Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

ChrisTaylor

Vegemite, Marmite, Promite...yeast extract spreads

Recommended Posts

As a kid my all time and forever favourite thing was my dad's spaghetti bolognese. My dad would use however much beef mince my mum had leftover from making rissoles (translation into non-Australian English: meatballs in instant gravy), 'some' onion, 'some' jarred garlic, 'some' curry powder, 'some' tomato paste and 'some' Vegemite. Vegemite is an Australian product but it is, for the purposes I'm looking at, basically the same thing as Promite and Marmite.

Over the years I've cooked many variations of bolognese but none of them, no matter how many different ingredients go in, taste as good as my dad's version. The sauce, no matter whether I use mince (fresh or supermarket-grade), diced meat or a combination thereof, is never as 'meaty' as what his sauce was. And he wasn't using organic free range whatever from the back paddock: it was really cheap butcher's mince or supermarket mince.

The other day I finally worked up the nerve to spoon Vegemite into my bolognese. And, you know what? I finally cracked the recipe. It was the Vegemite, odd as it sounds, that gave my dad's bolognese sauce that real meaty quality. You can't taste it in the end product. It's not like what you imagine buttering a steak all over with Vegemite to be like. After a hour or so simmering away, it just makes the meat part of the sauce's flavour taste meatier.

Has anyone else experimented with the various *mite products avaliable? I'm meaning to get around to experimenting with other dishes--I see potential in other braises (say, pie fillings, short ribs, lamb shanks) and, possibly--and maybe more controversially, things like pepper sauce for steak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sometimes i use Bovril to make a little sauce after cooking a steak. also, i like a slice of (old) cheese on my Bovril/Vegemite/Marmite smeared toasted dark bread.

do try the Guinness Marmite, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had Marmite or Vegemite (heck, I've never ever heard of Promite!), though they've always intrigued me, since I'm always curious about "love it or hate it" foods. If I understand it correctly, they're basically autolyzed yeast products, right? So they're going to be packed with free glutamates, which would likely work synergistically with the glutamates in the beef and tomatoes in your bolognese, much like anchovy paste or fish sauce would. Sounds like a great use for the product, and I imagine it would be a good umami-enhancer in vegetarian dishes, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm Australian and I haven't tried it. Tend to boost the Umami in my dishes using Heston Blumenthal's suggestion of putting star anise in. I supplement this with dried and powdered shiitake mushroom powder. Will try vegemite in next one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up on Bovril and just love that stuff! Used to just mixed it in hot water to drink as a broth or add some to rice porridge.

Now that we're in Australia, I have been sneaking Vegemite in my cooking. When I want some extra flavor that I would usually use stock for, but don't want to open a box of stock just for that, I put in a spoonful of vegemite. It's been working great. I've added it to gravy, to stew and even some to a laksa like broth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I achieve a very similar outcome with pasta sauce by using 2 or 3 medium sized anchovies. After 2 hours of slow simmering the anchovies dissolve, and there is no detectable anchovy flavour (I have fed it to plenty of people who can't stand the smell, let alone taste of anchovies).

I'm not sure it accentuates the meaty flavour as Vegemite would, but it certainly adds a depth of flavour that is hard to describe. I will try the Vegemite to compare (can't stand eating the stuff myself but my children like it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the inspiration, Chris. I have some beef cheeks in the freezer waiting for me to get them ready for a good sous videing (30 hours/70°C). A wodge of Marmite would be an interesting addition to the bag.

Edited becaue Internet Explorer 9 is doing odd things with formatting tags in eG!


Edited by lesliec (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm Australian and I haven't tried it. Tend to boost the Umami in my dishes using Heston Blumenthal's suggestion of putting star anise in. I supplement this with dried and powdered shiitake mushroom powder. Will try vegemite in next one.

I've tried his method. I think that Vegemite has a more noticeable impact on the flavours. Possibly not what you want if you're aiming for a subtle flavour, tho', but to me bolognese is all about boldness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thought with vegemite in sauces would be to avoid adding any extra salt until the end of cooking. Treat it like fish sauce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thought with vegemite in sauces would be to avoid adding any extra salt until the end of cooking. Treat it like fish sauce.

