Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Update from Kyle appended
[Maryanne]I've been working up to it for months now.. Cooking bread on the stove top.

I found two recipes/methods that basically agreed with each other. One from the book by the famous sailor, Hal Roth: How to Sail around the World, the other from the web site of another sail boater: SV-Bluebottle.

We don't really eat that much bread at home (at least not daily), but it is nice to be able to have the occasional sandwich, or something to dip into your olive oil/balsamic vinegar, etc.. Once we are at sea we can hardly purchase fresh bread, all the other cruisers apparently (if we are to believe the magazines) make their own, I had better learn I thought!

It's not the baking of bread I was procrastinating over all this time, but doing it on the stove top. Our oven is probably capable, but a little small for a decent bread tin (Nor do I have space to store a bread tin), and the temperature does not seem to hold well.

For the last year I've been coming across articles and stories of stove top or "pressure cooker" bread (you don't need the pressure, just a heavy bottomed, covered pan). I tentatively scheduled a bread experiment this week, and then I blurted out to a friend I was going to do it, so I then felt I had to follow through.

Here is my first attempt. A bit of a failure. Despite using a new batch of dried yeast it did not rise (but then I knew that before I put it on the stove, I was just in denial), it is a little burnt on top and bottom (but hey, I've eaten burnt food before). I can still convince myself it doesn't look too bad.

Ah, but the proof of the pudding (and the bread) is in the eating. Result? well, chewy, very jaw achingly chewy. It is a good job I have all my own teeth, and I feel lucky I still do after the first two slices!

Where the two recipes didn't agree I chose the middle ground (maybe I should stop fiddling until I actually have success?).

I could also have titled this post, how to waste 3 hours of your life. Still messing up a bread recipe still beats going to work, so I shall keep trying. I think I may go back to the oven, but bake bread rolls? Or possibly purchase some new yeast and try again? I don't really feel I wasted anything (except the propane). All the ingredients are inexpensive basics, but it takes an hour of propane to cook (in my case, burn), so I'd better get a recipe working while we still have ready access to topping up our propane tanks.

I wonder if I can pass any off on Kyle when he comes home tonight. I'm lucky he is not a fussy eater, but I suspect he'll suggest we use it as fishing bait.


[Kyle]When I got home, Maryanne was so excited about showing me her loaf of bread. Now you must understand that when I first met Maryanne and realized she was English, my expectations for her cooking were not very high (Sorry English readers, but English food is generally only beloved by the English). Maryanne, however, is a marvelous cook, which I am quite pleasantly surprised about; nearly everything she makes is delicious and I'm happy to gobble down whatever she puts in front of me. In my entire memory, I can only recall 2 things that I did not like: One was a batch of rice, cooked on a sweltering day in Chesapeake Bay, where it so hot that even after the rice was served it just kept cooking until eventually it formed a sticky ball - very hot. The second disaster was, well, the bread. She sheepishly handed me a slice, with jam and I took a bite. I must say that it tasted and felt very close to what I imagine a truck tire would. So eventually I just sucked the jam off and chewed, and chewed, and chewed. I turned down the offer of a 2nd slice. We eventually agreed to dispatch the rest to the local geese and swans: they too will most likely find it un-chewable, but after it has soaked for a day or so not too bad. Maryanne is determined and resourceful though, and I'm sure that in no time she will come up with a recipe that I'll be begging for.

[Maryanne]He hopes!


Anonymous said...

Very nice, perhaps a sprig of Parsley on the top will dress things up....

kate said...

I don't think it looks that bad, actually - a little burnt bread is ok by me! The pronounced effort to chew it properly is the biggest downside. I think it's as you said earlier: a matter of trial and error. Just keep a record of which things you're doing in each recipe, and it'll sort itself out. And you're right, spending 3 hours making bread at home sure beats going to work.

Mommy Dearest said...

Perhaps if you soaked it in balsalmic vinegar & olive oil for an hour or so...