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

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

  1. What is the “bread knife” link supposed to go to? I clicked on it, and it was something the medical board.

    Beautiful bread, btw! I just put together some of the 100% whole wheat bread today! I cannot wait to try it.

  2. Jeff,
    Substitute a fireplace or a fire for the grill and we are back to the original usage of a dutch oven.

    I don’t know what you mean by the bottom being “scorched.” If you mean that it gets black soot on it, here’s an old camping tip: coat the bottom and sides with dish detergent and the soot will wash off.

  3. Jeff or Zoe,

    I just checked the ‘bread knife’ link and it’s still leading to a how to page on how to pass the medical board. You need to correct that. I’m hunting the link to your new book pre-order page. I’ll find it I’m sure.

    Still baking tons of bread and weigh wayyy to much!

  4. I think I’ll give this a try tonight! It’s supposed to get pretty warm today.

    I also wanted to share a tip with you. A saleswoman at a Le Creuset outlet says you can put the cast iron cookware directly on the grill. Just rub dish soap on the bottom first to keep the pan from turning black.

  5. I bought my hubs a gas grill for his b-day a couple of weeks ago. We grilled ABin5 pizza, it was superb! I can’t wait to try this!

  6. If your grill does not have a thermometer, there are add-on grill thermometers available, as are oven thermometers. They have probes that hang inside the grill or oven that are attached by a wire to a digital readout that is outside of the grill or oven. The case with the readout either sits in a stand or has magnets for attaching to the stove.

    My 1918 gas stove doesn’t have a thermometer (or a thermostat) and even though I love period items, I can’t see the numbers very well on our old thermometer that hangs from a shelf in the oven, so I am getting one of the new dual styles- not only will it work as an oven thermometer, but it is equipped with a second probe for meat.

    These new thermometers will also sound alarms if the oven temperature varies or when it gets to the temperature you want.

    If you want to spend the dough (pun inyended), you can get a wireless version that you can carry around with you.

    Now, if they could only figure out how to get them to clean-up…

    You can find them on Amazon, just do a search.

  7. I should have said that our stove doesn’t have a thermostat that controls the gas flame. There is a way to set the oven temperature by moving a handle to the desired temperature which regulates the flame by opening or closing a valve that admits air to the burner. It doesn’t turn the gas to the burner on or off like a modern range. The burners are always on, so it is critical to have a good thermometer to make sure you are regulating the heat.

    One of the things I admire about your technique is how forgiving it is during the baking process. I don’t know if my oven is always at the exact temperature specified in the recipe since I really haven’t calibrated everything together and both my stove, adjustment valve, and the thermometer are antiques and may not be accurate, but I am turning out some extraordinary bread just the same.

  8. Not only am I enjoying following your tweets, but I bought 3 copies of the book for gifts yesterday. Two nephews getting married – young couples living economically will love this – and one for my dad – we frequently talk ‘bread.’ One nephew follows my tweets, so I’m praising you here. Thanks so much. Oh yeah, AND can’t wait to try the grill method!

  9. Since I do so much cooking on our gas grill in the summer, went online and bought a 1 and a 2 quart dutch oven. I’m thinking they’ll also be good for camping. can’t wait to try this.

  10. I recently tried the charcoal grill without much success… too hard to control the heat and keep it constant for long enough to finish the bread. I’ll experiment further this summer.

  11. Hey, I just bought your book. I first tried Mark Bittman’s recipe for no-knead bread, and it turned out pretty good, but I wanted more variety. Thus, your book. I’m currently having fun experimenting with different cooking techniques on the master recipe, since its so similar to Bittman’s recipe (less yeast, longer rise, different methods of shaping and baking, that sort of thing). Its going to evolve slowly. My kitchen is poorly stocked with pans for baking bread, and I want to be certain about what I want before I go buying things specifically for bread.

    Which is a long introduction for my short question- in the book, you are very specific about using non-stick loaf pans. What about silicon loaf pans?

    Thanks!

  12. Just got your book thanks to a friend’s rec. Made my first batch last week and have baked bread 3 times. I was skeptical at first, I mean, 5 minutes? Seriously? But we have had fresh bread with dinner the past 2 nights, and I am not sure it even took up all of the 5 minutes for me to get it into the oven. This cookbook is a keeper! I can actually see myself using this one often! Thanks, Jeff and Zoe!!

