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Cold Weather Breadmaking

18 November 2015
Fresh bread is awesome, so I try to make (or buy when in port) some every day. Yeast breads work well in warm climates, but I have yet to arrange a sufficiently temperature-controlled space aboard to make yeast breads rise in cold weather.

So we make various kinds of bannock, the traditional backcountry bread I learned to make in northern Canada. The basic recipe is to mix: * 2 cups flour * at least one large spoon of sugar * a spoon of baking powder * some oil, shortening, lard or butter and add enough water and salt water (or add salt) so the mixture can be put into a greased frying pan in a thick layer. Put a lid on the frying pan and cook over low heat until lightly brown, flip the bread over and cook the other side.

Many other ingredients can be added to change the flavor (ie, more sugar, raisins, dried fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses). My friend Daryl taught me that adding more water, so the mixture pours into the frying pan, turns it into flatbread, which is faster to cook (but makes less bread in one panful).

I suppose I could just heat the interior enough so that yeast would rise, but I don't like running wood or diesel heaters when sailing (not using heaters under sail solves a lot of draft problems and not having fires aboard while heeling and bouncing in the waves just seems inherently safer). Issuma doesn't have enough electrical power to run a breadmaking machine, so bannock and its variations are what we use.
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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