The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fun with flames

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Fun with flames

I’m staying at my cousins place for the next month or two, and while I’m here am playing around with his oven and grill (Cobb oven on hold for at least the next few weeks). Oven thermostat is a mess and the grill is either blast furnace or off, but I’m finally getting a handle on both.

I confess that I’ve been curious for a long while about the idea of using my 15 inch steel and a thin metal bowl to bake very large miches, and now of course I’m thinking the place to do this is the grill (why go the easy way...?). 

so - here’s a test bake. FWSY starter with hydration adjusted and then used in tartine country loaf (?) at 78% hydration and retarded overnight (oven loaf was removed from cooler about 20-30 mins before baking, grill went right on the steel from cooler).

Left is from oven, baked in my cloche with additional baking stone under it as the oven blasts the heat at 600+ degrees an inch under the cloche. The right is out of the grill, using my steel which conducts a little too well (and I barely grabbed it before it totally burned, 10 mins and a few degrees shy of where I wanted to be in terms of bake duration and internal temp). Also used top from cloche since I’m worried about overall heat retention on the grill

Crumb shots to follow once they cool but — any thoughts? admittedly neither is perfect but now I get what it must have been like baking in before the days of mod cons. Would it be worth trying a fire blanket on the grill and turning off the heat, since the grill vents heat like crazy through the lid? And it looks like the oven spring on the grill loaf wasn’t quite as good, so thoughts on what might be the cause of this would be super. 

(sorry about repeated edits here, using my phone and I posted early by accident)

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Check out the conversation that I had in Dec 19 with leslieruf

 https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61857/experiment-time-baking-my-new-hooded-bbq

https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61922/bbq-bake-attempt-2

--

Net net:

1) the kitchen oven was just too hot.  

2) what I think you need in the grill:  a) thermal mass; b) "shade"/block all direct/radiant heat on the baking steel, with at least one layer of space/air between the shading/blocking objects and the baking steel/surface; c) more/maximum possible distance from flames. 

Take extreme care on space for air/heat flow all around the inside wall of the grill, or you might melt/damage it.

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Thanks Dave as usual! Agreed that the oven was too hot but it's really difficult to regulate right now, not sure what's up with that. It's also wide but short so the distance to the bottom of the oven is always going to be close, which is why i went with the baking stone. I'll check out the grill thread ... and your point about melting the grill is well taken. That's a risk with a metal grill? So I should skip the thermal blanket?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Leslie's grill came w instructions to not let the upper part, ie towards the top of the lid, where there was a built-in thermo, get above a certain temp.  See the thread, as I forget the temp value.

Youtube has lots of vids about baking in a bbq grill, so that is definitely a resource.   Verify things across several vids, to ensure you don't get bad advice from a one-off. I urge you to double-check/cross-check everything I say too.

search youtube on welding blankets and either bbq or grill. Plenty of guys used welding blankets to insulate and turn grill into a smoker that uses less fuel, ie, multi-hour smoke session.

$5 oven thermometers help, as well as more expensive remote wired/wireless thermocouples.

Like in a home kitchen oven, if you block air circulation  too much in a  bbq grill, you create hot spots _under_ the blocking objects, and  overheat the blocking object itself, which in turn can re-radiate heat downward,  towards the hose and tank. 

Ceramic and Kamado (sp?) style grills are built for higher temps. Steel body grills have lower limits on how hot the steel _body_ (the shell) is supposed to get.

Good luck, amigo.

 

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Top is grill, bottom is oven. I prefer to bake my loaves dark so I think the one from the oven came out well, especially given the thermostat issues. 

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

You're on track.  A few tweaks, a few iterations, and you'll have it dialed in.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I've done three bakes on my grill so far this summer. The first time, I was also making pizzas - I think that allowed too much heat to escape. The second time I burned it. The third time I got it close, but it spread out more than up more than usually and I already have problems with that.

I have a weber genesis grill (about 8 years old) that has good heat control. Then I use a Pizzaque (that has been heated up for 20 minutes along with pots I use for cloches) to buffer between the flames and the pan. I'm still fiddling with temps a bit. Last time I just used my regular oven because I was too lazy to figure it out, but I will keep working on it.  


 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

bbb:  Pls see the two threads of my convo with Leslie. Your situation is different, but the explanation of the thermal stuff is important, even though it gets long, and so I  don't want to duplicate it here.  However, I think the veteran griller can grasp the concepts of extra radiant heat when an object is too close to the flame. Like roasting a marshmallow, there is a "sweet spot" of distance from the flame/coal.  

I think one of the key points is to not set the baking vessel directly on a hot solid surface. there needs to be air space under the baking-vessel/baking-surface and whatever other layer (of thermal mass) that is shading the baking surface from the flame/heat-source.

For her, I think she used, going from the bottom up: flame, space, the built in cooking grate, space, tile layer, space, tile layer, space, baking vessel. it might have been 3 tile layers. She also used a flat baking surface with inverted dutch oven.

Leslie used small spacer tiles and metal racks to create the spaces.  

I think your PizzaQue or BakeStone oven  would count as one, maybe two, tile layers. But, if there is room, somehow create a 1/2" layer of space between the top of your PizzaQue and the bottom of the baking  vessel.

It does take a couple of thermometers and a bit of experimenting to get the burner settings and pre-heat timings figured out, and then how to set the burners just right to maintain the desired temp.

Tiles need to be unglazed.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

re: your cousin's oven.

If your cousin is handy, youtube is replete with DIY appliance repairs, and many ovens now have their manuals online.  Hopefully,  the thermocouple just needs cleaned, instead of replaced.