Serious Eats: Recipes

Grilled Lazy Day Summer Sandwich Bread

[Photographs: Donna Currie]

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 the last remaining days of 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 and that I keep in the refrigerator, 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.

If your day needs some extra laziness, this bread is very accommodating. That first two hour rise can be stretched to three if you have other things to do. The directions call for an additional rise after the bread flour is added, but if you aren't ready to bake quite yet, you can punch the dough down and let it rise one more time.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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