Photo: Focaccia.
Lisa with focaccia bread, a popular recipe aboard Gyatso.

Lisa made focaccia many times onboard Gyatso, or in the case of this photo, at her sister Suze’s apartment in Lagos, Portugal when she and our brother-in-law Jon were visiting us there. She learned how to make it from David’s cousin Sharon of s/v Pelican (formerly), during a stop-over on the Intracoastal Waterway in their hometown of Oriental, North Carolina.

During a wintry, rainy week, Sharon invited Lisa over for an afternoon of bread baking. She taught her how to make focaccia and black bread in the same day — both were delicious!

Just a few weeks later, we were invited to a friends boat for spaghetti dinner, and Lisa decided to try making focaccia for the first time. Armed with Sharon’s recipe and a new baking sheet and large, stainless steal mixing bowl, she set about the task. The results were gobbled up so fast, she considered it a success. It quickly became one of David’s favorite and most-requested food items onboard. This recipe is provided with permission from Sharon [our clarifications in brackets]. For another one of her tasty recipes, see also Pasta e Fagioli.

[In a large stainless steal bowl], combine and let stand until slightly foamy:
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons [or 1 tablespoon, 1 packet] yeast
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

[Once the yeast is proofed], stir in 2 cups of flour and stir briskly until smooth.  Let rise until foamy, if you have time. Add an additional 2 cups flour and 2-3 teaspoons salt, and stir until dough comes away from the side of the bowl and forms a loose ball. It will be sticky. If it seems too sticky, stir in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour. [Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl and turn dough to cover both sides.] Cover [with a dry towel] and let rise in a warm place until double (30-40 minutes).

Preheat oven to 450-500 degrees F.  Oil a large baking sheet [as big as will fit in your galley oven]. Pour the dough onto the baking sheet, carefully scraping it from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Rub about 1 tablespoon [extra virgin] olive oil over the dough. Poke your fingers in the dough and stretch it to make holes. Brush [or drizzle] the dough with additional olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and [fresh] rosemary. It does not need to rise at this point, but it
wouldn’t hurt if it was left a few minutes.

Place in the oven and reduce the heat to 450 [degrees F]. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with good-quality olive oil for dipping. (You can also use this dough for pizza and rolls.)

Adventures while cruising to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Black Seas in a Tayana 37 sailboat


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