Passage Bread

          The first day or so of an ocean passage are always tedious.  Our bodies have to get accustomed to the constant motion, the heeling decks, and the disrupted sleep of the watch schedule.  We laze about in the cockpit napping, reading books and talking.  We usually have little ambition for much else--including cooking.

          So it's really helpful to have some food prepared ahead of time that can be eaten out of hand in the cockpit.  Pringles chips work great, but you can't eat junk all day.  Apples, cold fried chicken, and cold sodas are also popular.  But for a delicious, hearty, all-in-one ready meal, it's hard to beat a fresh loaf of casatiello bread.

          Casatielo is an Italian bread with chunks of salami and cheese baked it's kind of a whole sandwich in one.  The bread holding it all together is like a brioche.  Think rich and soft, with eggs and butter.  So rich, in fact, that you don't even have to put butter on a slice before eating it.  In other words, it's perfect for someone with a hearty appetite, but little will (or time) to cook.

Casatiello Bread

Sponge: Mix together 1/2 Cup bread flour, 1 Tbsp. instant yeast, and 1 C. lukewarm whole milk.  Leave in bowl at room temperature to ferment for 1 hour.


4 oz dry cured Italian salami (or bacon, ham, etc.) chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

3 1/2 Cups bread flour                        1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar                                      2 large eggs

3/4 C. unsalted butter, room temp.       3/4 C coarsely grated Edam, Gouda, or Provolone cheese

      While sponge is fermenting, saute the salami until slightly crisp.  Save the drippings to grease the baking pan.

      Stir together flour, salt and sugar.  Add eggs and sponge and mix together until it forms a coarse ball.  Mix for about 1 minute, then let the dough rest for 10 minutes to allow gluten to develop.  (Which means fewer crumbs in the cockpit!)  Divide butter into 4 pieces and work the butter into the dough by hand, one piece at a time.  The dough will be a soft, tacky mass.  Knead in the bowl for 15 minutes.  The dough should become less sticky and start to clear the sides of the bowl.  If not, add a bit more flour.

     When the dough is smooth, add the meat and knead until evenly distributed.  Add cheese and do the same.  Let raise in the bowl for 1 hour, or until it has more than doubled in size.  Remove from bowl and place in a greased large loaf pan, or a round baking dish.  Let raise for 90 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate pans, decrease heat to 325, and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool bread on a cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing.