Grilled flatbread, my workhorse summer bread

stacked-flatbreads-from-the-grill

I’ve spent a lot of time this summer talking about how easy it is to do loaf breads on the outdoor gas grill, but if truth be told, this is the bread I make every day when it’s hot.  Why?  Because it’s crazy easy and fast.  I go into the yard and do it in the morning, before the kids go off to day camp– this is the bread they take for sandwiches.  It’s very, very simple.

First off, you don’t need a baking stone, and that means a very quick pre-heat.  Turn on your gas grill to high heat (that’s right, high), close the lid, and wait about five minutes.  Meanwhile, take out your stored dough, the white-flour version or any other kind in the book, even enriched (though you need to turn down the heat for enriched). 

Meanwhile, use a rolling pin and a sprinkle of flour to roll out a grapefruit-sized piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness, right on a floured pizza peel

1-roll-out-enriched-dough

By now the grill should be hot, so slide the flatbread right onto the grates.  Close the top, and wait about two minutes (depends on the intensity of the grill-heat).  Open the lid; the bread is ready to turn (with a spatula) when it looks puffy, but the underside isn’t starting to burn (this one has some seeds, see below for details on that):

puffy-almost-done

 It’s OK if there’s a little char.  If the grill’s closed and you smell something burning, it is!

After turning, about two more minutes should do it, again with the lid closed.  Grilled flatbreads generally don’t puff like the pita that we do inside on a hot stone, so you need to slit them to make filled sandwiches. 

A variation:  using a pastry brush, paint the surface of the dough with water before sliding onto the grill.  Sprinkle with alternating bands of white and black sesame seeds.  My youngest calls this “bumblebee bread:”

bumblebee-bread

Everything tastes better outside!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

68 thoughts on “Grilled flatbread, my workhorse summer bread

  1. Oooh that looks so delicious and easy! Will definitely give it a try…it’s hot here and I would love to NOT turn on the oven! “Bumblebee Bread”…Cute!

  2. Haven’t tried it on the grill, as ours is charcoal. But ABSOLUTELY LOVE the flat bread in a skillet. So easy. I usually cook one side, flip it and put a slice of cheese – muenster is great – on the other. Great for breakfast to get a little protein with the carbs!! I’m ready to try this as skillet pizza with a little sauce, veggies and mozzarella!

  3. I assume that you don’t turn over the bread with the seeds on it. Do you need to turn the grill down to cook the top but not burn the bottom or does the top cook okay even with the grill staying on high?

    • Ran: The skillet pizza works, but the cheese won’t caramelize. Not that big a deal though…

      Cedch: No, I do turn it. They brown a little, but not overly so. I’ve been rolling it thin enough so that it bakes fast, before either the bottom or the seeded side burn. On some grills, this won’t work if your “high” setting is really high. If it’s scorching, just turn down the heat. Jeff

  4. The flat bread does look wonderful. I would love to try the ‘Bumblebee’ bread :) Everything does taste better outside – especially in our short Midwest summers.

  5. Would you believe I do not know how to grill? Putting this on my “must learn how to grill soon so I can make this” list!

    • Hi Kristen,

      Grilling is actually really fun and not just man’s work. I love it and when I had no air conditioner in my house I was bound and determined to do all my cooking outside!

      You can do it! Zoë

  6. I have some of the olive oil bread in the fridge right now. I was thinking of using this method to make pizzas–do you think it would work on the grill? I was thinking of not using as high of a temperature, and just put the toppings on the uncooked side and not flipping it.

    • Hi Sabrina,

      It may take a little experimenting to get it to work without flipping the dough over before putting on the toppings. The issue you may run into is that the bottom crust will be done and the top will be under baked. Like you said, a lower temperature may help prevent the bottom from burning too quickly. I do this method by preheating my pizza stone right on the grates, but that is an additional step.

      Enjoy all the pizza and let us know how it works out!

      Zoë

  7. haha! I just made a version of this tonight- nothing fancy. Just took a ball of the basic dough, split it in two and stretched it out, greased it up and grilled it, then blogged about it, then saw this post! So delicious- it makes all those summer salads a little more special!

  8. I’ve done pizzas on the grill for years. I do one side, have the ingredients ready, turn it over and spoon on a few thing like red sauce, meats, & cheese for the kids, pesto, garlic and olives for the more adventurous. I make them small enough so that they are about 1 1/2 slice size. Never have any left overs for breakfast, boohoo

    • Hi Carol,

      Perhaps you need to make them bigger so you can have cold pizza for breakfast in the morning!? ;)

      Enjoy, Zoë

  9. Wow. You have the luckiest kids! I have to get a grill. If I am going to be using it for breads a lot, do you recommend gas?

  10. I’m growing comfortable with our little grill and adore the idea of grilled bread, especially when flecked with toasty sesame seeds.

