Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baking In A Gas Grill

  If you're like me, you hate heating up the house in the summer time. In Utah the swamp cooler we use in our home usually does a sufficient job. When it's humid outside, it's another story entirely. When I'm really desperate for something fresh-baked or have to take freshly-baked goods to a function, I try to do it as early in the morning as possible so the house has time to try to cool back down.
  Sunday however, I was itching for hot-from-the-oven Sourdough Bread (this is my favorite recipe) to go with the dinner I would be serving my family. At 1:00 in the afternoon the house was already toasty, I knew turning on the oven was not an option. With my mind set on fresh bread an idea suddenly came to me, I had heard somewhere about someone using their gas grill for baking. So I set to researching on the internet and found many bloggers having success with outdoor grill baking.
  Being quite familiar with the logistics of baking bread I knew I could not just turn on my grill and put the ready-made loaves on the grill rack. Here's what I did:

-Placed pizza stone on warming rack of grill, far to the right side
-Preheated the grill on high for 15 minutes with the lid down, using only the burners on the left side of the grill
-Placed bread on pizza stone (Rather than use cornmeal as called for in the recipe, I rose the bread on parchment paper. I cut the parchment to fit the loaf, about 1" larger all the way around, just before placing on the grill; this made the transfer onto the stone much easier.) Closed the lid (Do not open for the first 15 minutes).

  I decided to check the bread after 15 minutes just to make sure I was not burning it. Much to my amazement it was done! I now had two beautiful, perfectly golden loaves of bread. As well, the crust was crispy just like the fancy restaurants and the bread had that hollow sound when I knocked on the bottom. These were results I had been unable to achieve in my oven, using every artisan bread baking technique I had ever heard of or read about.  I realized very quickly I had found the secret to making artisan bread. I also realized I could now make bread any time of the year, without the worry of raising the temperature in my house to 100 degrees! Lastly, it dawned on me that I had now discovered how to make bread and other baked goods in a time of emergency when there is no power to operate my home oven. Genius!
  I end this post with a challenge to you. With emergency preparedness in mind, make your favorite bread recipe this week (one you have perfected and are comfortable with), and bake it on your grill. If you don't have a pizza stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down on the rack and bake on it (don't forget to use parchment under your bread) or bake in your bread pans.
  I am always on the look-out for ways to make things easier and less stressful in an emergency situation, and boy did I just find a good one! Not only that, I will be baking on my grill a lot now. So, if you pass my house in the middle of the summer and smell something delicious, chances are it's baking in my backyard!

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