I added it at the start because I figured the very strong flavour would take a while to mellow out--and because Blumenthal adds his signature star anise pod at the start, when he's caramelising the onions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would adding marmite taste different than adding straight msg? I picked up a jar of marmite out of curiosity a while back but have never been really sure what to do with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of Bovril -- back in the 60s my mom would give us kids the task of making bovril toasts for the cocktail parties. Mix a little bovril into butter, shmear on some baguette slices, grate some parm over the top and bake until crisped. These were addictively good - the perfect salty counterpoint to a dry martini. (If you make them, make lots, they keep very well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Marmite. But disregard my taste for it, which many find odd - my boyfriend and others loved a chili I made where it was a secret ingredient.

The recipe was, more or less, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's chili on Serious Eats:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/01/how-to-make-the-best-chili-ever-recipe-super-bowl.html

Intellectually I prefer a purer chili - the sort that John Thorne describes in the "Bowl of Texas Red' chapter in Serious Eats. The three ingredients - dried chiles, beef, and fat. But Kenji's chili was absolutely killer. I recommend giving it a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Danes and others may be able to access umami paste, tho'. In the 'epicure' section of yesterday's paper I saw a write up on umami paste (not sure if it's a local product, but presumably the same sort of thing can be found elsewhere). Umami paste is made from tomato paste, garlic, anchovy paste, parmesan, porcini powder and Lord knows what else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Danes and others may be able to access umami paste, tho'. In the 'epicure' section of yesterday's paper I saw a write up on umami paste (not sure if it's a local product, but presumably the same sort of thing can be found elsewhere). Umami paste is made from tomato paste, garlic, anchovy paste, parmesan, porcini powder and Lord knows what else.

It's supposed to be coming to Australia. Interested in trying it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing with Vegemite in sauces like chili or spaghetti. It certainly can't hurt if used judiciously. Recently, I've used My First Vegemite, which gives you greater control on the salt.

I wonder if the Danes are worried about the folate - as was falsely rumored to be a concern in the US. Folate can mask a serious deficiency in B-12. I can't believe that's a huge issue, except in rare cases and the benefits IMO would outweigh the problems. Marmite has heaps of B-12, anyway. Kraft's website doesn't list B-12 in vegemite but do for My First.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing with Vegemite in sauces like chili or spaghetti. It certainly can't hurt if used judiciously. Recently, I've used My First Vegemite, which gives you greater control on the salt.

How does My First Vegemite compare to regular Vegemite in terms of flavor? Is it just less salty or actually has a different taste to it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . .

Has anyone else experimented with the various *mite products avaliable? I'm meaning to get around to experimenting with other dishes--I see potential in other braises (say, pie fillings, short ribs, lamb shanks) and, possibly--and maybe more controversially, things like pepper sauce for steak.

I add it to all sorts of things all the time. If something tastes like it could use a boost (sauces, soups, whatever), I reach for the brown jar.

Incidentally, no matter how experimental you may be feeling, do not try even the tiniest amount in hot chocolate (even if you make it without milk, as I do), regardless of how well you may manage to rationalize the experiment (this may seem like an unnecessary warning, but I like to believe there are others out there who may have at least momentarily considered this).

. . . .I wonder if the Danes are worried about the folate - as was falsely rumored to be a concern in the US. Folate can mask a serious deficiency in B-12. I can't believe that's a huge issue, except in rare cases and the benefits IMO would outweigh the problems. Marmite has heaps of B-12, anyway. Kraft's website doesn't list B-12 in vegemite but do for My First.

Based on my personal experience, I'd have to say that Danes aren't worried about all that much, nutrition-wise, although they do talk about concerns quite a lot. Essentially, the government seems to have an issue with fortified foods, because (if I understood the conversation correctly, which is open to question, given the iffy quality of my Danish) they want to prevent their being pushed as nutritional supplements in their own right; there was a similar fuss some years back over Red bull.

Incidentally, I could almost swear that my usual place for getting Marmite still has it... I'm not going to identify the place, since I don't want to get the owners in trouble, and I want to be able to get my hands on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My father used to be a chef and used to use a mixture of Marmite and British (hot) mustard in the gravy for meals. Years later I only found this out after serving him the very same thing due to cooking veggie gravy for my other half, sneaky beef(ish) taste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing with Vegemite in sauces like chili or spaghetti. It certainly can't hurt if used judiciously. Recently, I've used My First Vegemite, which gives you greater control on the salt.