  13. I have been making your bread for a couple of weeks. Tonight I made olive bread and it was the best bread ever. I can not believe I don’t have to knead bread every again. Good bye to my old brick loaf.

    I bow at your feet, mighty breadmeisters.

  14. I just started printing all of these recipes and it just dawned on me that they will probably be in your new book that I’ve already pre-ordered. Can you tell me if that’s correct? Thanks, I love your bread, I haven’t bought store bought bread since I bought your cookbook about 6 months aga.

  15. Roxann: Silicon loaf pans are great!

    Janna and Laura: Thanks for the kind words!

    Dee: Many of the whole grain recipes will be in the book; not all.

  16. Hi Helen,

    450 degrees is the temperature we recommend for many of our recipes, so you should be just fine!

    Enjoy the bread! Zoë

  17. So glad I came across this post! Now I can bake this wonderful bread in my dutch oven, rather than the pizza stone, yay!

  18. Hey howtoeatacupcake,

    Your video is wonderful! The only suggestion I would have is to dust a bit of flour over the dough when you are trying to get it out. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to get it out of the bucket. I now use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the dough out.

    Because you are handling the dough a little more than we do to shape it, you may want to let it rest longer. that will help it keep its shape as it bakes. Although I thought your loaf was lovely! I just noticed that you commented on the shape.

    You are spot on about the parchment! :)

    Wonderful job!

    Zoë

  19. This is off topic, but need to have an answer please

    I need to know what kind of malt powder is needed for the recipe on page 91? You state it can be bought from KA, but they sell both the diastatic and non diastatic malt powder, but which one is needed for the recipe?

    On KA, they state that small amts of diastatic are used per recipe, so I’m assuming I’d need the non diastatic?

    Thanks so much, and we are loving the book. The Oatmeal is our favorite so far……maybe just a suggestion, but maybe include the nutritional values in your books?

  20. Hi Jess,

    It is indeed non diastatic malt powder that you want to use. Just adds the lovely flavor to the recipe.

    So pleased that you are enjoying the breads. We are discussing having a nutritional chart for the next book. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Thanks,Zoë

  21. thanks Zoe. Do you know if dried malt extract would work for the malt powder? That’s the only thing our co-op offers.

    thanks again!

  22. Hi Jess,

    I think it will work in the place of the malt powder. It is just the dried version of the malt extract, which should add the sweet malty flavor that is essential to Montreal bagels.

    Thanks, Zoë

  23. Have you ever tried baking the bread in the roaster pans? or a crockpot? Im thinking both of those might be viable options in the summer for those of us without a gas BBQ grill

  24. Crockpot, assuming you mean an electric-powered crockpot, will not get hot enough.

    What do you mean by a “roaster pan”?

  25. Great recipe! I ended up using a 5qt Lodge cast iron dutch oven over charcoal. And I used a full 4lb. batch of the Master recipe. I have a large charbroil smoker with a side mounted fire box, so I was able to get the heat up to 400 pretty consistently by burning some wood logs there. The only trouble I had was that the upper rack hit the top of the dutch oven. It flexes enough that it wasn’t an issue though.

    Also, after uncovering it for the last half of baking, the parchment paper got a bit singed.

    It needed about 10 minutes extra cooking time, but came out without a hitch and a nice hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the giant loaf!

    Love the book!

  26. Very impressive crust— glad to see that people are succeeding with natural heat source– I’ve mostly experimented with the gas grill, more on that in the coming weeks. Jeff

  27. Shannon,
    There are comments from people that have used roaster pans, casserole dishes, and all sorts of cooking containers in place of the dutch oven. I believe that the commenst can be found u8nder the dutch oven, the lasagna pan, or the ceramic pot (I forgot the name of the article but it was written by Jeff).

    I have used a Pyrex casserole dish with a glass cover to make a loaf of the Master recipe following Zoe’s instructions for the Dutch Oven.

    As baschwar said, it is possible to do it with wood. Of course, folks have baked bread and cooked food over all sorts of fires for thousands of years, which is why Dutch Ovens and other such containers were invented.

    I would look for information about using a Dutch Oven on a wood or charcoal fire. Re-enactors and Historical Interpreters do that sort of thing all the time. We used to use charcoal for cooking demonstrations when they wouldn’t let us have an open fire.

