When the temperatures soar into the triple digits, and your city kitchen is hot and steamy, the last thing you want to do is bake bread. Between preheating and baking, your oven is often on for up to two hours — plenty of time to make a hot kitchen even hotter. Wouldn't it be nice if you could bake fresh bread outside? Well, you can! And it's easy. Here's how to bake a loaf of everyone's favorite no-knead bread outside on the grill. It's actually quite simple to bake bread on the grill — even large, artisan-type loaves like no-knead bread. (We have been baking flatbreads like pizza, naan, and pita for a while; that's really easy.)
All you have to do is think of your grill as an oven. Because when the grill lid is closed, that's really what it is, and it can reach temperatures much hotter than your home oven. Getting that super-hot temperature is great for bread; it's closer to the wood-fired ovens of artisan bakers.
Here is how we bake our no-knead bread in the grill. You'll need a batch of no-knead bread or quicker no-knead bread to make this. Here's the recipe:
• No-Knead Bread in a Hurry
- Preheat the grill. We turn the grill up to full blast, then put the lid on to let it heat up. Then we use our oven thermometer to monitor the heat. When it reaches 450° to 500°F, we turn the heat down slightly and move on to the next step.
- Preheat a cast iron pot. Put a large cast iron pot on the grill as it nears the baking temperature, and put the lid back on. You could probably use a pizza stone as well, but we don't currently have one, and so we've just used the pot. Let the pot continue heating with the grill for at least another 15 minutes.
- Pour in the bread dough. Take off the lid, throw in a handful of cornmeal, plop in your bread dough and put the grill lid back on! This is the usual routine for no-knead bread; it's not much different here. The only difference is that you don't need the pot lid. The grill lid creates a small, hot space similar to the closed pot in the oven, so there isn't a need for the pot lid.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bread reaches internal temperature of 210°. - Our bread was done after 30 minutes. It's more important than ever, now that you're baking on a grill without as much control over temperature, that you know how to take the internal temperature of your bread. Slide in an instant read thermometer after about 30 minutes and see if it is done. If it is, take it off. If it isn't, keep checking every few minutes.
And that's it! We haven't tried this with the lid of the grill off, but next time we would like to try that and use the pot lid instead. We just suspect that the grill wouldn't stay hot enough.
The main thing to watch out for is temperature — both inside and out. Keep an eye on grill temperature; if it's too high, the bottom will cook very fast and get a little burned and stuck to the pan, as happened to us the first time we tried this. And then make sure to doublecheck your bread's temperature before you take it off the grill.
Also, a note about the grill! The good folks at Fuego sent us one of their brand new Element Grills to try out. It's been fabulous thus far (although, yes, it needs a good cleaning right now!). Look for a full review next week!
Do you use the grill to bake bread? Got any tips?
More No-Knead Bread:
• Bittman's No-Knead Bread Phenomenon
• Knob Heads: No Knead Bread Update
• No-Knead Bread in a Hurry
• Recipe: No-Knead Challah
• Recipe: No-Knead Fennel and Anchovy Pizza
(Images: Faith Durand)