I just started a batch of sourdough bread, and it got me thinking about self-sufficiency and satisfaction. And magic.
Because really. Turning flour, water, salt, and some yeast (wild yeast, in this case) into loaves of bread? If that isn’t magic I don’t know what is.
Going cruising is (for me) about self-sufficiency. Where we are going and the way we enjoy cruising less-populated places means we can’t rely on always finding stuff. Understanding how to make (or make do) is a critical skill.
Bread baking can seem mysterious. There are massively large tomes on the subject. Depending on which book you pick up, making bread can sound so intimidating. I got turned off of bread making books when I picked up one that talked about how easy it was to create a failure. This kind of negativity? Who needs it!
Really, though, there is nothing quite so relaxing and satisfying as turning flour, salt, water, and yeast (all readily available everywhere or, in the case of yeast, easy to carry large quantities of) into bread. Sandwich bread, baguettes, pita bread. Burger buns, naan, doubles. Crusty loaves and soft crust loaves.
Making your own bread lets you get your hands dirty. Allows you the pleasure of alchemy as you watch the gloppy mess turn into something smooth and round and taut, just because you took the time to knead it. Or just took the time, period. It’s childhood and practicality and creativity all wrapped into one edible masterpiece.
I put together a whole host of bread videos in one easy-to-find spot - and I will be adding more when I move on board. Sure, some of the recipes are done with “on land appliances” in mind; I am currently on land. I won’t be forever.
The thing is, making bread yourself is a liberating skill. Even if you practice before you go using your on-land appliances? Once you know you can do it yourself, that knowledge is part of you.
Bread making involves sight. Touch and smell and taste. If you make sourdough bread, the singing as it cools is memorable. The best sense of all is the sense of confidence.
What bread do you want to learn to make yourself?