It's toast-time at BakeryBits and we want you to get adventurous about the flours you use for the bread you bake: so many possibilities

As bakers we get very focused on what goes in our bread, wanting the best flour (BakeryBits probably has the best selection of great flour online), the finest sea salt (yes BakeryBits sells a range of salt too), but often we are less interested in what goes on it. Well, confession time: as a card-carrying patron of The World’s Original Marmalade Awards, now in its 15th year attracting thousands of entries from all over the world (yes, even Peru), I will be insisting that for this month you do your bit to help the British economy and eat as much marmalade as you possibly can.
This week we’re trying to tackle one of the world’s most challenging issues… what is the best bread to eat with marmalade? Do you have a favourite? Tell us, or even better send a picture of your bread and marmalade combination. Post it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #bakerybits and we'll find it and tell the world how amazing you are.

The best bread always starts with the best flour, and with BakeryBits you get the reassurance that all our flours are tested, making it easier to bake great results, and we know their special character will add magic to your bread. Right now, this is what we're really impressed with, that you must try:

The Prior’s Organic Strong White Flour
Stone-milled, with a cream colour and a light wheaten flavour
Gilchester Organic 100% Whole Wheat Flour
Hearty, slightly granular wholemeal, great mixed with rollermilled white
Redbournbury Organic 85% Wholemeal Flour
Lovely nutty flavour, makes the most decious bread

Also, BakeryBits has a NEW easy-to-make recipe section that’s designed for beginner bakers and those of us (me included) with busy lives who still aren’t sure they can be bothered to bake at the moment. These recipes are all really easy to rustle up if you’re back to work – only need a few ingredients and a bit of kneading - then you get back on your laptop and let the rise happen, until it's ready to put in the oven when you get a moment. And have the ultimate work-from-home coffee break with bread and marmalade!

But if you’re still wondering, we’ve asked some friends who cook and bake for their bread preferences (with a link below each to our easy bread recipe suggestions) … including a close friend of that loveable Peruvian bear…

Paddington illustration, Ⓒ Bob Alley, artist

Karen Jankel, lifelong friend to the marmalade-sandwich loving Paddington Bear, and daughter of his creator Michael Bond.

karen jankelDid I have a favourite bread to eat with marmalade? It’s a very easy question to answer and the answer is yes. If you’re making a marmalade sandwich and you’re Paddington, it has to be white bread. But not supermarket plastic bread, it would have to be homemade and a kind of farmhouse loaf type. Thick cut, well-buttered, and then obviously a very thick layer of marmalade to make the very best sandwich. Crusts left on. Paddington wouldn’t put anything to waste at all. Now my father, who did enjoy his food, wouldn’t have eaten a marmalade sandwich but did enjoy his toast. And whilst he did like brown bread and wholemeal bread, if he was having it with marmalade again it would be white toast.

As a child I probably did need to learn to like marmalade, like many children. I probably did find it a bit bitter but I don’t remember ever having actively disliked marmalade, but I probably began to like it more and more as I got older. And my father introduced me to having marmalade with bacon for breakfast, and that’s probably how I first got to really like it. My father always like to have a spoonful of marmalade on his plate when he was having bacon. So my father would definitely have approved of a bacon and marmalade sandwich.

The best marmalade to have with bread is a classic Seville orange preserve. In Paddington’s case he likes his marmalade chunky but not the dark-and-chunky sort – Paddington always refers to them as “chunks” rather than “peel” – so a chunky marmalade but not too dark.

Try our crusty, almost-white farmhouse tin loaf recipe here

Richard Corrigan, multi-award-winning Irish chef and one of the UK’s top restaurateurs with Corrigan's Mayfair, Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill, Bentley's Sea Grill in Harrods in London, and Virginia Park Lodge in Virginia, County Cavan

richard corrigan

Toast and marmalade, Dan. I’ll tell you something: Every country has their use for old bread.  Italian cooks have their breadcrumbs sprinkled on pasta, or make panzanella. In Ireland, my mam would make her soda bread, and after a few days it would go quite hard. At that point we’d always toast it, and the marmalade put on it softens it. Give me the crunchiness of the biscuity soda bread, with a cup of good English breakfast tea. I’ll tell you what Dan, there are few better things to have for breakfast in life.

You know, everyone is chasing around after their sourdoughs, including yourself: get a grip. A good chunky soda bread, it might be the fool’s bread, the simple bread, but by God it’s tasty. I’m a huge fan, and any leftover buts can be turned into a soda bread ice-cream.

