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. Continue reading

Crisp thin crackers– outside on the grill, NEW VIDEO

First off, sorry for the loud cricket sounds– couldn’t do anything about that, because…

It’s still summer, and I’m still grilling bread, but I wanted to show how to roll dough exceptionally thin for crackers use the outdoor grill as an oven.  The key with crackers is to prevent them from getting scorched.  In Artisan Bread in Five and Healthy Bread in Five we talk about doing crackers at in the 375 – 400 degree F. range (190 – 200 C), and that definitely helps prevent scorching.  You can also use oil on the crackers, and that helps too.  But oil does increase the baking time– my crackers took 20 to 30 minutes to get crisp. And that range depends on whether you get them truly paper-thin.  The thicker ones take a little longer.  So be more patient than I am and get it to less than 1/16-inch thickness– you should almost be able to see through it.

Equipment links:  To temper the grill’s heat (adjust the burners to yield a 375 to 400), I used a baking stone and also a thick commercial-grade aluminum baking sheet.  Recently, I switched to a thin non-handled rolling pin– the French milled style pin, and I feel that it’s easier to control, especially when you’re rolling very thinly.

One other tip: If you bake large flat crackers and don’t cut them before baking, “dock” (puncture) them with a fork before baking or they might puff, which you don’t want with pita.

The idea of crackers has always to have a crisp dried result that stored well– as you can see in the video, these didn’t last long enough to test the theory.  And remember:  serious bakers wear closed-toe footwear!

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Buns for Hot Dogs or Bratwurst, Baked Outside on the Gas Grill!

The heat wave isn’t nearly as bad in Minnesota as it is in on the East coast, but I can’t say that I’m itching to fire up the oven and bake fresh buns for hot dogs or bratwurst.  It’s a cinch to do it on the same grill that you use for your hot dogs or bratwurst, and this video shows you how.  Use any lean dough from either of our books, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, or Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. If anything in the video’s unclear, just visit back and post a question into the “Comments” field.

One word of caution:  I can’t vouch for the durability of baking stones placed on a gas grill.  I haven’t had any trouble with my half-inch thick stone but the thin ones crack at the drop of a hat.  My guess is that if you call any stone manufacturer, they will tell you not to do this.  None of them warrant stones against cracking (one company did in the past, but they’ve withdrawn that).   I haven’t been listening.

This summer, the son of one of our book’s first testers started a bread business and is delivering bread door to door, by bicycle, right here in Minneapolis.  Check out Bicycle Bread… They were recently featured in the Southwest Journal and were on TV, on Fox9 News (click here to view).

Another interesting little home-town business is the Gourmet Girls, who are making fresh breads using our books as the recipe resource.  Send an e-mail to inquire about homemade artisan bread via local delivery (southern Westchester County, NY).

Click here if you’d like to see the list of past postings on summer grill-breads again… Continue reading