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Ocean bread

Ocean bread
The idea for this bread was inspired by an amusing coincidence: the proportion of salt needed for good bread is 35 g of salt per litre of water, which just happens to be the exact concentration of salt in the Atlantic Ocean. So it's possible to make bread using sea water to provide all the salt needed, rather than normal fresh water. Not only does it work, the resulting bread is excellent!
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For 1 Ocean bread, you will need:

Nutritional information:

Whole recipe
 Per 100 g 
  • Already noted 4 times
  • Average note : 2.3/3

% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories by day for a woman (change to a man).


Preparation : 17 min.
Resting : 4 hours 10 min.
Cooking : 40 min.
Start to finish : 5 hours 7 min.
Preservation : Several days in a towel bag.

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 For 1 Ocean bread : 0.93 €

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 Note : These prices are only approximate.

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Next message on 2015-12-06

Step by step recipe:

Filter 300 ml sea water to strain out any little impurities it might contain.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #1
Pour the sea water into the food processor bowl, add 125 g leaven and mix briefly.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #2
Add 500 g plain white flour (French Type 65) then ½ teaspoon yeast and knead for 5 minutes on minimum speed (1), then for a further 5 minutes on speed 2.

You could also chech the dough by trying the window-pane test.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #3
Tip the dough into a large clean bowl and cover with a plastic sheet. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #4
At the end of this resting time, take a wooden spatula or a dough cutter and lift the dough, stretching it upwards...
Ocean bread : Photo of step #5
...then fold it over on itself.

Give a quarter turn to the bowl and repeat the operation. Continue like this until the bowl has made at least one complete turn. In French this kneading manœuvre is called a "rabat".

Cover the bowl again and leave to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

This sequence of "rabat" + 20 minutes resting should be done 3 times.

Note: The "rabat" technique is rather hard to describe, so you can watch it in the video on the right.
Click to watch the video
Cover the bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for 2 hours.

After resting, tip the dough out onto your worktop.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #7
Shape it into a nice round ball by folding the edge under until the top becomes a smooth dome.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #8
Put this ball into a banneton (rising basket), dust with flour, cover and leave in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #9
Preheat the oven to 240°C (460°F).

Turn the loaf out of the basket, slash the top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Note: Like when baking any bread, you should ensure that the oven is filled with steam for the first 15 minutes of baking. This page shows you how; it's the secret of golden-brown, crusty loaves..
Ocean bread : Photo of step #10
When the loaf comes out of the oven, see how crunchy the crust is and how light the loaf is inside.
Ocean bread : Photo of step #11


This recipe only works well with ocean water (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian); the water from the Mediterranean is too salty, so needs to be diluted with a little fresh water.

In spite of the name, there's no "sea" flavour to this bread. Delicious as it is, you'll not find any trace of the slight iodine taste of the sea (no doubt this disappears during cooking). To get this flavour, you would need to add seaweed extract or other seafood.


Home-made, but warmly dedicated to Clairette and Tom-Tom who are sailing somewhere between the Azores and the Canary Isles.

Last modified on: May 29th 2015

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Next message on 2015-12-06

Your 4 comments or questions on this recipe:

- - -

Could you please provide the recipe for the particular levain that you are using? Thank you.

Comment #1 posted on november 7th 2010 at 12:12 by dolores.


Sure, just click on "leaven" in the list of ingredients.

Comment #2 posted on november 7th 2010 at 17:07 by jh.

Thank you, I found the link, as per your instructions.
Best regards,Dolores

Comment #3 posted on november 9th 2010 at 03:34 by Dolores.

Fascinating...I'll be saving this link to share with my visitors on the east coast. Just think, all the time I lived on Long Island, New York, I could have been baking this bread. Of course, you know, I'm not much of a baker:)

Thanks for sharing, jh...

Comment #4 posted on november 25th 2010 at 17:21 by Louise.

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