The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Who needs a wood fired oven pt 2. / Baking bread on charcoal grill

  • Pin It
Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Who needs a wood fired oven pt 2. / Baking bread on charcoal grill

All things require fine tuning and experimentation.
This time I used more coals--including some mesquite which burns really hot, moved the grill to the lee side of the house (out of the wind)and did not bother with water of any kind (no water in wood fired ovens, right?).
I did throw a couple water soaked wood chips through the air vent.
The temperature inside got up to 600+. I was resolved not to do anything that wood cause the temp inside the grill to drop so, no water and no opening the grill to peek.
In my oven, at 450 the bread takes 40-45 mins. I figured 30-35 mins in the grill. Theses are not big loaves.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

After about 27 minutes i wandered over to the grill to smell that lovely aroma of baking bread... more like burnt toast! I imagine this would have been a perfect loaf had I taken it out around the 20 minute mark. I baked the control loaf in the oven as usual. Both tasted delicious (had to cut the burnt bottom off the grilled loaf) My wife says that she likes the grilled loaf the best so far. She likes rustic things.

Comments

dulke's picture
dulke

Wow, these are wonderful. I have grilled pizza before, but have never thought of baking bread. What a fun thing to experiment with.

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Thanks dulke, they do come out all lumpy and charred and stuff, one does get the feeling of going back to basics: fire, flour, water. And as you can see it is still very much a developing process: char for example is a comendable property in a pizza flash baked at 900 degrees for 60 seconds(see the recent post "Pizza in my brick oven" by bill sfnm)...it is less worthy, as I have found, on a loaf of bread which requires a minimum 15-20 minutes to bake.
I have not yet grilled pizza because until this recent bread experimentation I had not figured out the terra cotta flower pot base as cooking surface inside the grill. I was never convinced by cooking shows that have one grilling the pizza on the grill rack directly over the coals. But now, with this oven hot terra cotta surface upon which to slide the pie for baking, I think its time to grill some pizza.
So, I will try grilling pizza and you try grilling bread and we can compare notes.

luc's picture
luc

Brilliant stuff going on here!
Wow!
Fascinating!

*Quickly looks around to see where he can set up a grill

:)

Unfortunately I'm not able to set up any kind of grill at the moment. Though I have to say I am impressed with the thought process that took you to these loaves. Keep it up - it'll will be interesting to see more as the process moves along.

Best regards,
Luc

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Thanks for the nice comment, i'll keep yu updated on my progress. BTW, where was it that your dad hand made tortillas on a the cast iron wood burning stove??? Certainly not HK??

luc's picture
luc

Yes, my father has never even been to Hong Kong. :)
Let alone made tortillas here on a wood burning stove.

My father was born on an Indian reservation - so he grew up in an adobe house in the San Louis Valley in Colorado. His mother who is Jicarilla Apache made traditional flour tortillas in a mud oven that was actually part of the structure of the house. The native Americans as they're now called generally didn't eat many corn tortillas - as that was more common the closer you got to Mexico.

Years later when they moved to the city (Denver, CO and different parts of New Mexico) they had a wood burning oven - time went on and the only piece of that stove that is still kicking around is the burner plate my dad saved.

He's been using it for at least 36 years that I can count. It's an interesting thing... it's smooth and flat on the top but it has a small little squarish hole near the edge that was used to connect a cast iron handle to pick it up with... apparently the top of those old cast iron stoves had these in place when one of the 'burners' wasn't needed.

I've never seen another one. But I'm sure they're around. The beauty of it is that it heats evenly and it holds the heat as well. It's rock solid as it's cast iron (hows that for mixed metaphors?!) and hopefully some day I'll inherit it and pass it on to my kids.

I guess that's how traditions start eh? :)

At any rate - these days I have a tandoor in my restaurant and the dough for Naan bread is very similar - though the tandoor gives a very very different flavor to that of home made flour tortillas. So when I eat east Indian food or Middle Eastern food it's very similar to what I grew up with in terms of how things are eaten - with the hand and the tortilla acting as a plate and a fork of sorts.

best regards,
Luc

dasein668's picture
dasein668

Geez, that's brilliant. I bet I can do the same thing with the gas grill hanging off the stern of my boat this summer! (No oven in the galley.)

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

now your talking--baking bread at sea. all you need is heat and containment!