The Breads of Summer
I do love crusty toothsome baguettes, perfect for a spot of rillettes, mopping the dressing after a steak salad, or in the morning with a slather of good butter and fruity jam – or a good country loaf for sandwiches. But baking those breads heat up the kitchen – desirable in winter but not in summer.
But when there is will, there is a mean.
We don’t have a bread oven, but we do have a pizza stone and a gas grill. So my husband the baker developed a recipe – based on his no-knead winter bread recipe – that takes 10 to 15 minutes to bake outside on the grill depending what on the bread (flat or buns). Make 2 batches, and total is 20 to 25 minutes of baking – outdoors, not in the kitchen! Add to that 10 minutes of active time to prepare the dough, 10 minutes to shape it, and so about 30 minutes of active time produce a dozen flat breads or 8 to 10 buns which are prefect for sandwiches, burgers, the aforementioned rillettes and of course jam & butter.
Before you say anything: yes, he prefers to weight his ingredients when baking, but for this bread, weighing is not really necessary because there is plenty room for a little more or less of this or that. And frankly, sometime we are not cooking in our kitchen and we have no scale. So a recipe based on volume can be eminently practical. For those of you not familiar with the US cup system, 1 cup = 240 ml, or roughly 2.5 dl
Buy flour by the 50 lb sack and store the bag in a large metal can (a new trash can for example), therefore making this homemade bread really economical. And enssuring that you almost always have flour on hand. Because beware… it is really good.
and – yoohoo! – he is still tinkering with the dough to see how versatile it is. He has made wonderful flat breads and tonight he is going to make hot-dog rolls. We, after all, need bread worthy of Harmany’s hot dogs. Yoohoo!!!
Keith’s Summer Sandwich Buns
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dry baker’s yeast
- 1 scant teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (or combination whole milk yogurt/milk)
- 1/2+ cup water
- 1 generous tablespoon honey
1). Have a large bowl ready to welcome the dough, with the oil on the bottom
2). In food processor put:
- bread flour
- whole wheat bread flour
and mix dry ingredients
3). With the food processor running (dough setting) add:
- then buttermilk (if buttermilk too thick, cut with some water)
4). Slowly add water until a dough-ball forms. The dough ball should be somewhat wet for a higher rise.
5). Stop food processor, remove oval-plug and add honey. Run food processor (dough setting) for about 30 seconds
6). Use your hands to spread oil in bowl. Having oiled hands makes transferring the dough ball easier.
7). Transfer doughball to bowl, cover. Let dough rise from 2 to 4 hours. 3 is ideal
9). Flour your work area, pat the dough down, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Lightly flour it. Cut out 8 to 10 pieces of bread using a round cookie cutter (or canning jar ring), kneading trimmings back together for more buns.
10). Set on oiled sheet, or use wax paper
11). Let the flat bread rise about an hour
12). Preheat baking stone on gas grill about 10 minutes: middle burner set to high, side burners to medium
13). Lower middle burner to low, side burners to high. Cook bread (half the buns) at a time for about 8 minutes on baking stone. (Close grill while baking.)
14). After their 8 minutes, move the buns to a basket built (inside shelf) into the gas grill for about 5 minutes to finish them and brown them. Meanwhile, set the remaining uncooked buns on the stone for 8 minutes. Then turn burners off and let the residual heat finish cooking them for 5 minutes.
Note: and to keep using the heat now in the stone, you could follow-up with pizza!