Barbecued Bread

March 29, 2011 · 32 comments

We don’t have an oven in our tiny house. I complained about it for years and researched RV ovens that never seemed like they would work very well. Finally, I just decided to try baking in our barbecue. It’s a pretty nice propane one that we got as a wedding present, but it’s not too fancy. I tried it, and miraculously, it worked.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t have much experience baking bread in a regular oven, so this is what I know best. I actually think that the open flame of the barbecue has some properties in common with a traditional brick or earth bread oven, so it usually works out pretty well. In fact, I think that, given the choice, I’d continue baking in my barbecue even if I had a regular oven.

soaking oats

soaking the oats

yeast on warm water

yeast on warm water

yeast dissolving

yeast dissolving

 

 

 

 

 

I got the recipe for this bread from The Il Fornaio Baking Book. It’s called “Pane di Nove Cereali.” I did make a few adjustments including adding a bit more salt and a bit more white flour and swapping straight rolled oats for nine-grain cereal.

This dough has a healthy dose of whole wheat flour with enough white flour to give it pretty good rising power.

whole wheat flour

flours and salt

flours and salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wet ingredients include water, dissolved yeast, olive oil, and a little honey.

adding olive oil

all ingredients mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knead my dough by hand. It’s probably my favorite part of making bread. I tend to add extra flour, so it produces a slightly drier dough. This recipe requires quite a bit of kneading, 15-20 minutes or so with a couple rest periods.

flour on the table

ready to knead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had some help with this endeavor.

Charlotte, the girl

Each rise takes about an hour for the dough to double.

before the first rise

after the first rise

after the second rise

 

 

 

 

 

 

ready to form the loaves

two loaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

after forming the loaves

wetting the dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here comes the fun part. It’s mostly decorative, but it adds a rustic touch.

rolled oats

rolling the wet dough in oats

 

 

 

 

 

 

ready for the last rise

Now it’s time to get the barbecue ready.

This piece of cast iron is critical to the addition of steam to the “oven.” I’d bet that you could use any of the various types of cast iron cornbread/muffin pans.

I got this thing for $5 at an antique fair.

close up of the reservoirs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are firebricks on the sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat everything on high for about a half hour.

a decent but not real high-end barbecue

I'm not sure how accurate the thermometer is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it gets to +/-400°, it’s go time.

unbaked

about to make steam

water on the hot cast iron = steam

 

 

 

 

 

 

lots of steam

Pour the water on the cast iron as quickly as possible without dousing the dough itself, and then close the lid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn down the heat. The temperature will drop considerably, but that’s okay.

About 45 minutes later, Ta-dah! Great crust on the outside, great crumb on the inside.

mmmm....

This system is what works for me in my barbecue. Bread is surprisingly forgiving in terms of timing and temperatures, so feel free to experiment with your own equipment.

Have questions? Leave a comment below.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Callison March 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Great post! Makes me want to try baking a loaf on the BBQ. I wonder how smoked bread would be? Our BBQ is a charcoal / wood model, so you would get some rustic smokey flavor. We’ve done smokey outdoor pizza and wiener wraps with some success…
Thanks for sharing this!

Reply

Scottie March 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Very good photography. Really interesting description of bread in a BBQ. Who would have thought? I am fascinated!

Reply

Laurie March 30, 2011 at 8:17 am

So glad you share Camille–so fun to follow your life. I’ll have to let Travis know about your blog. Maybe he’ll give it a try! Congratulations on your story in the GT–wonderful tribute to you and your family and inlaws that all do home based businesses.

Reply

Ashley March 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

That is BRILLIANT! It reinforces my theory that with a good cast iron skillet (and some ingenuity), all things are possible! Thanks for sharing, Camille. :)

Reply

Camille March 30, 2011 at 11:57 am

I’m a pretty huge fan of all things cast iron. Thanks

Reply

Amylynn March 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

I love the recipe, I am going to have to try it! I am into making home-made bread right now and currently reading Daniel Leader’s book LOCAL BREADS and Peter Reinhart’s book ARTISAN BREADS EVERY DAY. I am into catching my own yeast/leavening. It’s been an adventure. Have you seen the no knead recipe in Mother Earth magazine : http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-12-01/Easy-No-Knead-Dutch-Oven-Crusty-Bread.aspx?page=2 It’s wonderful, you can use the same techniques in your grill.
I also have some blog entries on my bread making endeavors:http://farmgirlstudio.typepad.com/

Love your blog!

