BBQ magazine Winter 2021
Bread and butter. Bread meet butter; I see you already know each other and have been together for centuries. Make that ‘bread meat butter’ and if you love to barbecue, make the best of all three.
When it comes to grilled food, there is a third party in this relationship – in a good way, a great way, for the range of breads and butters out there in the live fire firmament can elevate the finest of meats and indeed fish and vegetables.
“There is nothing more irresistible in my mind then freshly baked bread elevated
by a generously thick spreading of lovely butter. A marriage that is so well established that the phrasing bread and butter literally means the earning of one’s livelihood. Everybody has an option on bread and butter and so they should; it is as old as civilisation itself,” says Dan Cooper, head grill master at Weber.
“But how does it play into barbecue? I think grilled meats and freshly baked breads have been bed partners from the beginning. Bread is a natural receptacle. A tasty vessel by which to hold the precious filling.”
Burger and hot dogs are the obvious foods with their own bread partners, says Cooper, but so many cultures have their own bread and meat combinations, with their roots in barbecue food. Think brioche, roti, Texas toast, corn bread, chapati, naan.
“The simple truth is bread needs to be very fresh. In most cases, it’s best eaten almost immediately after cooking and the only sure-fire way to know it’s fresh is to make your own, preferably on your grill. The benefit of eating fresh is texture,” says Cooper.
“Burger buns should be very soft, offering little in the way of resistance. They simply encase, nothing more. This is true in so many recipes and freshness really is the key.”
Baking on your barbecue is a brilliant way of achieving this freshness, adds Cooper, who uses his Weber Gourmet Barbecue System pizza stone to bake sourdough, pizza and flavoured flatbreads.
“Butter and BBQ are also no strangers to one another either. If you look at Americana barbecue styles, many mops and sauces contain high butter content. Butter is a real enricher and is often melted and brushed on to meat for flavour and succulence especially steaks.”
The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex
“The Artisan Bakehouse is our vision and passion. Having lived and trained in France in traditional artisan bread-making, we returned home to the UK in 2011 and had a vision to create a bread-making centre of excellence and to teach traditional artisan methods with our trusty wood oven at the heart of what we do.
“We sourced a Bushman oven and in the early days we only used this to run our classes. We have since developed the business further and also use traditional bakers’ ovens and domestic ovens too alongside the wood oven so we can demonstrate different techniques to suit all bakers.
“We teach a comprehensive range of bread-making classes, both yeasted and sourdough, Mediterranean classes and seasonal classes, working with a range of organic and local flours.
“We are passionate about teaching traditional hand-crafted methods using only the best flours with no additives. Our customers range from complete beginners, enthusiastic home bakers, chefs wanting to learn more about bread, through to the more experienced bakers keen to expand their repertoire.
“Les teaches many of the classes and we also have renowned international baker and author Emmanuel Hadjiandreou on the team – an experienced and passionate baker who teaches our one- and two-day sourdough classes as well as Viennoiserie and wholegrain classes. We are looking to launch a bagels, pretzels and grissini class in 2022. “We love to celebrate the magic of real bread, the combination of three ingredients – flour, water and yeast – to create so many different tastes and textures.
“Pairing them to what you are cooking on the barbecue can take your dining experience up another notch and when we barbecue at home, we always rustle up our sea salt and rosemary focaccia, which can outshine the meats.
“Its soft texture and delicious crust are the perfect accompaniment to nibble on with olives, while waiting for the meats to grill and then to savour with the main event.
“Homemade pittas are fabulous stuffed with meats from the open fire and seasonal grilled vegetables, fresh herb salsa verde or a spicy chilli relish.
“Our Lebanese Maneesh masterclass is always a favourite. This delicious flatbread is topped with za’atar (sumac, salt, oregano, thyme, marjoram and sesame seeds) and its subtle flavours and light crust make a great addition to charred meats and fish.
