Bread Making on Board

My Mom’s Bread Recipe With Variations: Focaccia and Pizza

mom's bread recipe for your boat galleyI grew up on a farm on the northwestern border of South Africa in a remote area just outside a small ‘town’ called Slurry with Mom, Dad, and 6 brothers and sisters. The nearest big town to us, about an hour away,was Mafeking, the capital of the, then, homeland called Bophutatstwana. (It is now called “Mafikeng of the Northwest Province”).

A trip to Mafeking was a monthly affair only. We donned our Sunday best. for this momentous occasion for our family to stock up on food stuffs, visit the doctor or dentist, and get our monthly treat…a candy floss or popcorn. We lived a lot like “Little House on the Prairie”!

So, we were far from everything and we had to be self-sufficient. We made everything ourselves including bread, butter, yogurt, and canned fruits and vegetables. My Mom taught my sisters and I the art of making a perfect bread. I have passed the same recipe on to many sailors! I am yet to make a bad bread, so give it a try!

Mom’s Bread Recipe for Your Galley

This is the basic recipe and can be used as the base for all forms of bread including pizza, focaccia, etc. There is nothing quite like a fresh bread…

Makes 2 loaves

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 1/2 cups flour


  • Pour the water into a bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand about 5 mins for yeast to proof.
  • Once bubbly, add salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well and stir in 2 cups of flour.
  • Mix and add two more cups of flour.
  • Mixing well and add last 1 and a half cups of flour to form a nice elastic consistency. It should not be sticky and wet.
  • Knead well, about 2-3 mins, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled for 1 hour in a warm place.
  • **Punch down, knead and form into 2 desired shapes and place in oiled bread pans.
  • Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Variation: Focaccia

  • Add desired seasonings at initial mixing stage, e.g., rosemary, sliced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic or pesto, pine nuts, basil
  • **At this phase, punch down dough and turn out on floured surface.
  • Roll out to fit a cookie sheet.
  • Brush top with olive oil, sprinkle sea salt.
  • Let stand about 10 mins and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, brush again with olive oil and sprinkle more sea salt.
  • Serve hot.

Variation: Pizza (Add Your Favorite Toppings)

  • This is a simple tomato and mozzarella pizza.
  • **At this point, punch down dough and turn out on floured surface.
  • Place on foil or pizza stone (not cookie sheet) for crisp crust.
  • Add tomato sauce (made fresh or jarred).
  • Bake for 5 minutes in 475 degree F oven, or until the sauce is slightly dry and the crust is lightly golden.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven, scatter grated mozzarella, fresh slices of tomato & basil leaves over the top and return to the oven.
  • Bake for 4 minutes longer, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden and crisp.
  • Serve warm.

Variation: Pizza on the Barbecue Grill

  • Oil a barbecue grill rack. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
  • ** At this point, punch down dough and turn out on floured surface.
  • Unroll dough onto work surface, stretching to form 12×12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal pieces.
  • Use a large spatula to transfer dough to grill rack.
  • Cover and grill until bottoms are brown, about 4 minutes. Turn squares over and immediately top each with tomato sauce, leaving a ½” border.
  • Cover and grill until pizza bottoms are brown and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.
  • Sprinkle pizzas with Parmesan and serve.

Variation: Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza (My Personal Favorite)

  • **At this point, punch down dough and turn out on floured surface.
  • Shape into desired shape and desired thickness like thin crust.
  • Place on foil or pizza stone sheet for crisp crust.
  • Bake for about 15 mins in 475 degree F oven.
  • Take out and immediately brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Add topping of prosciutto ham, arugula and shaved Parmesan and fresh ground pepper.
  • Enjoy and let us know if you liked the pizza!


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