Talking about bread spread. Recently I interviewed Emily Blunt, when asked what the British actress carries with her on her journeys, she exclaimed “Marmite”. Since I have never heard of it, she described it as “ a vegetarian bread spread with a distinctive taste.” This distinctive taste stems from the fact that it is made yeast extract. Now it dawned on me! My mother made a bread spread that only she liked. Its smell made us children run as far away as we could.
I grew up in Graz where we had three famous beer breweries (Gösser, Reininghaus and Puntigamer). That may explain why many of my friends even back home never heard of Vis as we call this yeast extract. As it happens many times, growing up changes tastes and when ever I go back to Graz my mother makes Vis. And I love it! Here is the Vis recipe which for a long time was a so called poor peoples bread spread because it was a cheap by product of beer brewing. A healthy alternative for the fasting season that starts with Ash Wednesday.
Vis Bread spread
25 dag Vis or Yeast Extract (powder)
2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon capers
1 Tablespoon mustard
1 Tablespoon mild, red Paprika powder
3-4 small pickles
3-4 Cups of bouillon or water
1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
Fresh garden herbs eg. Parsley, cilantro, chives,
Cut the onion fine and roast them briefly in oil. Lower the temperature of the flame. Pour the yeast extract slowly in the pan. Stir constantly otherwise it burns. Add the mild, red paprika powder. Continue to stir. Pour bouillon or water and stir the mixture. Put the bread crumbs in and stir it until the mixture becomes thick. Keep stirring on low flame to avoid agglomerating. As soon as the mixture is thick and creamy, remove it from the stove. Now add the finely cut capers, pickles and other fresh herbs and cool it in the refrigerator.