Keep baking bread all summer long–outside!

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Below, one of my posts from years back, on baking loaf breads on the gas grill in my backyard.  Some folks were having trouble with the bottom scorching and one solution is to crumple a bunch of aluminum foil and put it under the loaf so it insulates under the parchment.  And here, click on the video for a TV appearance where I had a chance to show how to handle the dough for flatbreads on the grill (didn’t actually go outside).

Other summer posts:

Grilled pizza

Grilled flatbread

Baguette on the grill

Pumpernickel done on the grill

Rustic fruit tart on the gas grill

Brioche on a grill

Bread on a Coleman stove while camping

Kohlrabi Greens Pizza right on the grates

Fruit pizza on the grill baked with the stone

Pumpernickel done on the grill

Fourth Of July berry pizza

Even in Minnesota it’s 83 degrees today, so out to the gas grill I went.  Last summer, we did pizzas, and other breads on the gas grill (I like the Weber gas grills for this), but I never tried baking on a gas grill with a closed cast iron pot.  The results are terrific– the crust is much better than last summer’s projects because the Dutch Oven traps steam next to the bread–you don’t have to add any other steam to the baking environment.  But you also need to use a pizza stone under the pot, or it can scorch.  Preheat a thermometer-equipped gas grill, with a baking stone and a covered 1-quart Dutch oven in place, to about 450 degrees F (close the grill lid).  Amazon only seems to carry a two-quart Creuset at the moment.  If your Dutch Oven’s lid doesn’t have a non-plastic handle like mine, you’ll need to replace the plastic handle with a steel replacement knob as described in an earlier post on indoor Dutch Oven baking.   It takes some fiddling with the temperature control to get the gas grill to a constant temperature.

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Meanwhile, I used a kitchen scale to weigh out one pound of any lean dough of your choice, which is the perfect size for the one-quart Dutch Ovens– the tight fit keeps wet dough from spreading.  If you overfill them, the top pops off, defeating the steam-trapping that’s essential for success here.  If you have the two-quart Dutch Oven, you need two pounds of dough (you can make a small loaf in a large pot but you won’t get the “containment” effect which counters the tendency to spread).  If you don’t have a scale, just estimate one pound by pulling out a grapefruit-sized piece of dough from your stored, refrigerated batch (the basic white flour recipe is here).

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Shape the dough into a ball, using flour and your fingers (the “Gluten Cloak” method)—see our videos if you haven’t done it beforePut the ball on some parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap; you don’t have put it out by the ferns.  Rest it for about an hour.

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Slash at least a quarter-inch deep with a bread knife:

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Carefully drop the ball, parchment-side down, into the preheated Dutch Oven.

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Using a pot-holder or oven mitts, cover the Dutch Oven.

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Bake for about 30 minutes; for the second half of baking, remove the cover of the Dutch Oven and re-close the lid of the grill; this will crisp the glossy and caramelized crust that you see when you remove the lid.

Happy Summer!  Five months till our second book’s released…

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84 thoughts on “Keep baking bread all summer long–outside!

  1. I just did a Five Minute loaf on the gas grill. I put a metal colander on the grate and pizza stone on top of colander to elevate above flames. Brought temp up to 450, slid loaf off peel onto stone and baked for about 25 minutes. Oh boy, it was great. Will do some hard rolls with other piece of dough.

  2. I think I may have to use my gas grill for ALL my bread. I cannot get my bread done! I have always baked it longer than suggested, sometimes by 20 minutes, and it is still moist in sections. My oven thermometer registers the correct temperature, I remove it from the pizza stone and place it on an upper rack when I want to prolong the baking time, and still not done when it is very dark. WHAT am I doing wrong. I live in Michigan, so that shouldn’t enter into the problem. Sure could use some suggestions here, cause I love making these breads!
    Thanks.

    • Meg: Usual explanation is the oven temp, but you’ve checked. Any chance you’re using bleached flour, which results in a too-wet dough? Switch to unbleached all-purpose if so. Jeff

  3. I made boule bread today in rooster oven and put the dough in an iron pot with cover sitting on a cookie sheet……..looked great and tasted wonderful……..the url shows a picture of it…….

  4. I just got a new pizza and bread stone for baking your bread on I’m so excited to start but do i have to season it first? I tried to with the first one and it made my bread taste funny. I used vegetable shorting!!

    • Bonnie: My stones’ directions have never recommended seasoning, but check with the manufacturer. My guess is that you don’t want veg oil on there, if only for the smoke it will produce. Not surprised it imparted a flavor, but that will dissipate.

      Don’t use soap on these stones either. Jeff

  5. thank you so much I wont do that again! I have a nice new stone to work with now and I’m only going to use it for breads.I have just one more question if you please how do you keep the oil off the stone? like your olive oil dough I love that one! I have both of your books and I love them! I was recently diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and I have to cut out preservatives, acids, salt, caffeine’s and alot of processed foods out of my diet your books really help with that and I feel like I still have a life out side the kitchen so thank you for that and my 3 year old thanks you too…..more time to go to the park ;) I’m telling ever one I know about these books even the ICA on facebook and ICN. thanks again I hope you two become billionaire’s!

