Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lazy Day Summer Sandwich Bread - Cooked in the Gas Grill

Good bread can't be rushed, but it can be delayed. When you're feeling lazy, this bread accommodates. There are the usual steps, but it's all at a slow pace. And perfect for summer, I cooked this one in the gas grill. Why not? It's just a big outdoor oven.

The tricky part about baking on an outdoor grill is regulating the temperature, and the first part of regulating is knowing what the temperature is. My grill came with a thermometer that listed low, medium and high, which wasn't good enough for me, so I replaced it with a thermometer that lists actual temperatures. After that, it was just a matter of figuring out which of the three burners need to be on, and how high they should be to hit a particular temperature. 

When I make things like bread, I leave the center burner off to keep from burning the bottom of my loaf of bread, and the side burners to go medium-low after the initial preheat. That's what works for me, but your grill might be different, so experiment.

The other thing to know about cooking bread in a grill, as opposed to in an oven, is that when you open it, you release a LOT of heat since it goes straight up and ... gone. You lose heat when you open an oven, but not as much. So don't be checking your bread any more than you need to, or plan on increasing the baking time.

If you don't have a dedicated thermometer to check the temperature of your grill, use a remote-read thermometer so you can check the temperature without having to open the lid.

Of course, you can always make this bread in your oven.

For this particular bread, I used whey that was left over from yogurt-making, but water will work just as well. Normally, the liquid used in bread dough is warm, or at least room temperature. In this case, I used refrigerator-temperature whey, and I had a good reason. I wanted the flour to hydrate and the gluten to develop while the yeast woke up slowly.

As usual, I made this with my stand mixer, but you can knead it by hand or use your food processor fitted with the appropriate blade.

Lazy Day Summer Sandwich Bread

1 cup cold whey (or water)
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) semolina flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

 In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water (or whey), white whole wheat flour, semolina flour, and yeast. Mix it thoroughly, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours. More or less. This isn't a strict two hours, but an approximate 2 hours. A little more or less is fine.

When the two hours is up, add the bread flour and salt, and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the oil and knead until the oil is completely incorporated.

Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a little oil, and put it back into the bowl (or a clean one, if you prefer.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled - about an hour. At this point you have the choice of knocking down the dough for a second rise. If you knock it down, just reform it into a ball and out it back in the bowl and cover with plastic and let it rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes.

Preheat your grill (or oven) to 350 degrees. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of a loaf pan. When I bake bread in the grill, I often use a baking sheet under the loaf pan to insulate the bottom just a little more, to keep it from over-baking before the top cooks. A quarter-sheet pan works in my grill, but you could use whatever fits in your grill or just put the pan directly on the grates.

Dust your work space with a little flour and knead the dough briefly, then form it into a tight, smooth log. Place it, seam-side down in the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Slash the top of the loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This recipe appeared on Serious Eats and has been submitted to Yeastspotting.