New Video: Barbecued Baguette on the Gas Grill for the Dog Days of Summer

OK, first the disclaimer, I did not bake the breads above.  I photographed them in Dinan, France, where I bought and ate them with my family.  I also need to admit that it looks like I bit the perfect tip off the baguette on the right (I did, on my walk back from the boulangerie–bakery).  I’m just back, so I have baguettes on my mind; hence the little video of me baking a baguette outside on the gas grill just in time for a crazy heat wave near you:  Click on “Read More” below for details.

Please bear with me, I’m a little bit bread-maniacal after three weeks over there, so I said or showed some things on the video that I need to, uh, clarify:

Serious clarification of points in the video:

  1. Our upcoming book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day will be available only in hardcover, shipping in late October 2011 (click to pre-order on Amazon).  Never mind the soft-cover production galley I showed in the video.
  2. Using a dough scraper:  Especially in humid weather, wet dough like ours can stick to work surfaces, so a dough scraper (bench scraper) can be very nice for scraping dough and formed loaves off surfaces.  It helps you resist the urge to work in more flour for a drier (and often simply dry) result.
  3. Grill settings:  This is clear in the video but it bears repeating.  Preheat for five to ten minutes with all burners on “high,” but bake over indirect heat (which means “not right over a burner”), with the burners set to “medium.”  That works well on my grill, a 2-burner Genesis similar to this one on Amazon, but your grill may be different, so experiment and see what works.  You need to balance the need to fully bake through to the center but not scorch the crust.  On my grill, you need to turn the loaf once.
  4. Cooling time:  I talk a little too fast about the fact that “this one doesn’t need two hours;” I’m talking about the cooling time.  A big thick loaf like a boule (ball-shaped bread) needs to fully cool or it’s gummy in the center.  Not so for skinny baguettes and rolls– the thinner it is, the quicker you can eat it.  This baguette in the video cooled for 15 minutes before being devoured— and it wasn’t at all gummy or underdone.

Dirty lies that will be told about Jeff’s comments in this video:

  1. On indirect heat:  I “appear” to say that if you don’t have a grill with a wide space between the burners, or one that can be turned off, this is “not going to work.”  Well, not quite.  All you need is to be able to grill over indirect heat– so long as there’s enough space on the grill to avoid being directly over a burner, you should be fine.  If my burners had been closer together, I’d have simply switched one off.
  2. On getting professional-looking baguettes:  Early in the video, I marvel at the thin, skinny baguette I’m forming, and I appear to say something like “I never get it to come out this nice!”  Nonsense!  I always achieve perfection, and so can you, especially with this letterfold technique in the video (see Zoe’s post on the letterfold for still shots).  Though I will say that it’s easier for form a skinny baguette if you use some whole grain in the mix; here I actually used a mixture of doughs, white dough from the first book, whole grain from the second, and the Corn Broa (also from the first book).  A weaker dough is easier to stretch thin (though it produces a bread with less “chew”).

Incidentally, I dare my boulanger in Dinan to bake a J-shaped baguette.

See you on Twitter or Facebook, and back here anytime for questions (especially after our Pizza and Flatbread book is released on October 25); just post to any “Comments” field.

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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

28 thoughts on “New Video: Barbecued Baguette on the Gas Grill for the Dog Days of Summer

  1. That’s very brave of you, putting the dough directly on the grill. I have a broken baking stone I use on the same Weber you use, works well.
    Thanks for the vid!

  2. Awesome! Can’t wait to try this one out! I like the funky shape, makes it more rustic looking : ) Can’t wait for the new book!

    • Sue: While we don’t specifically have recipes intended for the wood-burning oven, we know that our recipes work in those environments. See Zoe’s post on this at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/09/22/wood-fired-oven-in-italy-a-love-affair

      There’s nothing that you’d necessarily do differently, but keep in mind that pizza in the super-hot oven you’re going for with a wood-burner bakes the pizza much faster. If you achieve 900 degrees F, it’s 90 seconds for a thin-crusted pizza.

      For loaf breads you need to mimic indoor oven temps. Jeff

  3. I’m definitely going to give this a try today! You’ve reminded me to freeze leftover dough. I’ve been making my flatbread ahead of time the skillet way, freezing and then quick grilling. I love the grilling baguette idea, I’m going to try grilled focaccia too. Hmmm, perhaps single servings?

