The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Big Green Egg

  • Pin It
Loafer's picture
Loafer

Big Green Egg

I have been flirting with building a brick oven, but have been trying all kinds of ways to avoid building a brick oven. One random thought was the Big Green Egg. Apparently, these things can get REALLY hot if you want them to do so. Anybody here actually baked bread in one? How about pizza? I can totally dig the use for barbeque, grilling and roasting, but I want to know about baking.

 

-Loafer

JavaGuy's picture
JavaGuy

I've got a Primo Smoker and I use it for pizza quite a lot. It's the same thing as a green egg, but it's made in Atlanta. Check it out if you're in the South. You can go to the factory and get it for about a $100 less than the large egg. My only complaint is that it comes with a porcelian coated metal grill. It's fine for smoking, when you never go above 350, but after a couple of pizzas, my grill is warped and a lot of the porcelian has flaked off. I'm going to try to find a cast iron grill after winter.

You can get the temperature up to 650 or 700 and the pizzas come out execellent. They get a light smoky flavor from the charcoal that I think makes them even better.

I haven't tried any other breads on it because I'm not interested in getting a smokey flavor in other breads. Maybe during summer, you could use a cloche, and not heat up the house with the oven.

Oh yeah, they make good BBQ to! I put a couple of Boston butts or a brisket out in the evening. Choke off the air almost nothing to keep the heat around 230 and leave it until lunch the next day. The meat will fall off the bone. I get a lot of requests from family for BBQ. 

Cooky's picture
Cooky

I have seen people make pizzas on ordinary grills, so it would be no problem using a rig like the BGE, which allows you to control temperatures with a degree of accuracy you don't usuallly get with charcoal grills.

As for bread, I can't see why it wouldn't work. You would need a baking stone or some such to hold the loaves, and you could end up with some charcoal flavor, but bascially raw dough plus proper heat plus closed container equals bread.

 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

cordel's picture
cordel

We  bought our Big Green Egg on Dec. 3.  Since then we have made pizza twice, and bread three or four times.  We have also smoked ribs, cooked a prime rib roast and many other meats.  It is a fantastic machine, and easily goes up to 650 even in -20 weather.  

 There is a small smoky taste, just on the crust, but I am thinking that would be even less if DH got the temperature where I need it a little faster so it would have time to clean the grates.  He can't taste the smokiness, of course.   The temperature is easily controlled, as long as you don't have to go into the oven too often.  You lose quite a bit of heat each time you open it up.  My bread crusts were amazing, and the bread got a good oven-spring in the Egg.  We are recommending it to all our friends.

 [EDIT] My son-in-law's first question was had I made a pie in it yet, since I had to do that one thanksgiving when our oven died. 

Loafer's picture
Loafer

So when baking with the big green egg, the fire is still going?  It is not retained heat?  I guess that should be obvious to me, but I hadn't thought of it.

 

-Loafer 

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Hi. There's a thread about baking on this site

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/index.html

which is the weber smoker site. Look for cooking topics, scroll down and you'll find "guest features". Someone describes baking bread there - with pics. Not tried it myself - but LOVE the weber "bullet" for smoking!

 

Andrew 

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

I have baked bread in my Weber.  I put the bread in loaf pans to rise and then place the pana in the middle of the grate using the indirect method.  You need to watch the bread closely so it would not burn.  But it is delicious and does not have a smokey flavor.

 

Drifty 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I just bought an 18.5 inch Weber charcoal cooker and cut a 11 inch hole in the bottom so it will rest over a gas burner from a Turkey Deep Fryer. The plan is to build up a ceramic dome in the lid and use a 16 inch round stone to cook on. If you want to bake great NY style pizza with a crispy cracker crust you need 700 degrees + heat. This rig should give me high temps and authentic Italian pizza without having to wait half a day for the earthen oven to get to temp. I'm excited about this project and will post my step by step photo's when I get the lid finished.

You can google Little Black Egg and see what Villa Roma is doing. He has a couple UTube videos too.

Eric

cordel's picture
cordel

There is a plate setter in the Egg, on which you can place the pan or dutch oven. I cooked my first loaf directly on it, but it isn't so pristine white anymore. I plan to get a baking stone to cook bread on, in the spring. When I was cooking the bread, we put the temperature up fairly high, spritzed with water, put the bread in, returned to high temp, then lowered it, and timed it to the recipe. When the time was up, I used an instant read thermometer, the temp was right and I took it out. With a flashlight, you can look through the top of the Egg and check how the crust is browning. The bread rose high, cooked well, and tasted fantastic.

cordel's picture
cordel

We also cooked the pizza on the plate setter. This is a ceramic plate on legs that sits above the charcoal, so the heat is not direct. The Egg uses lump charcoal, and it is easy to fill it so none needs to be added during the baking time. In fact, we usually shut down after cooking, and there is charcoal left to start the next day.

We don't yet have a peel, to make loading the pizza or bread easy, so we made mini pizzas, not a big one. Also, we have grandchildren who don't like the same things on pizza, and I am allergic to dairy products, so the small pizzas are easier to dress to each person's satisfaction. I pre-cooked the pizza skins, partly, which made them a lot easier to handle, plus I had lots of time in the afternoon, and the kids would have been impatient at dinner had we needed to cook them from scratch. We all sat around the table, and chose our ingredients, cooked and ate, and then made a new one. It was a lot of fun.