There’s a great English recipe from a woman called Francis Smith - she used to grow salads and breed guinea fowl down in Appledore – and she used to deliver to me when I opened Mulligan’s in Cork Street in 1991. I drove down to Francis’s with Myrtle Allen from Ballymalloe who had come over, and I drove down and picked up my Guinea Fowl and I pickles up my salads, and I gave everyone Gunes Fowl and salad to everyone for the opening of Mulligans. And for that night Francis gave me a recipe for Brown Bread Ice Cream, with toasted soda bread (basically anything leftover from your soda bread) with a good slug of madeira in there as well, and then you put a big dollop of marmalade on top of the ice-cream when you serve it. I don’t think it’s actually an Irish recipe: I think it’s more likely a very old-school English recipe [Frederick Nutt’s The Complete Confectioner from 1790 is one of the earliest (DL)]. But when you make it with soda bread as opposed to wholemeal bread, it’s so much better. You can’t keep the ice-cream a long time, you must make and serve it within the day. When you’ve churned your ice-cream only then put the toasted breadcrumbs in, a really good amount of orange zest, a good dash of madeira, and a spoonful of marmalade if you want: but don’t churn it too much. I’ll tell you something, it’s a beautiful ice-cream to eat within 8 hours. You get a factory-feel to everything in if you over-work it: if you just let it have clumps of soda bread in it then it’s fantastic, it tastes great on the palate.

Make our Three-Grain Soda Bread recipe here

Jeremy Lee, guest judge on the Great British Menu, head chef at one of London’s oldest restaurants, Quo Vadis in Soho, and author of the upcoming Cooking: Simply and Well for One or Many (4th Estate, Sep 2022).

jeremy leeWell being the devil I am I love Wiltshire lardy cake and marmalade, and also with butter spread on it. I’ve had friends say “are you actually insane and want to have a cardiac arrest” and I say “yes I am, this is my most delicious sin”. Honestly, it’s a rare treat that I get in Wiltshire and if you can find one of the few and possibly last bakeries still making them, you must try it. Also marmalade on Aberdeen Rowies for sure, as I’m from Scotland. Just warmed in the oven, split in half and slathered with butter and marmalade, absolutely one of the loveliest things ever. English muffins and crumpets too are a delight.

I still get very misty-eyed about mums marmalade, one of my great regrets is that I’ll never be able to eat that again as sadly she is no longer with us. So I try to emulate her one which was just a wash with Seville oranges. But the one we make now at Quo Vadis, we’ve started putting blood oranges in as well. It gives it the most beautiful colour and it slightly tempers the Sevilles which is rather lovely.

We’re not making bread at QV right now, sadly, our wonderful baker Karol went back to Bratislava but he did a spectacular innings. But we’ve still got all the kit and it’s one of the things we’re looking forward to doing in 2022: firing that bakery up because it’s been a sleeping-beauty all through this covid nonsense. But we’ve had great luck. The chef Tom Adams, who used to cook with me at the Blueprint Café, has set up Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall

and his amazing baker Ben Glazer makes these incredible loaves using flour from all the good folk around Britain who are growing their own crops, like Gilchesters and such. So we get out bread delivered from Cornwall. There is this tendency, and it’s very easy to fall into in London with the great suppliers we have, for all the restaurants to be serving pretty-much the same ingredients. And we’re very conscious of what might draw people into Soho from their cosy homes, and having something different and unique and fantastic is very much what we love to do.

Try our English Cider Cornmeal Muffin recipe here

Jackie Mckinson, head baker and owner of Aries Bakehouse in Brixton, London

jackie mckinson

Yes I do eat marmalade. I have a neighbour at our shop named Paul who’d make marmalade every January and give me a pot. And then, only about a year and a half ago, I added it to my butter pound cake recipe and it was delicious, I loved it. But the best bread to eat with marmalade has got to be sourdough. It’s light – well, mine is, our “Brixton Sour” – it’s full of flavour, and I think it carries marmalade really well. I make our sourdough with a mix of white, wholemeal, rye and spelt, so it’s got a wholesome flavour but it’s a high-hydration, so it’s really light and makes great toast.

Now it does have big holes through it, and the marmalade can fall through. But the holes in our sourdough are not too big. Some sourdoughs have huge holes but ours are just right I believe. We try to keep a balance because we have some customers who love the holes and others who say they can’t butter their toast, “there’s not enough butter-to-bread ration because of the holes”, hehehe. Things like this. But I think we’ve found the balance.

Baking is what I love, it’s actually my therapy, it’s saved me to be honest. It’s been a huge welcome distraction from what’s going on – the pandemic and everything – so I’m trying really hard to hold onto it, because I’m so proud of it, I’m so proud of where we’ve got to. And the team I’ve got working here are amazing. Long may it continue. I love doing it but it is really hard. I don’t think people realise the hours and time you put into it. A lot of people just think it’s instant, that the breads are just there, and they don’t really think about it. I’m really proud of how far we’ve come with it.