Reply

holly c. March 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Oh, how cool! It looks delish. :)

Reply

Laurie March 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm

That’s just wonderfully creative! Yep, cast iron is wonderful stuff. And fresh baked bread…mmmmm

Reply

Chris March 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Goob job Camille. I liked the topic and thought it was a well put together recipe for making some delicious bread. Of course it is in your genes! Keep it up.

Reply

Teresa March 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Genius! Love the great detail you shared in your post – I swear, I think I could do this!

Reply

Camille March 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I think you could, too. Get things preheated really well, but when in doubt, turn down the heat while the bread is baking.

Reply

Bill storch March 31, 2011 at 7:24 am

Incredible Camille!
Great pics, simple but thorough explanation–don’t know how you find time to put it all together.
I’ll keep reading!
Bill

Reply

Baby Aunt Sue April 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

how come you don’t just put the water in the muffin tin from the get go?

Reply

Camille April 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’m going for a blast of steam when I put the bread in instead of general humidity. It would probably all be evaporated after preheating anyway. Also it’s more dramatic to pour the water on the hot cast iron, and I’ve got a lot of onlooking birds and squirrels to impress.

Reply

Aunt Sue April 14, 2011 at 8:17 am

makes sense :) impressing critters i very important

Reply

Kristen May 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

What a great idea – Can’t wait to try this recipe! Very creative.

Reply

Hetty Fizzbrush May 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks so much for the tips on such great bread making! Beautiful loaves. Yumm!
All the best,
Hetty

Reply

Ele May 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Great idea!!
I wonder if you could bake the bread inside a dutch oven on the grill. I usually bake my bread in the cast iron dutch oven in the oven. My grill is charcoal and I am afraid that I need to open it to frequent to keep the temperature right that I will ruin the bread. The Dutch oven may help keeping the temperature constant. Any suggestions? Thanks!!!
Ele

Reply

Camille May 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Sounds like a good idea to me. My method works for me, but I certainly don’t claim that it is the ONLY way to bake in a barbecue. If you try it your way, let me know how it turns out. I do open the lid to my barbecue a couple times during baking, but it heats back up again pretty quickly because the space is so small. I would just stress that you don’t want the grill too hot or the bottom of your loaves will burn. My recipe is for two loaves, but you should definitely check to see if two will fit in your BBQ before starting. Otherwise cut the recipe in half (assuming you use my recipe instead of your own, which would probably work, too.).

Reply

Ele May 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thanks Camille, I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for sharing your recipe/method.

Reply

Andrea May 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

How creative! It gets so hot where I live, and I love to bake bread, but not in summer. What could I use as an alternative to fire bricks? I don’t have any of those.

Reply

Camille May 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

A pizza stone? other cast iron cornbread pan-type things? Regular bricks might work, but they are thicker and could break with so much direct heat. Anything that will absorb some heat and insulate your pans from the flame of the grill. I’ll try to think of some other options.

Reply

Andrea May 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Great. Thank you!

Reply

Tegan May 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Great idea! We have baked bread in a cast iron dutch oven in a campfire. Obviously we have muss less control over the heat, but it has usually turned out great, with the occasional need to cut off one burnt side. The feeling of baking a fresh loaf of bread while out “roughing it” under the stars can’t be beat.

Reply

Camille May 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I feel like I should put perfecting my dutch oven cooking skills on my to-do list. Sounds like you’ve pretty much got it figured out. Good for you!

Reply

ruth fassett May 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

camille im new toe this website would you cosider selling some of youre home made bread .i sure would by some it looks soe good. thanks ruth f. florida.

Reply

Camille May 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Sorry, but my kids eat up all the bread I make. It’s the kind of hobby that I love doing but would never want to do it for money because it’s too much work.

Reply

Alison LoBasso May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

I am so grateful for your pictures and detailed instructions. My daughter is 4 and I want to learn to bake with her so I am so grateful to you for this amazing recipe. Please post more soon.

Much Avonlea Love Alison

Reply

Camille May 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I would say that the key to learning how to bake (with or without kids) is just to dive in and try things. Bread is surprisingly forgiving about time and temperatures, and even if you screw it up or burn it, there’s usually something salvageable. I own The Book of Bread (http://www.amazon.com/Book-Bread-Perennial-Library/dp/0060913592) and The Il Fornaio Baking Book (https://ilfornaio.com/?page=121&cat=Cookbooks) but there are lots of good bread books out there. Do a little reading ahead of time, and then get to it. Have fun and good luck!

Reply

Clement Lucus July 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I’ve been coming here for a roughly a week now and have decided to make my first post to say thank you.

Reply

Jessica July 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Wow, baking/cooking bread on a grill. Now that’s something you don’t see every day. I didn’t even know it was possible. You did a great job on the photos btw.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Next post: