Article from Maine Windjammer Association August 2018 Newsletter ()
May 31, 2014
Fresh from the Galley: Schooner Bread

Credit: Fred LeBlanc

Galley crew aboard the Heritage knead bread early in the morning to avoid having lopsided loaves that can result from letting the bread bake during long tacks under sail!

A windjammer cruise is a veritable feast for the senses; gazing at glorious scenery, feeling the wind in your hair and the warmth of the sun on your shoulders, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves against the hull of the boat at night. And the smells! Ah! The tang of the salt air, the pungency of wood burning in a cast iron stove and . . .sniff! What's that? Mmm-mmmm freshly baking bread! Oh my! There is nothing like it in the world. Always a treat, the fragrance of fresh bread is further enhanced by the aroma of a blazing wood stove browning the crust of perfectly baked loaves.

Many of the wood stoves on the schooners are not equipped with thermometers, and none have dials to set or adjust temperature. To ready the stove for baking bread, the boats cook must throw a log or two onto the fire, adjust dampers, and try to time the baking time to coordinate with the end of the rising time for the yeasty loaves, also keeping in mind that the evening's roast and perhaps an apple cobbler need to share the oven space. To determine the appropriate temperature? Experience and feel. The cook opens the oven door and thrusts his/her hand in. Is it hot? Well, it may be very warm, but not so hot as to feel an uncomfortable burn. That means it's not hot enough. Do the eyebrows and eyelashes feel a singeing when the door is pulled open? Yes? Then it's too hot . . . good for biscuits or popovers, but too hot for bread. For bread the oven needs to be just hot enough to make the cook want to withdraw his/her hand right away. Fortunately, at home you do have an oven with temperature settings, and the following recipes suggest oven temperatures for you.

Rosemary Sunflower Bread yield: 1 oblong loaf
From the Mary Day

1 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg yeast (1 scant Tbsp)
½ cup warm water
½ cup milk plus ½ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup rye flour
¼ cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup raisins
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp crushed rosemary
Extra flour for kneading and shaping; about ½ cup

Pour boiling water over the raisins and let them plump for about ½ hour. Drain. Toss together flours, cornmeal, and salt and set aside. Proof yeast with the sugar in the ½ C warm water. Heat milk and second quantity of water until lukewarm and combine in a large bowl with the yeast and olive oil. Add flours mixture gradually, mixing well. Stir in the seeds, raisins and rosemary. Knead for 10 minutes or so, adding extra flour as necessary. Let rise in an olive oiled bowl, covered and in a warm place, for about an hour, until doubled in bulk. Punch down and form into an oblong loaf. Let rise again on a greased baking sheet until almost doubled. With a knife or razor blade make slashes at intervals across the top. Bake at 400˚ for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375˚ and bake for about 30 minutes longer. Loaf should make a hollow sound when bottom is tapped. If top gets too brown during baking, cover loosely with foil.

Focaccia yield: one large flat loaf
From the Stephen Taber

Great to serve with a pasta dinner, this simple bread doesn’t need a second rising, which can be a wonderful time saver!

1 Tbsp yeast
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp salt
¼ C olive oil
4-5 cups flour
1- 1½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Coarse salt

Mix 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt in warm water. Add olive oil and stir. Add remaining flour ½ cup at a time. Add rosemary and turn out onto a floured surface and knead until dough forms a ball, about 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl and let rise until doubled. Punch down and flatten dough out on an oiled baking sheet. Indent with fingers and drizzle with more olive oil and coarse salt. You can top with fresh tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes that have been soaked in oil, caramelized garlic cloves, chopped basil, feta cheese—use your imagination. Let sit for 5 minutes and then bake in a very hot oven for about 15 minutes.

“Shaker” Daily Loaf yield: two loaves
From the Victory Chimes

1 Tbsp yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
6-7 cups flour

In a bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, salt to a simmer and then allow to cool to lukewarm. Add to the bowl with the yeast and water. Pour flour into a large bowl and gradually add the liquid until dough doesn’t stick to the hands. Knead for 10 minutes, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and knead lightly, shape into loaves, brush with melted butter and let rise to twice its bulk. Bake at 350˚ for 50 minutes.

For more recipes from the fleet, please visit our Galley webpage.


Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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