Baking bread in a home BBQ is a great way to get a crispy crust and a chewy interior. It's also a fun challenge to use your BBQ during the summer months. But learning this skill for emergencies, might be life saving someday. So try this before you need to do it.
In this article, we will show you how to bake bread in a home BBQ using gas or charcoal. And we will explain how it can be done on an open campfire, all while using Abigail's Oven Country Loaf recipe.
Abigail's Oven Sourdough Country Loaf Recipe
- 1/2 cup (120 g) active sourdough starter
- 1 1/3 cups + 2 tablespoons (350 g) water
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (50 g) whole wheat flour
- 3 ¾ cups (450 g) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) fine sea salt
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, water, and flour.
- Mix by hand until a shaggy dough comes together.
- In a stand mixer knead for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, add the salt to the dough with a bit more water [¼ cup/ 60g] and poke the salt and water into the dough.
Then turn the dough and stretch and fold it in your bowl.
- Dip your fingers in water and grab a piece of dough from the top of the bowl.
- Stretch the dough up and over the top of the dough in the bowl.
- Fold the dough in half, pressing down gently to seal the edges.
- Repeat steps 2-4 two more times.
- Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat steps 2-5 two more times.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- You should repeat the stretch and fold process 2-3 more times, every 30 minutes during the next 90 minutes.
- Then cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for 6–8 hours, or until doubled in size.
(NOTE: if you are working to mitigate gluten in your diet, the dough should be cold fermented for 12 or more hours by placing it in the fridge after the last set of stretch and folds.)
- Once the dough has doubled in size, shape it into a loaf.
- Place the dough into a well floured proofing basket or well floured cotton towel in a bowl, cover it with plastic for 1–2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Leave the dough in the covered basket in your fridge overnight. When ready to bake, you can warm the dough back to room temperature before baking or score it cold and bake it a bit longer.
Using the BBQ to Bake Bread
- Preheat the BBQ and your Dutch(s) ovens to 450°F (230°C) for about 10 minutes
- Carefully remove the preheated Dutch oven from the barbecue, but quickly recover the lid to keep as much in in the BBQ as possible.
- Remove the dough from your proofing basket, and place it on a sheet of parchment.
- Score the bread with a sharp knife or lame and lower dough into the hol Dutch oven using the parchment as a sling to prevent burning your hands.
- Place the Dutch oven back in the barbecue and bake for 30-40 minutes, at 400°F [205°C] if you can control the heat for 45-55 minutes.
Otherwise, bake it indirectly on an unheated side of your gas grill.
Either way the bread should be baked until the internal temperature reaches 200°F [95°C] and it turns a golden brown.
It should also sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing and serving.
Here are some tips for baking sourdough bread on your barbecue:
- Use a cast iron Dutch oven to help to create a nice crust and prevent the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- If you don't have a cast iron skillet or baking sheet, you can place the dough directly on the grill grates. Just be sure to preheat the grill grates for 5-10 minutes before placing the dough on them and lower the heat when baking.
- Preheat your barbecue will help to ensure that your bread bakes evenly.
- If you're using a gas barbeque, you can use a two-zone cooking setup. This means that you'll want to heat one side of the barbeque to high heat and the other side to low heat. Place the dough on the low heat side of the barbeque.
- Be careful when removing the Dutch oven from the barbecue. The handle will be hot!
- Score the top of the bread with a sharp knife before baking. This will help the bread to rise evenly and prevent it from cracking.
- Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. But be sure to monitor the bread while it's baking. If the crust is browning too quickly, you can tent the bread with foil.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing and serving.
What about a Charcoal Barbecue?
To achieve perfect baking in your Dutch oven, the right amount of charcoal briquettes is crucial. Here's a guide to help you navigate charcoal usage based on your Dutch oven size:
|Oven Size (Diameter x Depth in inches)
|8 x 5
|10 x 6
|12 x 7
|14 x 8
|16 x 9
- Bottoms-up: Use fewer briquettes on the bottom than the top to prevent burning.
- Wind and weather: Pack extra briquettes to compensate for windy conditions or cold temperatures.
- Adjust for recipe: Some recipes may require slight variations in briquette quantities.
Baking Sourdough Bread With Your Dutch Oven on an Open Campfire
Baking sourdough bread over a campfire in a Dutch oven is an amazing way to enjoy fresh, crusty bread when you are in the great outdoors. Here's a guide to help you achieve campfire-baked perfection:
Steps for Outdoor Baking on an Open Fire:
- Build your fire: Aim for a medium-hot fire with plenty of coals. You can use a fire ring or create a fire pit with rocks.
- Preheat the Dutch oven: Place the empty Dutch oven on the coals, lid on, for about 15-20 minutes. This preheats the oven and creates a consistent baking environment.
- Shape the dough: Gently shape the dough into a round loaf. You can also score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife for a classic sourdough look.
- Transfer the dough: Carefully place the dough in the preheated Dutch oven using a sling of parchment paper.
Bake the bread: Cover the Dutch oven and place it back on the coals. Add additional coals to the top of the lid to maintain even heat. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the Dutch oven. Aim for an internal temperature of 200-210°F (93-99°C).
- If the fire is too hot, you can adjust the coals by moving them around or adding a layer of sand or ash between the fire and the Dutch oven.
- Be careful not to overbake the bread, or it will be dry, and even though you may loose your steam, check it after 20 minutes; I burned the bottom of my first loaf by not checking and had to toss it.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing and enjoy!
Additional safety tips:
- Always supervise children and pets around an open fire.
- Wear heat-resistant gloves when handling the Dutch oven.
- Never leave the fire unattended.
- Let the fire cool completely before extinguishing it with water.
With a little practice, you'll be baking delicious sourdough bread over a campfire like a pro in no time. An you can enjoy the satisfaction of creating your own bread in the great outdoors!
Baking bread in a home BBQ or on a campfire is a fun and easy way to enjoy fresh bread during the summer months. But learning this skill for emergencies, might be life saving someday. So try this before you need to do it. And with a little practice, you'll be able to bake delicious bread that your family and friends will love just as much as the bread you bake indoors.