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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

My oven is still not working, and if I don't make some bread soon, my head might explode. I never realized how important it is to me, but I am seriously miserable right now. So, I've decided to bake it on the grill.

Right now the dough is on its first rise. I'll just follow my standard method, but when it's time to bake the bread, the dough will go into a cast iron dutch oven , which I'll place on the grill. I was thinking about putting my pizza stone between the pan and the fire, but that will probably be too much weight.

Updates to follow.

5:30 PM:  Things are on hold for a bit. Whoever turned the gas off the last time we used to grill (and I don't know who it was) turned it off so tightly, I can't get it turned back on. Fifteen minutes of trying to get the valve open is enough for me, although the mosquitoes would probably be thrilled if I spent another 15 minutes out there. And I think I hurt myself.

6:30 PM: Logan attempts to turn on the gas. It appears the handle is broken. However, he manages to get it open enough to light the grill. (Or there's the alternate theory, which is that it was stuck on "open", not "close". But I couldn't get it to turn either way, so I don't know for sure.) I decide to go forward, and line the top shelf of the grill with foil.

6:35 PM: I heat the dutch oven on top of the stove, line it with parchment paper, and pour the dough in. I consider covering the dutch oven with foil, but it just fits on the top rack of the grill, and it's obviously going to be a huge pain in the ass the remove the foil so I can check the progress. I decide not to cover the dough with foil. I close the lid on the grill, and turn the heat down to medium.

6:40 PM: I occurs to me that I should spray the dough with some water so there's a better chance of getting a crisp crust. I open the lid to the grill and see the parchment paper is already looking really brown. I spray the dough, and go inside to set the time for 15 minutes.

6:53 PM: I can smell the bread baking. I think that's a good sign.

6:55 PM: The bread is looking exactly how it should. I'm worried the shelf isn't going to last through this. It's getting a little swayed, like an old cat. I set the timer for another 15 minutes.

7:10 PM: I check the bread again. It looks like it's baking a little faster than it does in the oven. And the bread looks gorgeous. I set the timer for another 15 minutes. At that point, I'll check the internal temperature.

7:35 PM: I've taken the bread off the grill. I checked the temperature, which sent my thermometer into overdrive, meaning it's above 200 degrees inside. That's a little high. The top is slightly charred on the top in a few places, and the bottom is almost completely burnt. It has to sit for an hour before it's cut, so I'll give you the verdict then.

Logan is trying to turn the gas off now. We'll probably have to get a whole new canister of propane. As long as it we get it going. It's bad enough I don't have a working oven, I don't need my grill to conk out on me too.

The verdict: Other than the bottom of of the bread being burnt, it turned out really well, especially for the first time. The crust and the bread itself were close to perfect, so I have to adjust either the baking time or the heat.  At 35 minutes, the bread most likely won't burn, but it won't be done either. I think lowering the heat and letting the bread bake a bit longer, maybe for 53 minutes, which is the baking time in the oven, would work. I also have to figure out a way to buffer the bottom, because I want to try biscuits next.

Overall, this was a success. I cut the burnt parts off, and we now have good bread for a day or two.  My mood is not only determined, it's also happy.

Comments

Oh, PLEASE don't hurt yourself!

I saw a "Good Eats" rerun the other day where Alton baked bread in a Dutch oven, and he put some coals on the lid of the pot (to increase the "evenness" of heat distribution, if that makes any sense). I don't know if your Dutch oven will accommodate that or not...
You are the new pioneer woman! My sympathies on your oven (mine is messing up too, I think it's thermostat issue), but kudos on the experimentation with the grill.

A gal who works for us did a float trip in Alaska; they did all of their cooking in dutch ovens and they had it down to a science. They knew exactly how many coals to put on top of each oven and how to stack them to make the meal turn out just right.

A few of the things they made that amazed me where lasagna and cheesecake! I think coals are much easier to work with in that respect, but a gas grill can be better controlled temperature wise.

You must really love you some bread. Hope it was wonderful.
Once after a hurricane, I had no power, so no oven or fridge. I had a can of those nasty orange flavored rolls with sweet glop that I wanted to cook. I fired up the (charcoal) grill, greased a cast iron skillet, and put the rolls in it. I covered the skillet with a glass lid I have, put the skillet in the grill, and then closed the grill lid.

The rolls came out fine, or as fine as one of those nasty cans of Pillsbury chemicals can. :)

(Anonymous)

Bread on the Grill

You've got guts, Maura. Good for you. I don't know what I would do if my oven went out. Have you bought a tabletop convection oven? I used to have one and it was great for baking bread.
I'm so glad your bread turned out well after all your difficulty.--notmuchofacook

Re: Bread on the Grill

I don't have a tabletop convection oven. I probably won't get one, since I barely have enough room to store another measuring cup.

I'll be making more bread within the next day or so. More updates to follow.
I'm bringing you bread tomorrow. :)

May I have...

...some bread, too, Joe?

Re: May I have...

Yes, but you have to come get it. ;)

(Anonymous)

Mother of invention

I know you can use a wood plank to bake bread and I have made pizza on my bread stone in the grill.

I use soda water when I make bread in the grill because it is fluffier for the process.

Congratulations on your determination and enjoy the bread!

Re: Mother of invention

I was going to use my stone on the grill, but it's way above how much weight the rack can hold. A wood plank is a great idea.

(Anonymous)

mother invention: Necessity

You aer blessed to have a friend like Joe who is a great cook and a fabulous friend! Fiber & Mud