Baking bread on the charcoal grill
My very first post to this esteemed bread board!
I have been lurking here reading for a while, and in particular looking for information on simulating a brick or clay oven by use of a BBQ grill. While the topic is mentioned in some posts, most folks seem to then get into a discussion of pizza. Now I love pizza as much as the next person, but that is not really what I want to bake. I am after bread on the grill.
To that end I have begun experimenting on my charcoal grill with methods by which I can bake bread. The first time I tried was a total disaster! The top crust looked great, the bottom was burned beyond recognition, and the inside was still quite doughy! Yuk!
But one learns from one's mistakes. So I have now had a second baking, and while the results were not spectacular, they were certainly acceptable, and the bread tasted good. What more could one possibly want?
Thinking that I should reduce the number of variables in the process, I chose a very simple bread recipe, "Daily Bread" from the King Arthur Flour web site. You can easily go to the King Arthur site and look for this one. I've made it before, and I know it is both good and simple. Your very basic white bread.
That means that the variable in the BBQ baking will be in the baking process not in the bread itself. So for the baking process I use a Char Griller, barrel type grill. This is a fairly good sized grill, not one of the standard kettle grills. I really want to simulate the effect of a brick oven or earth oven, so I needed some masonry. For that I chose to use the pizza stone, and a terra cotta flower pot. My pizza stone is about 14 inches in diameter, and I used a 12 inch diameter terra cotta pot. I know that there is concern amongst many about using pottery from the garden store. But my thoughts on this are that the bread is not touching the big pot, it is sitting on a pizza stone, and that flower pot is just resting over the top of the bread providing the simulated masonry.
I pre-heated the grill, stone, and pot to about 400 degrees (f), and the moved the flower pot long enough to slide the bread dough onto the pizza stone, added just a bit more charcoal to maintain, but not increase the temperature. I was worried about how the process went, as the first time I tried my bread was burned after only about 10 minutes. So this time I opened up and took a peek after 20 minutes when I had not yet smelled burning bread.
The crust was just barely beginning to brown. Added another shovel full of charcoal and closed things up again for another 20 or so minutes. By then the bread was a light golden brown, and when percussed it had a hollow thumping sound. So off the grill and onto a cooling rack for a bit.
Then the first cut, it looked pretty good. Tastes just fine. But I wish I had gotten the crust just a wee bit crunchier. I think I will have to continue experimenting to get this just the way I want it.
What? You ask about pictures of this process. Surely I can provide those, but not here, you must make a quick trip to my Flickr page. Here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12687649@N06/sets/72157621922724906/
Thats all folks