Note to self: Don’t bake bread in your Weber Charcoal Grill when it’s 25 degrees outside!
In any case, I just couldn’t wait any longer to join the fun and bake my “NO OVEN” challenge bread. Of course over this past weekend it was raining and snowing so I had to wait until Monday. I was working from home for the day prepping for my colonoscopy the next day. Well, it’s so much fun not being able to eat anything except broth and Jello for a day and a half, especially when ones wife has baked 500 Christmas cookies. The smell of the baked/smoked bread was almost enough to drive me over the edge :0.
I used my Weber charcoal grill and added some Hickory wood chunks to get a nice smokey flavor and it really came through. I set the 2 charcoal baskets on each side of the kettle so I could bake the bread on indirect heat. The only issue I had was the parchment paper caught fire from the wood chunks flaming more than anticipated and burned the bottom of the loaves slightly.
I used an aluminum pan on the bottom of the grill and dumped in 1 1/2 cups of hot water to generate some steam. I think in hindsight it could have used more steam and it would have helped if it wasn’t so cold outside since I was only able to get the grill up to 425 degrees briefly. Usually I can easily get it to over 500 degrees.
All in all, when I was finally able to try a piece this afternoon after my procedure, the taste was amazing. The smokey flavor is incredible and even the slightly charred bottom is not bad :). The onion really shines in this one and the cream cheese really created a soft moist crumb.
The crumb could have been more open but I think my timing was off a little since I was working while trying to bake this as well and probably should have gotten it in the barbecue earlier.
Download the BreadStorm File Here.
Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled. I usually do this the night before. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours, cracked wheat, and 400 grams of the Ale together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute. Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 60 minutes or longer. I actually left it for around 2.5 hours. Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), honey, cream cheese and balance of the Ale, and mix on low for 5 minutes. Add the caramelized onions and mix until incorporated. Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds. Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold. Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold. After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours. (If you have a proofer you can set it to 80 degrees and follow above steps but you should be finished in 1 hour to 1.5 hours).
When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove the dough and shape as desired. Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature. Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.
As I mentioned above I used my Weber charcoal kettle grill but you can also bake in your oven as well.