegemite do you put on your toast?” Well these Vegemite scrolls are loaded with this nutritious spread. Vegemite scrolls are a great treat in any lunchbox and they freeze well, if you can withstand not finishing them straight away.

Makes: 6-8 scrolls | Preparation: 2 x 10 min | Proving: 1 hour + 30 min | Baking: 25 minutes

Who connected us?! My first encounter with Vegemite happened when I was at a stay over with some other students back in the Netherlands. We had breakfast together, which in The Netherlands most commonly is having sandwiches with any kind of spread. Eager to try, I was warned not to put too much Vegemite on my sandwich, but hey what could go wrong, I spread as if it was Nutella. You guessed it; that was a mistake, and my first bite granted for a lot of laughter. The entire group had tears in their eyes, me included.

The dough

  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 15g fresh yeast or 10g dried yeast
  • 15g honey (or sugar)
  • 10g table salt
  • 320ml tepid water

The filling

  • Vegemite
  • 150g diced Ham
  • 100g grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 50g Baby Spinach or Rocket
  • Handful of fresh herbs like Oregano

Making the dough:

  • Add the honey and yeast to the 320 ml tepid water, stir and leave for a few minutes until the mixture develops some bubbles on top.
  • For the next 2 steps I use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  • Mixing; Put the flour in your mixing bowl and add the yeast & water mixture to the flour while the mixer is on low speed. Once all is incorporated you add the salt.
  • Kneading; Knead the dough for about 5 minutes to activate the gluten in the dough. The dough should get smooth and soft and will have some elasticity.
  • After this I usually knead the dough for a few more minutes by hand, folding and stretching the dough. Kneading the dough is an important step because it develops the gluten that ensures the bread gets airy light and develops its shape. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.
    • If you like you can mix and knead the dough by hand. On a large clean surface, make a pile of all the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour half of the dissolved yeast mixture into the centre and with four fingers of one hand make circular movements, from the centre working outwards, slowly bringing in the dry ingredients until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Pour the rest of the yeast mixture and the 20g salt into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)
  • Make the dough into a roundish shape and place it in a bowl that is big enough to let the dough double in size. Cover with a damp towel and leave the bread to prove for the first time. Basically we want it to double in size. You want a warm, draught-free place for the quickest prove, for example near the cooker, in an airing cupboard, in the plate warmer of a cooker or just in a warm room. This proving process matures the flour flavour and should take approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the conditions.

Filing and Baking:

Now it’s time to roll your scrolls. You can use the ingredients I suggested or make you own twist. If you don’t have Vegemite you can use tomato paste, ham can be replace with speck or bacon. Your choices are endless, like with making a pizza. As long as you put enough filling in there, otherwise the scrolls will be bland.

  • Take a round baking tin off about 26″ and line with baking paper. This tin size is about right for this recipe, but if you do not have a round baking tin, any other tray will do.
  • Clean you kitchen bench or kitchen table and sprinkle with flour.
  • Now that the dough is nicely risen it’s time to knock it back. Knead and punch the dough, knocking all the air out of it, for about a minute.
  • Take a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle of about 40 x 30 cm and 0,5 cm thickness.
  • Spread the Vegemite onto the dough.
  • Sprinkle the herbs, ham, grated cheese and baby spinach onto the dough.

Method 1, rolling your scrolls separately:

  • Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough lengthwise in strips from about 3cm wide.
  • Role up the strips, and put them in the baking thin that you have lined up with baking paper. If your tin is a lot bigger, just cut the strip smaller in size and you will get more rolls that are just a but thinner.

Method 2, making 1 big roll:

Making one big roll and then cutting the roll in seperate pieces is a lot quicker and you can still choose to make thinner or thicker pieces to your own preferences.

  • Once your thin is filled, sprinkle some more cheese on top, cover the tin and let the rolls rise for another 30 minutes. The will puff up a little bit, not a lot.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s cooked. If you think it looks golden and you think it is cooked, carefully take it out of the tin, not to burn your hands. You can tell if it’s cooked by tapping its bottom, if it sounds hollow it’s cooked, if it doesn’t, pop it back in the oven for a little longer.
  • Place the bread scrolls on a wire rack to cool. Ready to tear apart soon!

Notes:

  • How to roll: I choose to roll the scrolls one by one because I like them all to be a bit different in size for a more dramatic effect. Alternatively you can roll the entire piece in one go and them cut them to size. Quicker for sure!
  • Vegemite; what is Vegemite made from? Vegemite is a typical Australian product made from yeast extract and various vegetables and spice.
  • Alternatives for Vegemite; Vegemite is an Australian product. The Brits have the equivalent of Marmite. If you can’t get either, you can use tomato paste. Other nice combinations for scrolls are: – Ham, Pineapple & Cheese, Bacon and Cheese, Raisins, Cinnamon and Icing. Your choices are endless, as long as you heavily load them.
  • Is Vegemite good for you? Vegemite definitely has nutritious values. Vegemite is one of the richest sources of vitamins B1, B2, B9 & B12. Vegemite is high in Sodium, 3.45% which is equal to a salt ratio of 8.6% and therefore you have to be careful with your consumption
  • Bread Flour; you could take a short cut and use all purpose flour, but you lose in taste and bread-structure.
  • Honey or Sugar; a bit of sugar or honey helps to activate the yeast. For the process both sugar or honey will do the job. I choose honey because it is a natural product.
  • Tepid water; we use lukewarm water to activate the yeast. Yeast needs a bit of warmed to do its job.
  • Salt; 10 grams of salt looks like a lot, but you definitely need it otherwise the bread taste bland. We put in the salt after the yeast mixture is combined with the flour, otherwise the salt might kill the yeast and your bread will not rise.
  • Kneading, the fun part; kneading yeast based bread allows the gluten to develop which makes bread airy and light. Without well-developed gluten, your bread would be flat and densed.
  • When the bread is proving, the yeast is feeding on the honey in the warmth of the tepid water. In theory the three things that all bacteria need to grow are heat, moisture and food. Any excess of these three things will kill the yeast (as well as salt, which seasons the bread – it’s not half so nice without it, but it does slow down the proving to some extent).

Try some Ciabatta or Focaccia next!

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