How does My First Vegemite compare to regular Vegemite in terms of flavor? Is it just less salty or actually has a different taste to it?

I find it a bit hard to say because I find the salt so overwhelming in regular Vegemite. I have MightyMite at home because it is a bit less salty. To me, My First tastes quite malty and maybe not so "dark".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dearly love either Marmite or Bovril on buttered toast, and have rescued many a blandish beef stew or pot roast with a dollop of Bovril, which I now can only find at British grocery stores here in S. Florida. :angry: Does any know any local sources for it here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By KennethT
      Is there a discussion in the book about the purpose of adding ascorbic acid?  I just saw the contest #2 in which the recipe called for it.  I'm curious because a woman I know on the internet used to work in a bakery in Vietnam, and said that to get similar results to the banh mi there, you need to add ascorbic acid.  Does it act as a gluten relaxer?  Traditional banh mi have a very tender and crisp crust, and a very light and tender, relatively closed crumb.
    • By Kasia
      A SANDWICH TO GO
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a snack which you can grab and eat "on the go". I know that it is unhealthy. We should celebrate eating and eat calmly and with deliberation. However, sometimes the day is too short for everything on our schedule and we still have to eat. Admittedly, we can sin and go for some fast food, but it is healthier and tastier to prepare something quickly in our own kitchen.

      Today, Camembert cheese and cranberries in a fresh, crunchy roll take the lead role. It sounds easy and yummy, doesn't it? Try it and get on with your day . Today I used a homemade cranberry preserve which was left over from dessert, but if you like you can buy your own.

      Ingredients:
      2 fresh rolls (your favourite ones)
      150g of camembert cheese
      1 handful of lettuce
      2 teaspoons of butter
      2 teaspoons of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
      preserve
      100g of fresh cranberries
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      100ml of apple juice

      Wash the cranberries. Put the cranberries, sugar and apple juice into a pan with a heavy bottom and boil with the lid on for 10-12 minutes, stirring from time to time. Try it and if necessary add some sugar. Leave to cool down. Cut the rolls in half and spread with the butter. Put some lettuce on one half of the roll. Slice the camembert cheese and arrange it on the lettuce. Put a fair portion of the cranberry preserve on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with the roast pine nuts or sunflower seeds and cover with the second half of the roll.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Dave the Cook
      Modernist Bread is out now, but maybe you haven't taken the plunge. Here's your chance to win your own copy, courtesy of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.
       
      For part two, we're featuring another cornerstone recipe from the book: Direct Country-Style Bread. The only leavener here is instant yeast, so production time is considerably shortened. The relative lack of flavor compared to long-proofed doughs is offset by the use of whole grains. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):
       




    • By Raamo
      HOST'S NOTE: This post and those that follow were split off from the pre-release discussion of Modernist Bread.
      *****
       
      Figured I don't need to dump all this into the contest thread - so I'll post here.  My journey to making my first MC loaf.
       
      Her's the poolish after >12 hours:

       
       
      Not pictured - water with yeast in it below the bread flour and poolish

       
      That went into the mixer and not long later I had a shaggy mass:
       

       
      That rested for a while - then mixed until medium gluten formation - a window pane that was both opaque and translucent (no picture for that slightly messy part)
       
      Folded and rested, folded and rested, I think this is 1/2 the mass now ready to rest one final time.
       

       
      Proofed it in the oven - I have a picture of that but it's just foggy window oven
       
      Then it went into the oven, here it is at max temp - 450 with steam turned on.
       

       
      Completed loaf:
       
      \
       
      And the crumb - this is awesome bread:

       
    • By Chris Hennes
      Next week marks the official release of the highly-anticipated Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya. The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters is excited to provide you with the opportunity to win a copy of the book. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.
       
      For our first recipe, we're starting with a cornerstone recipe from the book: French Lean Bread. I've personally made this one and it's both delicious and completely approachable by anyone with an interest in this book. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):
       





       
      The recipes in this book tend to rely on information presented more extensively earlier in the books, so if anything isn't clear enough here please ask and Dave and I will do our best to answer your questions (we've had early digital access to the books for the last month or so).
       
      ETA: Here's what my first go at the recipe sounded like coming out of the oven...
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×