    Someone else did a post about using the crockpot insert as the vessel to cook in but not as a crockpot. After reading Jeff’s comment, I would check to see if the insert could take the high temperature before using it, otherwise, it might crack.

  28. I wasn’t sure if I should post this at Jeff’s article about baking with a Dutch Oven on the grill or Zoe’s article about baking with a Dutch Oven in the kitchen, so I think I will do both.

    For those of you wanting to learn all there is to know about Dutch Ovens, recipes, cooking techniques (indoor, outdoor, grills), links to sources, videos, and even a charcoal calculator, check out The International Dutch Oven Society:
    http://www.idos.org

    I use a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, griddle, and skillet (frying pan). Their web site has some recipes, techniques, but most importantly the care and feeding of cast iron cookware, which is helpful in keeping it from getting rusty and reclaiming that rusty old Dutch Oven you got at a yard sale.
    http://www.lodgemfg.com/

    When I have some time, I will suggest that they add AB5 to their link pages.

  29. Hi Zoe

    Noted the same problem as Wendy when trying to print the Stawberry Danish method. No response from my printer.

    Highlighted the text and copied it to word. No pics but the info was all there. This may be an interim solution for Wendy.

    Cheers Peter

  30. I saw someone ask about baking in a roaster oven (I’m assuming like a nesco). I made a boule in an iron skillet in my roaster oven today. It turned out great. Thanks again for all the recipes and tips.

  31. I made the bread on a camping trip last weekend in my Webber Q. I used a enamel cast pot I picked up for $45 at Ikea (much cheaper then le cruset and less traumatic if injured on a camping trip. FYI I see Paula deen also has a similar one for $99 at Walmart. Both have the famous nubbins under the lid to condense the steam and direct it back to the food.

    So the Bread – It worked beautifully – but it did scorch – the bread was overcooked on the bottom – still edible, just very brown and tough. No one cared though and the bread was devoured before it was allowed to cool! My baking stone did not unf fit the Q. I tried foil under the pot, but it wasn’t very successful Used parchment to prevent sticking. Think next trip I’ll use a pillow of foil under the bread to help prevent bottom scorch? I’ll let you know if that works. I do have a diffuser for the gas camping stove, that might also work? OR find a smaller stone – smaller stone has legs as pizza on the trail has def appeal.

    PS. On this trip we had a camp fridge so were able to make the dough before we left so it was ready when we needed it. Regretted taking only enough for one loaf after the enthusiastic reception. We do a lot of remote mountain camping, and I’m convinced that I could build the dough the night before and set it to rise in the relative warmth of the day/evening, and use the cool of the night (if above freezing) to allow the bread to rest in the cooler or in a animal proof spot in the cool of overnight. Many camping sites have bear proof boxes that would be fine for this purpose. Makes me wonder if that is what the 49ers did?

    • Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for letting us know. I’m very curious about the foil pillow idea. Let me know how that goes. I may give it a try myself.

      Enjoy your camping and the bread! Zoë

  32. Hi Zoe, They say mnecessity is the mother of all invention. I tried the grill loaf again in my Ikea dutch oven/casserole using a “foil pillow” on the bottom of the pot to prevent bread bottom scorch when baking on the grill. It worked REALLY well. So well I might not bother with a stone for the BBQ seeing the stone I have doesn’t fit on the Weber Q.

    The pillow instructions:- 2 sheets of foil. Ball one sheet up and then stretch it out again so it has corrugations to become the pillow air pockets. Fold the flat sheet of foil around your corrugated sheet and shape the whole thing to fit the bottom of your casserole. It should be about a 1/4 inch high.

    • Hi Kelly,

      You are a genius, I am so excited that this worked for you. I will be sure to give it a try and recommend it to people who have had the same issue.

      Thank you so much for reporting back! Zoë

  33. Hi Zoe,
    Love your book! and love the variations that you post on the website. I visit the web often for new ideas. I’ve never tried cooking on a gas grill and would like to, however, I don’t have a cloche or dutch oven or cast iron cookware. Can I just put my baking stone on the grill and bake on there like the oven? Thanks.

    • Barbara: Sure, you can put the stone on the gas grill grates. Best if the grill has a thermometer so you can see what’s going on. Jeff

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