Seawater sourdough bread

Here’s the recipe that we use offshore on Apsara.

  • a cup of rye sourdough starter (in theory, a wheat sourdough starter could work, but rye sourdough starters are much more tolerant of the conditions encountered on board a boat. If you can only get wheat sourdough, make bread every day for a few days following this recipe, and  you will end up with a rye sourdough starter)
  • a cup of wholemeal rye flour
  • a cup of wholemeal flour (wheat, rye or spelt depending on your taste and what is available on board)
  • a cup of strong white bread flour (rich in gluten)
  • a cup of spring water (or rain water, must not contain chorine)
  • a cup of seawater
  • a tablespoon of olive oil for greasing the tins

1st step

Mix the sourdough starter, a cup of whole rye flour and a cup of spring water.
If necessary, sift the flour so that it is very fluid and that the sourdough does not make any lumps. The mixture must be quite fluid.  Leave to rest for 2 to 5 hours (depending on the temperature). If the temperature inside the boat is below 15 degrees, it may be necessary to keep the starter in the oven with a hot water bottle, the ideal temperature is around 25 degrees C.

2nd step

Take out a cup of the sourdough starter and put it in the fridge in a glass jar until next time. It will keep for at least a week. Mix the rest of the sourdough with a cup of wholemeal flour and half a cup of seawater. The mixture should be less fluid than the starter, but still more fluid than bread dough. leave it alone until the sourdough ferments vigorously (usually 2-5 hours). If the temperature is below 15 degrees, keep the sourdough in the oven with a hot water bottle.

3rd step

Mix very carefully the starter with a cup of white flour and about half a cup of seawater. The bread dough must be soft, sticky and elastic.
Put into tins, filling them by about half, and wait until the bread has risen sufficiently (usually 2 to 5 hours). If the temperature is below 15 degrees, keep the bread warm in the oven with a hot water bottle.

Click here for the video tutorial (in French)


Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature. Put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 200 degrees and continue cooking for 5 to 15 minutes. Cooking times depend on the oven and are therefore very approximate. The bread is done when the crust sounds hollow when tapped with a hard object. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before eating.

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