Foolproof Focaccia

By Marissa Neely

There's nothing quite like the warm, comforting smell and taste of homemade artisanal bread, but being anchored away from the mainland can make creating that a little tricky. Fortunately, after a lot of trial and error, I have come up with this Foolproof Focaccia recipe that is as flexible as the ocean is blue, resulting in a delicious boat-made bread every time.



2 cups flour

1 cup water (room temp/warm, NOT cold)

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons Olive Oil (or more if necessary)

Toppings of your choice


  1. Start by adding your flour, salt, and yeast to a bowl. I like to make the flour into a well where I put the two other dry ingredients before adding the water and folding it together.

  2. After some mixing, you will have a dough ball that should be tacky to the touch. Take the dough in one hand and pour enough olive oil on it to cover the entire ball so it will stop sticking to your fingers. Have a crew mate assist with this for minimal mess!

  3. Once the dough is oiled, place in the same mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rest somewhere warm (not hot) for 10 minutes or so. I use this time to clean up any flour that may have jumped the fiddles and prepare my toppings for the second part of the process.

  4. The dough should have grown in size after it has rested, which will make it a bit tough to remove from the bowl. With oiled fingers remove the dough and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (I use a 12” cake pan).

  5. Take your fingertips and spread the dough into the pan by creating “dimples” on the surface. Drizzle olive oil over the top then add the toppings of your choice. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

  6. Sprinkle with sea salt and move to a preheated oven of approx. 450F/230C (This part is a variable depending on the accuracy and reliability of your oven- check out Amy's article to nut out your boat oven's abilities). Pro tip: tomatoes, basil, and sea salt make crew-pleasing focaccia, especially when finished with a balsamic glaze!

  7. Once the top of the bread has a golden color (about 10 - 20 minutes) pull it out and “knock” on the top. If it has formed a crust and sounds hollow it is ready!

  8. Set aside and cover with a tea towel to ensure it finishes baking internally. After a few minutes, move to a cutting board and slice into your creation. This recipe makes a great side dish or appetizer, especially when paired with goat cheese or tapenade spreads, and is one of my favorites to pass along to others.

Makes one loaf

Tips To Consider


As mentioned, this recipe has undergone a lot of trial and error not only by myself but also fellow cruisers from all over the world with who I have shared this recipe. In warmer climates, your dough may rise quicker which means you should cut your “rest” time in half so you can catch the “rise” in the oven to get that fluffy result. In colder climates consider letting your dough rise in a preheating oven, just warm enough not to start the baking process.


This is a yeasted bread but if you are out of active dry yeast you can substitute equal parts lemon juice and baking soda - just remember this will make your bread rise almost instantly, so act fast! You can also use double-active baking soda as a substitute, which will allow your dough to rise once in the dough process and again while baking.

Marissa Neely

Marissa is a snowboarder turned sailor that lives aboard her 1979 Cheoy Lee 41' Avocet, where she and her partner, Chris, co-captain. Since 2018 she and Chris have been working hard to renovate their floating home while preparing to sail the world and have documented the projects and adventures along the way through videos, articles, and blog posts. Marissa keeps busy with her digital marketing business Fair Winds Media which she operates from Avocet, chasing the wind and wifi. She loves to challenge people to sustain a healthy work and play balance, proving that there is more to life than the standard 9 - 5.

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