Sunday 6 October 2013

Day2: First Loaf And Dangerous Driving


What a wonderful day we had. Lots of sunshine and almost no wind. A balm to the soul. Except that I started to develop a sinus problem. One that I bullied into submission on short notice, I might add. It stuck its ugly head out probably as a result of the shock to the system of the cold from the first night.

We also saw some ugly seamanship. Needless to say, I was on duty this afternoon, with everybody else fast asleep. Now I have no witnesses to my heroic deed of saving us all from an ugly fate! It happened like this:

I saw a ship appear behind us, heading straight for us. This was around half past one in the afternoon, in broad daylight in a cloudless sky, no wind. And a flat sea. As this ship got nearer, I tried to raise them on the radio, to no avail. When the ship was about a mile away, I made a ninety degree turn to starboard, showing a broadside to the oncoming vessel.


I kept going for about five minutes, then resumed my original course. The ship just kept going. No reaction whatsoever. When she got even closer, I did another starboard ninety and went for a minute or two until I could see her starboard side, then resumed my original course. Only then the ship turned away slightly to avoid us, passing us at about half a mile.

I wonder about the sanity of having any anti-collision rules on the high seas at all. From what I experienced today, it seems a total waste of time. These big guys will run you down without batting an eyelid.

Or were they just not manning the bridge, keeping a proper lookout?

Thankfully some of us do keep a proper lookout.

Today I baked the first loaf for the voyage. A white loaf with onion seeds (Nigella Sativa) and cheese. I also used an egg, making it almost into dinner roll dough.

This one came out quite flavourful and soft. We promptly ate about half of it, leaving the rest for tomorrow. This is the first time I used vegetable fat in a loaf. Vegetable fat will help to preserve the moisture in the loaf, thus making it last longer. The crumb is also softer with almost a satiny and spongy texture.

However, no additives will make it last long against a bunch of hungry sailors!

This one could maybe have baked a little longer and at a slightly higher temperature. However, the last test is in the eating and this loaf passed with flying colours. In terms of both flavour and texture this is one of the best loaves I have ever made. And this one in an oven unknown to me.

Perhaps I have learnt something along the way after all.


4 ½ cups stone ground white bread flour

2 cups water

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 dessert spoon vegetable fat

1 egg

thumb size cheese, grated

1 teaspoon onion seeds

10 grams yeast


Mix the salt onion seeds and yeast powder. Rub the fat into the flour, then add the grated cheese. Then add all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. I then broke the egg into a cup and filled the cup to make one cup of fluid. Stir the egg and water thoroughly, then add this to the flour. Mix thoroughly, then add another cup of water. Mix until the dough is too strong to use a spatula, then turn out onto a floured kneading board and knead. You will find that this dough is very soft and may be easier to just fold several times instead of kneading.

Pat the dough on the outside with some cooking oil and leave covered in a warm place to rise for an hour or two until doubled in size. Now shape into the final shape and leave to rest while the oven heats up. This will take about ten to fifteen minutes. Cut diagonal slices into the top of the loaf to allow for even spring, then pop the loaf into the oven at 190ÂșC for 45 minutes.

Turn the loaf around back to front after about twenty minutes to allow even cooking on all sides. Switch the oven off after the allotted time and leave the loaf in the oven to allow for slow cooling. Turn the loaf out on to a suitable rack and leave to cool for another twenty minutes. This will allow the last steam to evaporate and finalise the cooking process.

Then slice up, spread some real butter and enjoy!


This blog post also linked to Yeastspotting!

Authored by Johan Zietsman.

Last updated on 2013-09-24

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