Pressure Cooker Bread

Cruising teaches self-reliance. In this spirit (and the need for morning toast), I eagerly read the recipes for bread. Forbidden Planet has a 2-burner pressurized alcohol stove and no oven. Regular bread is out, but on the ‘net, I found some recipes for pressure cooker bread. One land friend looked blankly at me when I explained this saying, well take a bread maker. This might be an option on a larger boat, but not for us. I have no where to plug it in, they suck up way too much power and most important, they take up space. We’re living in something not much larger than a minivan.

But who needs a bread maker when I’ve got my all purpose pressure cooker? While in the comfort of home, I embark on my quest for a delectable loaf. I read, I knead, I punch, I rise, I fill the garbage can and in the end I produce a loaf that’s edible (if there’s no land in sight). I happily stow my pressure cooker with visions of warm bread while at sea.

A lazy day at anchor arrives and I think to myself, a perfect day for bread making. In goes the flour and yeast, it bubbles away and I produce a dough. Pop it into the pressure cooker and pump up the stove. Here’s what I learnt. A pressurized alcohol stove has about as much heat as a bic lighter. And it’s in the center. At home with a turn of a dial, a 12″ circle of blasting heat turns on. The alcohol stove just didn’t get quite hot enough. I steamed away for 2 hours and produced……fish bait. Thinking this through, the problem seems to be that the pressure cooker isn’t a great one, and doesn’t conduct enough heat. I have since invested in some really good quality pots and can get the temperature up high enough. I also found some great tips and recipes on making bread from sailing vessel Destiny Calls (thanks guys!). Yeast is back on my shopping list. If at first you don’t succeed, pour yourself a sundowner, think about it, and try again.

No, it wasn’t pita bread. But the fish loved it.

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