Baking aBoard Black Diamond!
Yes it is possible to bake aboard your boat, and it is easier than you think. My wife Roxane has baked all sorts of goodies for us; Birthday Cakes, Cup Cakes, Breads, Egg Loaf, Braided Chala Bread, croissant, Banana Bread, Pizzas, Muffins, Hamburger buns, the list goes on. We also enjoy such things as waffles, pan cakes, crepes and french toast.
When we are cruising, especially in the Bahamas, we are often in very remote places, away from settlements, therefore no stores to purchase these items from. When we are near towns and grocery stores in the Bahamas, you could pay as much as $10 for a loaf of bread in a remote settlement, and even in populated towns you can pay as much as $6 a loaf. They also make great gifts for cruiser friends, especially those that have helped you out in some way!
Roxane makes most of these from scratch and in our boat oven. We usually bake a loaf a day, and can start to be a bit time consuming, so we purchased a bread machine for the boat. You drop the ingredients in and in about 2 hours you have a fresh loaf. We started our recent cruise from Toronto with two large 50lb bags of flour, and enough yeast and sugar to kill a horse.
The regular boat oven is very capable for baking, we have two 10lb propane tanks, and with all the cooking we do onboard it they usually last about a month. The bread machine requires some power, a little less than you might think, but still consumes. About an hour is mixing and kneading and letting it rise, which takes no power. The remaining hour is baking. When at anchor, we run the bread machine when we are generating electricity anyways for the batteries, and have either our generator or engine running. We have a 2000 watt inverter, with 4 AGM 110 Amp hour batteries, providing over 400 amp hours of power. We could run it just on the inverter, but I never do that.
The best method, is to use the bread machine for the mixing and kneading, then use your propane boat oven for the cooking. This uses the least elbow grease and electrical power!
Here are a couple of recipes of Roxanes for baking bread.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
- Add yeast and 1 tbsp of flour to one cup of water until foamy (30 – 40 minutes)
- Using dough hooks add remaining water, salt and half of flour.
- Add rest of flour (should come clean away from bowl).
- Shape into a loaf, cover and let rise (approx. 1 hour)
- Brush with water and bake for 45 minute
(5 mL) granulated sugar
(125 mL) water, warm
dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp/11 mL)
(250 mL) milk, warm
(30 mL) butter
(30 mL) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp
(7 mL) salt
(125 mL) water, warm
5 1/2 cups
Dissolve 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar in 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water in large mixing bowl.
Sprinkle in yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well.
Combine milk, butter, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sugar, salt and 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm
water. Add milk mixture and 2 cups (500 mL) flour to dissolved yeast mixture. Beat with
wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth and elastic.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of remaining flour gradually. If necessary, add more flour to
make a soft dough which leaves sides of bowl. Turn out on floured board. Round up into
a ball. Knead dough, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is smooth, elastic and no
longer sticky (about 10 minutes).
Place in lightly greased bowl. Turn dough to greased top. Cover with parchment paper
and tea towel.
Let rise in warm place (75°-85°F/24°-29°C) until doubled (45 to 60 minutes).
Punch Down. Turn out onto lightly floured board and divide into 2 equal portions. Cover
and let rest for 10 minutes.
Shape each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down in 2 greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2
3/4″ (1.5 L) loaf pans. Cover with tea towel.
Let Rise in warm place until dough rises 1 1/2″ (3 cm) above top of pan in centre and
corners are filled (45 to 60 minutes).
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Bake on lower oven rack of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from pans
immediately. Brush top crust with butter if a soft crust is desired. Cool on wire racks