    • Bonnie: It’s not easy— parchment helps, or you can do the breads on a cookie sheet/baking sheet placed on top of the stone. For very oily breads, like focaccia, we definitely recommend that. Jeff

  6. Got your book for my nook color. Have made two master batches….rolls, breads, and pizza have all come out great.. in fact, the pizza was the best I’ve ever made or even had in a restaurant! It’s wonderful how you share all this information. I need to try using my Nesco to cook outdoors during hot weather.

  7. Just wondering…I have two pizza stones in my oven. I keep them in there all the time. I have a self cleaning oven and two hours gets the oven spotless as well as like new pizza stones! Will this shorten the life of the pizza stones a lot or not? Thx

    • Several people have written to say they do this, and no one’s told us that the stone cracks. But the bottom line is that we don’t know the answer to your question. Readers comments are just a small sample size, and manufacturers never recommend cleaning this way–I’m sure they’d tell you no, and my guess is that the Pampered Chef product is the most likely to crack under intense heat (I witnessed one crack on first usage at 550F). Everyone agrees that the stone gets very clean in the self-cleaning oven cycle. More about stones at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/08/24/pizza-stones-which-creates-the-best-crust

  8. just an FYI…I’m using a Williams Sonoma rectangle pizza stone. The round one I’ve had forever and it probably came from a good kitchen store vs Walmart or Target. They show NO signs of wear and tear but they should!!!! I I get a lot of baking packed into my small 27″ single wall oven!

    • Great– but note that W-S no longer gives a warantee against breakage as we said in our first book (it was true then, but since then they’ve stopped offering it). If yours came with one, you’re still covered, I assume.

  9. I have an Emile Henry smallish round pizza stone and use it on my WeberQ at least once a week, year-round for pizza.

    Although the stone directions say to heat the stone first, I’ve found that I get the best crust by putting the pizza on a cold stone an then into the grill when the temp hits 500F. I use your master recipe with a minor tweak of 1/3 white whole wheat flour an 2/3 white flour. (I’m using Wheat Montana flours)

    I put a bit of flour or cornmeal on the stone, the crust (I roll it about 1/4 inch thick), all cheese and toppings and then on the hot grill for 12-15 minutes.

    I’m guessing it is that particular stone.

    I have had to abandon the grill the last 2 weeks because of yellow jackets but when they are done I will try the Dutch Oven. I think the DO makes the best crust in my regular oven…had not thought to try it on the grill.

    • Hi Liz,

      This is fascinating, thank you for sharing your method with us. I have always preferred the crust when baked on a preheated stone, but I will give it a shot on my Emile Henry and see if that makes a difference.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Zoe,

        I will be interested in your results if you post them.

        This is counter-intuitive to everything about pizza ovens as well as stones!

        My WeberQ is the small Weber and maybe because the stone is close to the heat, the crust was getting overdone and the toppings still goopy by the “normal” method.

        If I add flour and roll the crust fairly thin, I get a nice thin, crispy crust. If I add less flour and roll it a bit thicker, I get a crust that is crisp on the bottom, but rises and has some chew.

  10. I am reading all your comments and talk about pizza stones. Yes the only way to get your pizza stone to high temps. is to put it on the grill. I have both a gas and charcoal weber but just this week I ordered a Blackstone pizza oven heated by propane. They claim you can cook a pizza in five mins. and the stone can get as hot as 700 degrees. It is more than a pizza oven you can do bread and meat and almost anything you would cook in your house oven. It has a 16 inch stone that rotates the motor runs on either battrey or electric. It is on a stand with wheels and you can break it down real fast and go camping or wherever you want to go with it. You can see it at http://www.griddleguru.com I can’t wait to try not only pizza but all my artisan in five recipes. I will let everyone know how it worked for me once I get it.

  11. Hello Jeff and Zoe,
    Last evening I made the No-Kneed Artisan Free-Form Loaf recipe off of the back of the Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose flour bag. Step 9 mentions covering the oven windows with a towel-then pouring 1 cup hot water into a broiler tray then closing the oven door. Perhaps I assumed incorrectly, but I put the towel over the window on the inside of the oven. Was this incorrect and is it necessary? Predictably,the towel got quite scorched but the bread was a hit.

    • Hi Maureen,

      The tip to cover the glass is intended to protect the glass from drips of water. In older ovens the glass was not tempered and could crack if water hits it. Most ovens are now made with tempered glass, so covering the glass isn’t neccessary. If you have a new oven you can forget this step. If your oven is older and you want to protect the glass, cover it with the towel, pour in the water, then remove the towel before closing the door to bake the bread!

      Thanks and I’m so glad you enjoyed the bread! Zoë

  12. Is it possible to do the refrigerator rise trick with bread that I plan to bake in an enameled round dutch oven ( le creuset)

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