  11. tonight I used the spinach/feta cheese dough on the grill. fabulous. Yesterday I made a calzone with the same dough and the filling was of a Greek flavor instead. Nothing left of course.

  12. I made this tonight! I cooked it on one side, flipped it, and then cooked it again. We’re just learning the temps and stuff (used grill) and it took longer than 2 min. When it was almost done I spread a mixture of olive oil, butter, and garlic on the top. It was so yummy!

  13. baking question for a newbie

    Has anyone done bread in a Roaster? (you know, those portable ovens folks use at Thanksgiving)

    Due to a long term remodel, I’m oven-less (the toaster oven does heavy duty) but I DON’T WANT TO WAIT.

    I’ll experiment, but would love to know about other’s experiences. Gonna go w/ a clay chicken roaster I got at Goodwill. Pizza stone is too big. And, I figger steam won’t be an issue anyway…..since that’s an issue when cooking a turkey.

    I’ll let you know how it goes: off to the kitchen to start my 1st batch. But I’d love to know if anyone else has experience w/ using this kind of oven.

  14. Of course I Kindle! But I don’t order cookbooks on the Kindle unless they are more for reading than cooking. I prefer having my splattered cookbooks be books which is how I have yours. BTW, I’m getting pretty good at your breads, have been experimenting to make up for lack of some ingredients here in Guatemala, like rye flour. And my sourdough is sour! Thanks for getting me started, it’s fun.

  15. My first attempt at grilled flat bread resulted in a half charred flatbread, the noncharred side was delicious though. Have done a second batch keeping my grill at much lower temperature…it worked, My family was impressed.

  16. This is for Helen in CA. Last weekend I used mine with a cast iron skillet for the boule and pita and it worked great.

  17. Hello, I do not own a mixer but I am getting tired of mixing batches (seemingly insufficiently) by hand, would a bread machine’s partial ‘needing’ process harm the bread in any way to mix it? thanks!

    • Hi Stephen,

      It would be just fine to mix the dough in the bread machine, as long as it is large enough to hold a full batch. Be sure you remove it promptly and don’t actually let it bake in there. It is just one more thing to clean, but it wouldn’t hurt the dough at all. Kneading at this stage won’t hurt the dough, it just isn’t necessary.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. I just tried this with a little olive oil and zataar spice on top. The ravenous hordes (aka the rest of my family) devoured the first one I made in about 3 minutes. Amazing bread!

  19. So what do you guys eat with yours? We’re really out of great simple summer lunch ideas ’round these parts and I’d love to hear what you are putting on this!

    • Anything with tzatsiki–Greek cucumber, garlic, and yogurt dip. A friend just did that with grilled halibut, then the tzatsiki. It was perfect, especially in the summer because the yogurt is so cooling.

  20. Thanks so much for helping me gain the reputation of an amazing bread maker. I have no real talent just follow your instructions. I had to try this bread immediately and it got rave reviews. My son was actually disappointed. He took some to work in his lunch and had to share with so many coworkers there wasn’t enough for him. I guess he will have to take the whole loaf next time. I love all these extra ideas you post on the website! Can’t wait for the new book!

    • Thanks Jennifer– we just had an eight year-old boy over to the house, and he pretty much finished all the grilled bread by himself. Check back whenever you have questions. Jeff

  21. Wahoo! The roaster worked! I ended up using a little cast-iron pot w/ lid that I had (the clay roaster was too tall w/ the lid).

    Yummy crumb and while the crust is/was a little tough, very crisp. Gonna try the cast iron skillet next.

    • Helen: If you can get it to bake a little quicker without scorching, the crust won’t be tough. That usually means turning up the heat, so go easy and see what you think. Jeff

  22. I had been tempted to buy your book for a while, but seeing this post convinced me. I had great success with my first try with the regular boule and then tried the flat bread on the grill tonight. It was great, but actually did puff up like a pita. Any ideas what makes it do that? I had let it rest for about 40 minutes after rolling it out.

    Also, do you have any tips for cooking with steam for those of use who don’t have broiler pans? I just used a cake pan covered in foil in which I cut slits. The bread came out just fine, but I was curious what the purpose of the broiler pan was.

  23. For the Master Recipe, you call for all purpose flour. Bleached or unbleached?
    How will result change if we use Bread Flour? Thanks.

    • John: Unbleached. Bread flour yields a slightly drier result that might not store quite as long, can add an extra quarter-cup of water to compensate. Jeff

  24. Sorry to post here, not sure where to put this. I bought your book several weeks ago and am now ready to start trying to actually use it. I am going to begin with the normal “master recipe”, but I’m interested in whether or not I can get my old tried-and-true cracked wheat bread recipe somehow altered to your method. It’s got molasses in the recipe which gives it a nice taste, but . . . I’m just not sure how to begin trying to adapt it to your method! I’m hoping that it’s even possible. Seems all the bread I’ve ever made has honey or molasses in it, and I’m not sure whether this should be something added to the master recipe before baking the actual loaf or if it should be somehow integrated into the recipe itself. Or is it even possible? Sorry to be so dense about this. I think that if I can use your methods to work with some of my old southern recipes life will be so much easier!

