All about breadby the Crew of Tres Hombres on 12/10/12
One lesser expected task of the daily routine on a sailing ship is probably bread baking. In a self sufficient mini society with no access to any local bakeries at the corner of 52nd and 3rd wave, daily baking sessions bring sailors their daily bread. The 00.00 to 04.00 night watch is the designated time for this happening. During night watches, when the unfilled minutes, quarters, or hours between sail handling are not to be filled with ship maintenance, bread baking is a welcome change of scenery. A new dynamic enters the small walls of the galley during these nightly sessions. In the cold North Sea, where sailors bundled up like Eskimo's, the galley transformed into a tropical surrounding where the pre-heating oven and active kneading caused sailors' muscles and brains to warm up and their blood to flow freely again, allowing winter clothes to shortly come off and lively conversations and entertaining mind games to develop during otherwise cold, quiet nights on deck. More South, around the Cape Verdean Sea warmth isn't lacking, and bread baking is all the more inspiring. Baking dynamics change, dependent on the combination of sailors set for the task that night. New insights appear and surprising personal facts are shared. Bread competitions inevitably arise. Many aspects of bread are cause for competitive behavior. Shape, size, knife drawings on top, the one and only correct kneading procedure, best rising result, and of course, customized flavors. Olive, chocolate, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary. After this exiting process, at 04.00 the rising bread is left in total trust to the care of the oncoming watch, that is responsible for the actual baking. Always causing curiosity and anticipation until the breakfast table at 08.00, when the bread will first be seen again, this time done, smelling wonderful, and ready for delicious consumption.