Monthly Archives: November 2010

Boat bread


        Baking bread was always something I intended to do on the boat. Lee likes rolls. I like sliced wheat. Between us we go through a lot of bread! It’s something I always need when we’re making grocery runs on our bikes to restock on perishables. A grocery store almost always comes along right when I need it, though, so I haven’t been forced to make my own bread. Yesterday I finally ran out of bread with a day or more left till we might be able to go shopping. Apprehensive but determined, I broke out a loaf pan and got to work!
        First question: which recipe? I settled on one from The Country Kitchen with the appeal of simplicity and relative speed. It only calls for one rise, which the author admits won’t make the fluffiest loaf. There is a fair amount of kneading involved, which doesn’t bother me since I have nice, strong, sailor arms.
        Second question: cold oven? Hot oven? I considered starting my bread in a cold oven, since a serious round-the-world sailing cook vouches for that technique in her books. However, I checked a few other cookbooks and decided it was wort the extra propane to preheat the oven. I also used my trusty oven thermometer, just in case!
        My bread rose on the galley floor next to the engine compartment for a while, then in the back of a cupboard on the sunny side of the boat, where things often get really warm. We were just motoring down Long Island sound on a windless day so the conditions were perfect for baking. I discovered that standing part way down the ladder that goes below, with a cutting board on deck in front of me was a perfect place for kneading!


        I followed the instructions precisely, using my new food scale, making sure the water was the proper temperature, and halving the recipe with precise calculations. I mixed, kneaded, shaped, waited patiently for the dough to rise, preheated the oven, and monitored the baking bread closely. In the end, my first ever loaf of basic bread wasn’t half bad! It didn’t rise as much as I would have liked but it’s hearty and it tastes wonderful. Sampling pieces of warm homemade bread cheered up the long day on the water.


Daily Bread
From The Country Kitchen by Jocasta Ines
Makes two loaves (I made half the recipe for 1 loaf)

1 kg (2 lb) wholemeal flour
450 g (1 lb) strong white bread flour*
1 level tablespoon salt
25 g (1 oz) dried yeast
900 ml (1 1/2 pints) warm water
1 tablespoon sugar or honey

*I didn’t have bread flour so I used all-purpose flour plus 4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten (for 1 loaf).

Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl and put to warm slightly (I left mine at room temp.)
Dissolve the honey or sugar in half the warm water and add the yeast.
Allow 10 minutes or so for the yeast to become frothy.
Add the yeast to the flour, mixing while adding the rest of the water a little at a time until the dough forms a lump and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
Knead on a floured board or table for at least 15 minutes.
Shape dough into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans or on a baking sheet.
Cover loaves with a towel or (or place in a bag, as the recipe suggests) and leave to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place or 2-3 hours at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
When the loaves have doubled in size put them in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 375 F and cook for another 30 to 50 minutes.
Remove the loaves from their pans and allow them to cool before storing (this doesn’t mean you can’t slice yourself a piece while the bread it warm!).


Filed under other goodies

Jammy muffins and a wild week


        Finally – a chance to sit down and write something! A week isn’t really that long to go without a post but I’ve really missed my blog, not to mention all the fabulous blogs I love to read! There was really no way for me to sit down at my computer this past week, let alone bake something to write about. MuffinEgg has undergone a visible change, though. I joined Foodbuzz and Lee took care of the technical hosting set up. Things are still under construction so you may see more changes in the coming weeks.
        Lee and I had a traumatizing passage on our boat last Friday that left us shaken and discouraged. We faced some serious wind and waves and spent half the night trying to get to shelter before things could get any worse. If you’re interested, you can read the full story here.
        After what felt like a near death experience, I needed some serious baking therapy. Warming up the boat with the oven was also a motivating factor, since it’s been ridiculously cold for the past few days. Muffins were first on the to-bake list. Lee had requested “stuffed muffins” so I decided to inject my cranberry conserve from last week into some whole wheat muffins. We have been really enjoying the conserve on toast and in PB&J sandwiches. I wish I had more than two jars of it left!
        I wanted to try the whole wheat muffin recipe in Joy of Cooking for my jam vehicles. It’s a simple recipe with room for lots of variations. My variation ended up halfway vegan out of necessity. Lee ate the last two eggs that morning so flax took their place. I did use regular milk but you could make these muffins completely vegan by simply using non-dairy milk.
        Biting into a sweet, tangy pocket of cranberry conserve makes these muffins gooey and satisfying. The batter isn’t very sweet but the nutmeg makes it more than just a vehicle for jam. I think I’ll be playing around with jam-filled muffins more from now on.


Jam-Filled Whole Wheat Muffins
Adapted from Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup honey or agave
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Your favorite jam or preserves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine flaxseed meal and 1/4 cup water, allowing it to sit for a few minutes.
Add the vinegar to the milk, then combine milk with the flax mixture, honey, and oil. Beat until well blended.
Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring briefly to combine.
Spoon into muffin cups lined with paper or silicone liners, filling each about half full.
Add a teaspoon of jam to the center of each muffin.
Cover the jam with the remaining batter.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. (Mine did not rise above the edges of the cups so don’t worry if they’re not getting huge)

        Hopefully I’ll be a little better connected from now on. Our internet access has been problematic and it was harder than I thought it would be to get back into the rhythm of transient life.

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