    –K

    • Hi Kristi,

      We recommend that you start with the master recipe, only because we go into greater detail about the process there. It sounds like you will like some of the heartier breads throughout ABin5 or our new book Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day that is coming out in October. We have a recipe for cracked Wheat bread in that book, although it is a touch different from yours, but may be an easier place to start for you. It can be done, but it will just require a bit of experimenting.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  25. I was stumped – no time for shopping and nothing to take to the neighborhood potluck. Then I remembered I had a huge bowl of peasant bread dough in my fridge. I fired up the grill and had a big basket of fresh grilled flatbread in no time. With a little olive oil, it was the most talked about item on the table. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Received your book for my birthday (had been hinting like mad) All I have to say is YUM…I could live on this stuff. I plan to try every recipe in succession.

  27. I had very good luck with my first gas grill pizza. To keep the dough from softening up while rolling, I froze my marble rolloing pin first. Unlike a previous comment I did not need to bake one side first. I smeared the dough with a little homemade pesto. By chance I found some fresh mozzerella that came in a roll that unrolls into a thin sheet. I just cut some skinny slivers and layed them across the pizza, added a few chunks of sausage for the husband and baked it up. I did get some spots of scorch but perhaps if I figure out how to clean some of the previous burn-on from my stone there will be less scorch. What about using a parchment in the grill?

  28. An unrelated question… have you tried making low carb artisan bread? I am on a restricted carbohydrate diet due to hypoglycemia and really miss your bread recipes (I have your first book). I have tried making some low carb bread using your method and it has turned out OK, but I know it can be improved. Do you have any recipes or ideas for me? Have you considered making low carb breads? Thanks.

    • Wynette: I have a hard time promoting bread as a low-carb food, because grains are starches; not really low-carb. That said, if you stay away from our sweetened breads (no honey, sugar, or other sweeteners), and maximize whole grains (like in our 100% whole wheat bread on page 76), you’ll be getting a significantly lower carb dose. Check out our post on whole grains for other ideas, at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=142, or consider our second book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, to be released on October 27 but available for pre-order at Amazon right now, at http://tinyurl.com/pe8yr9.

      When you’ve tried “low-carb” recipes, what do they use as filler to replace the high-carb flours? Jeff

  29. Yes, I have tried some other replacement “flours.” I have used a mix of almond meal (ground almonds), vital wheat gluten, ground flaxseed, oat/wheat bran, wheat protein isolates and/or various protein powders (whey or soy). Not all in one batch though. I have had some good results, especially when making calzones with the bread. They produce high fiber and high protein breads with minimal carbs.

    • Wynette: I’m guessing that these ingredients would make for a very dense loaf if you tried to store the dough as we do. We use lots of vital wheat gluten in the second book, but didn’t experiment with the other high-protein ingredients that all tend to make a loaf dense (VWG lightens the loaf).

      But let me know if you have luck with storing these kinds of doughs. Jeff

  30. August in Florida is brutally hot, so I was delighted to happen upon this post. This was so quick, so easy and it all happened without lighting the oven!! It was delicious beyond words. Served with roasted pepper/white bean spread, and olive tapenade, it made appetizers my guests loved!

    Thanks for a book that has changed my life, Jeff and Zoe. Tonight our first Challah…. Shabbat Shalom.

  31. Baby turn the grill on! That looks so yummy I just can’t wait to make a batch tonight. Last night we had chicken ranch pizza with the soft whole wheat dough the one you make loaf bread with and it was sooo good only one piece was left after we all ate it. Which is funny cause we made it for the kids and we had steak.

  32. We haven’t tried the grill pizza stone yet, but we got a brand new grill so it has much more room for it. And yeah it’s snowed today here. Gonna make Ciabatta bread tomorrow. Yummy!

  33. The Ciabatta bread turned out so awesome. I made a mock sub sandwich with it. I just loved it! It’s so much tastier than grocery bought breads yuck I can’t stand those! Ciabatta bread is now my fave!

  34. I’m going to be brave enough to ask a stupid question: what is “enriched” dough? You say above you can use any dough recipe in the book to grill, but “enriched” takes a lower heat. Thanks, I can’t wait to try grilling!

    • Jenifer: Enriched means there’s added fat and eggs. It’s the eggs in particular that scorch, to a lesser extent, honey or sugar. You can just turn down the grill heat and these can be grilled to though, just did it today. Low to medium did it, and I did use a stone this time, as in http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=248

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