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I have a heavy grill that is black, and has a thermometer on the lid that shows the internal temp. I use it for proofing allot. The black draws in the heat, but with the thermometer you can monitor it so you are sure its not too hot inside. We live in an old farmhouse and there never seems to be a cozy place to let my doughs rise. I usually have to use my oven with the light on and a pot of steamy water placed inside. But it never fails that when I start my rise and have the oven tied up with it for a few hours I get the bright idea to cook something else that requires the oven at the same time. My grill surface is large enough to even accommodate french loaves. Give it a try sometime!

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

Obviously there are a lot of ways to get the results you want.  I wanted to put a vote in for my solution--a mud oven.  Baking results are very good, and the project was pretty cheap.  If you have access to sand, clay, and straw, you can get enough firebrick for a 30" hearth for under 100 bucks.  The substance of the project could be completed in a weekend--in fact, if you read the Kiko Denzer book on the subject, you'll learn that people build mud ovens just for use for a few days.

My oven is quite a bit more elaborate--it is on a constructed base with a chimney and a fancy door, but those aren't essential.  And whatever you build, if you are not happy with it, you can knock it down, fish out the fire bricks, and start over.

I had a couple of reasons I wanted a mud oven:

1. Needed higher heat for pizza (600-800 F is no problem now)

2. Wanted capacity to bake more loaves (can now bake 6-8 sourdough boules at a time)

3. Could not afford to build a brick oven.

 

I'm a fan of the mud oven.  And one last thing--you can make excellent pizza in a Big Green Egg or on a grill, but you can't really have a pizza party.  With a medium-sized oven you can crank out pizza faster than a dozen or more guests can gobble it up. 

Loafer's picture
Loafer

Well yeah, I am actually in process on an earth oven.  And am dreaming of a brick oven some day.  But I saw a cheap BGE on craigslist and thought that I might give it a try.  I am a pretty nerdy guy, a chemist, a baker and a writer, so I like to fiddle with all the options and learn different ways to do things.

 I've been earmarking some money to buy a dutch oven for open fire cooking while camping too...

 

-Loafer 

cordel's picture
cordel

We just bought a Kitchen Aid dutch oven which went on an amazing sale on Boxing Day. It will be getting its first workout today baking beans, and tomorrow baking my first loaf of no-knead bread. All on the Egg, of course.
I just got my hydro bill, and I think the Egg saved me a couple of hundred dollars in electricity. I was 100 less than last year, at this time, but last year it hardly ever got below freezing while this year it has been down to -35 many, many nights.

GreenEggHead's picture
GreenEggHead

I found your site from my daily Google Alerts for Big Green Egg stories.

Your theories are right on the money, as well as everyone else's comments.  I've cooked on my Big Green Eggs for years, and compete on the KCBS BBQ circuit.  I've used the Eggs for baking many, many times.  Yes, they can get insanely hot.  I peg my temperature past the 700 degree mark every time I do steaks.

You typically won't use "residual" heat for cooking, the coals are always burning.  Although the way the BGE uses airflow control, there is no flame.  Just the burning embers of the lump charcoal.  You will have a smoky flavor to everything you cook in it, depending on what type of lump you use and if you use smoking woods in it.  My kids wouldn't eat pizza from it the first few times because they were used to pizza tasting like the box it normally comes in.  But now they beg me for "Daddy's Egg Pizza".

Big Green Egg Pizza

Nice to see another Drupal user.
http://www.cockeyebbq.com

Erik

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

what temps did you bake at on your weber bullet? I'd like to give this a try - and possibly pizza too!

 

Andrew 

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

Unfortunately I did not have my oven thermometer when I baked in the Weber Grill.  I had both charcoal baskets full and put the bread loafs on the grill after cooking the meat dish.  I did have all the vents open and it took 30 minutes.  I am guessing that the temperature was around 350 - 400 degrees F.  I got the idea from "The Geezer Cookbook" about baking with a cardboard oven while camping.  He said that 6-8 briquettes should provide a temperature of 325-350 degrees F.

Drifty

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH

I just happened on this site.  It shows a really nice boule and instructions of how it was cooked in the Green Egg..he used a pizza stone and a bowl of water in it for steaming and baked it all at about 500.  try...recipesonrails.com./recipe/show/436-baguette-no-knead-larger-loaf.....hope this helps some.

Sylvia

Puj's picture
Puj

My apologies for taking seven (7) months to reply to the original post; I just joined the FreshLoaf community a couple of weeks ago.  To get to the matter at hand, the BGE is definitely a very viable alternative to building a brick oven. 

I own several BGEs, my first being the Large BGE given to me by my kids (and wife) in 1995.  I contemplated building a brick oven over the years, but each time I came to the conclusion that I could bake anything that I wanted to in the BGE.  The only drawback in the Large BGE is baking one boule at a time - a capacity issue that is very manageable.

I solved the capacity problem by buying the XL BGE in 2006.  The XL BGE came out to be about half the cost of building a brick oven.  Plus, when we move, we can take the XL ... and all our other BGEs.

Be glad to help with the "how to" configuring and baking with the BGE.

Puj 

sallemann's picture
sallemann

Absolutely the BGE is used for baking...  it does a FANTASTIC job.  I use it for rustic breads, yummy pizzas, and to-die-for smoked trout!  See http://bgebread.blogspot.com for more info.

Best,

Steph