Check out our French-Style Crusty White Bread

BakeryBits baker and GBBO winner David Atherton is a huge marmalade fan, and this year judging Rathbone’s Next Generation category at The World Marmalade Awards in Cumbria.

david athertonI do actually like a malted bread, and I also like the ones that have all the seeds that go crispy and crackly and crunchy on top, like sunflower seeds, I think that sort of bread goes really well with marmalade. I think marmalade marries well with other kinds of warm flavours, like nuts and seeds and malt. And all the flavours in wholemeal flour. I don’t like marmalade when it’s got no rind at all, I like it when it’s thin-cut.

And with different marmalades and jams, it’s the perfect time to experiment with different breads recipes, different flours. Bread making can be really easy but you do have to practice a few times. I think in the excitement of making bread for the first time we all hope it’ll be perfect the first time and often it takes a few goes to perfect a recipe. Say like for lining the tin with baking paper: that can be tricky but what I do now, especially with children, is show them you can crunch the cut sheet into a ball and then then when you un-scrunch it, it’ll press much more easily into the corners of the tin, or muffin case, or whatever.

Try our Malted Multigrain Bread recipe here

Michael James, Cornwall-born Australian artisan baker, author of The Tivoli Road Baker, and All-Day Baking (Hardie-Grant)

michael james

When I arrived back in the UK from Australia the one of the first things I ate was Seville Orange Marmalade at Kimberley Bell’s Small Food Bakery in Nottingham on wholemeal bread. I generally like marmalade on a light rye or multigrain breads. I’m the only one in our house that eats marmalade so normally it’s a multigrain-style bread with lots of seeds and crunch as that’s sets off the bitterness of the Seville orange favour really well. Actually, all of the preserves I enjoy I eat on that style of bread.

I frequently make and use marmalade, when we get the bitter oranges in from (Australia’s) Yarra Valley: I’ll make a batch of marmalade and use it for puddings in the baker, or make a cake with it. Say a Courgette & Seville orange teacake. And always put some in our Christmas puddings each year.

Seville is probably my favourite marmalade, but I really like a good three-fruit – grapefruit, lemon and orange. I don’t often buy  it but when I see it I definitely will by a jar. Especially like it when it has a beautiful jelly and isn’t overcooked or overly-sweet. That’s why I enjoyed it at Kimberley’s bakery, she really nails that set and flavour.

Make our 100% Emmer bread with pumpkin seeds

Ian & Dominique Pediani, owner-bakers at Big Bear Bakery, Glasgow, one of the top viennoiserie and retail bread bakeries in the city, making sourdough pastries, sweet treats, savouries, and sourdough bread.

ian dominique big bear bakeryThere are two breads I like with marmalade, actually, out of what we make. The Danish Rye, it’s like a Nordic bread full of seeds, toast that up, gets the seeds all crackling with a little bit of butter and a wee spoonful of marmalade on that. Or just plain white: sometimes it’s just got to be simple. Say like a plain white sourdough, nice butter, nice spread of marmalade. I don’t know if this is the right thing to say but I like the sweet marmalade. I grew up with my mum making marmalade, my aunty making marmalade, I actually picked up a jar the other day from an aunty who knew I liked it.

I’ve been baking for 15 years now, but I am working a lot less than what I used to work. We’ve got a great team: I’m actually looking for another 5 people to join us. Basically, my unit is not big enough so I’m taking over the next-door space: we’re a retail bakery and a wholesale bakery, and I can’t run both at full capacity now. At the moment we do three days wholesale and three days retail. So this will create a big space where we can deal with all of it, or open other shops and do more retail, it just gives us options. We wholesale cakes and traybakes, then retail the bread and viennoiserie. That’s why people keep coming back to our shop as you cannae buy it anywhere else. But we wholesale our carrot cakes and cheesecakes right across the city. And that’s how I got into this business, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been teaching myself the “fancy stuff”, the viennoiserie, the sourdoughs, panettone.

During the lockdown we lost all of our wholesale work, so we extended the opening hours of the shop. Previously the shop was only open two days a week but during the last few years we’ve managed to be open more days, and it’s been amazing seeing the results. It seems to be looking like retail is the way forward for us.

Last year I really got into the panettone making, I was making nearly every single day, all I did from October to December was make panettone, and I nailed it. My last panettone, the last three batches, were up there with any that I’ve seen on the internet. And then I was like, “ok, I’ve ticked that box,” I did it more as a thing I wanted to learn. I’d really struggled making it in the years before, failed badly, I never left myself enough time. So in October I just got on board, I converted my starter (to a lievito di madre), I carried it around everywhere with me – I’d have it in the car with me – and I created a 12-hour feeing schedule. Doing it all by hand. And just from that…I worked it out.

Being on Instagram is really helping us: we’ve got quite a Glasgow-specific following but we’re starting to reach further afield. Then you start getting people who’ve been into the shop on holiday, they’ll take a photo, post it and then they’ll tag you.

For a full-on seeded bread try our Dark Malt Crown Loaf