  4. Well, it is the dog days of summer here in mid-Michigan, if a month early. Unfortunately, my husband and I are not big meat eaters or grillers. So I was putting off until the coolness of fall any further bread baking, but stumbled across the concept of baking bread in a Crock-Pot or Slow-Cooker while perusing recipes for other summer meals that will keep the kitchen cool by utilizing a Crock-Pot. I searched your site, but came up empty. Does anyone have any experience using your dough and baking in a Crock-Pot? My old gas Crosley oven has also not been predictable for bread baking, so I was hoping that the steam produced by a Crock-Pot might just be the way for me to bake your bread. Any hints, tips, ideas?

    • We haven’t done it Catherine, though of course we’ve baked in closed Dutch ovens (see links below). My guess is that the crock pot can not reproduce that, because it won’t get hot enough. So you’ll end up with soft, steamed bread. Unless I’m wrong about the temp. The other problem is that I thought that those were designed to be used “wet,” in other words, filled with something liquid. I don’t think you can put dry dough in there, but check with the manufacturer. Dutch oven links, some on the gas grill:

      Gas grill with a Dutch Oven: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=627
      Baking in a Dutch Oven: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=552
      Limpa, in a cloche, on the grill: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=678

  5. Hello, following the guidelines you have in the ‘contact’ section of the website I wasn’t sure what better way to tell you about my modification of the European Peseant Bread recipe found on page 46 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup rye, and 5 1/2 cups all purpose flours. The change I do (and I do it every time I make this recipe) is reduce the all purpose to 5 cups and add 1/2 cup of oat flour to the blend. Everything else in the recipe stays the same and this solved the dilema of using up the oat flour I purchased to make the Oat Flour bread on page 104 of the same book.
    Thanks

    • Brian: Yep, we’ve found that oat flour is very versatile, gives a nice sort of sweet flavor. Glad to hear that you’re varying to your taste. Jeff

  6. I made this as soon as I read the post! Sooo easy. I ate half as a pb&j, the other half w/ goat cheese and fig jam. YUM.

  7. Very nice! Wish I didn’t have a split grille, I feel like I am missing out!

    Have you ever tried making bread on a George Foreman Grille? Just curious.

    Judy

  8. Dear Jeff and Zoe,

    The baking group is doing HB5 bran muffin bread this week. I didn’t have enough maple syrup, so used half maple syrup and half molasses. I made some loaf and boule from it, and taste tested it at the farmers market. People liked it, and I sold the 2 mini loaves and 1 pound round loaf. I like the fact that it was baked with steam at 350 degrees. I found my utility costs really go up at higher temps (I checked my meter).

    My question is– pure maple syrup is quite expensive. Would anything else sub ok for a good flavor? I don’t know what else you tried. The bread was on the dry side, does the maple syrup make a moister bread than molasses?

    Thanks so much,

    Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      Maple syrup may add a bit more liquid because it isn’t as thick as the molasses. You could also try the loaf with honey.

      Neither of us have a George Foreman Grille. Let us know if you try it!

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks. I think I’ll check a standard bran muffin recipe to see what they use. The loaf was a bit dry. It may turn out that a combo of molasses and honey would work.

    I will try the George Foreman Grille open, with some AB5 dough, Might make a interesting pita. I just won’t close it at first. It’s a great way to keep the kitchen cool, yet not have to go outside to use the BBQ in the heat.

    • I have a Hoffritz, and I love it, but when I think about it, I don’t really get thin and even slices. Maybe that’s too much to expect from hand-slicing?

  10. Help!
    I have a question regarding ovens. My electric oven just broke and have to get a new one. I am seeing a “new’ feature advertised as “dual bake” where both the top and bottom elements are on in the bake mode.
    In my old oven, only the bottom element lit. The top element was for broil only.

    Can you advise me on how this may affect my bread and pizza baking? I am hating having to go to a new oven and potentially mess up how I have been baking for years.
    thanks so much!

    • Hi Mandy,

      Is the oven adjustable, so you can use the top or bottom element on demand, or are they both on all the time? If they are both on all the time it may be an issue for pizzas, you’ll want to make sure you don’t burn the cheese before the crust is done. This can be prevented by putting the stone on the bottom shelf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. My understanding is that both are on in the bake mode.
    I do put my pizza stone on the bottom shelf when doing pizzas already, so if that is what end up with I will continue to do so.
    Do you think it would burn the tops of breads?
    Thanks.

  12. Does anyone out there have a newer electric oven with the dual-element bake system? The top and bottom alternate heating in the bake mode.
    Can you tell me how it works with bread baking I would appreciate it.
    Thanks!

  13. Mandy: In Europe, these are already common, but you have a choice as to whether the top is on or not. My guess is that you probably want only the bottom with breads, but I’m not certain. I second the question– anyone with experience on this? Jeff

  14. In an older oven I had, I had this feature. I had to put a layer of tin foil over any baking I did otherwise the tops would be broiled (leading to browned quickly and then burned)

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