“To enhance your barbecue meal, we would lean towards the lighter ciabatta, focaccia and flatbreads, while seasonal twists are always a must, with wild garlic ciabatta always a winner in late spring/early summer.
“You cannot talk about flatbreads without mentioning pizza and whatever you like to top yours with, creating the perfect crust is essential. We like to use an organic Italian 00 flour and extra virgin oil to give it that authentic taste.”
Les and Louise Nicholson, founders
Hobbs House Bakery, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol
“I am a fifth-generation baker. We are based just outside Bristol and have been baking handmade bread since 1920. The bakery was started by my great-grandfather. It
has changed a lot since then, but we have always stuck to doing things the more traditional way, which is using the best ingredients, not over complicating the recipe and, most importantly, giving bread time to develop. This is something that has been lost in modern bakeries.
“By slowing down the fermentation you allow the dough to develop a better crumb, more flavour and you don’t need to add lots of additives to keep the loaf. It will naturally last longer, especially the sourdoughs. They can keep for toast for two weeks easily, if stored correctly.
“We don’t currently use wood-fired ovens at the bakery, but we do have one in our Nailsworth shop. There is a real art to getting the temperature just right so that you can bake your loaves without scorching them. It’s about using the flow of the heat and working out what to bake first. So, while it is super-hot, we would do the baguettes and sourdough and then move on to the tin loaves and burger buns. And with the oven cooling down we would do the brioche buns, cakes and tarts. To use the long low heat of the oven we would roast a shoulder of pork that would be ready to serve between buns for the next day’s lunch.
“For me, great bread is not just a technical thing, it is also who you share it with. A beautiful loaf eaten in isolation is never as good as a duffer eaten with friends. Having said that a belter of a loaf shared with friends is the best of all.
“To make good bread it’s all about keeping it simple. Firstly, the flour; this makes up the biggest ingredient in a loaf, so having a good quality flour is essential. At Hobbs House Bakery we use Shipton Mill.
“Then you need to decide if you want to make a sourdough or a yeasted one. If you have time and want to have something to match your 18-hour smoked brisket, then head down the sourdough route. Nothing can beat soft smoky meat, hot crusty bread and some pickles and hot sauce.
“Sourdough requires a lot of patience and practice, but it is a joy when you make your first loaf. Just don’t be tempted to make it too wet on your first attempt. For me a burger is 50% bread, so if you can make your own then you will take your barbecue food to the next level.
“We have a cookery school in Chipping Sodbury and also run a Weber Grill Academy in our garden.”
Henry Herbert, sales director
Gozney, Christchurch, Dorset
“I’v always used Dallagiovanna 00 Italian flour; a mixture of its blue and red is great for my signature dough recipe. But recently I’ve been supporting Wildfarmed flour.
“I find fresh yeast easier to work with, I get better results. I don’t really have a brand; I pop into whatever local bakery there is and twist the arm of the baker to break me off an ounce.
“I’m a traditionalist when it comes to dough, with five key ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast and time.
“The longer you allow a dough to ferment, the more magical the results. I am currently making a 96-hour fermented dough. It’s wild, light and crispy with huge crusts and beautiful little leopard blisters.
“The key things that changed my dough game were high hydration (I’d always recommend north of 70%), plenty of time in the fridge – I like to bulk ferment cold – and low, slow yeast.
“Nothing beats having a homemade pizza in your own garden and I’ll never forget the first one I baked in the Gozney Dome. But, as we supply some incredible restaurants with our professional pizza ovens, I’ve had the pleasure of eating
a lot of great pizza around the world.
Some standouts for me are Homeslice’s 20” pizza, Una Pizza Napoletana in
New York City and Peels on Wheels Detroit-style pizza.”
Tom Gozney, Founder
Shipton Mill, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
“Choosing your flour may depend on many factors, including a baker’s preference for the provenance of the grain, the variety of grain they want to work with, where it grows best, the locality of farms and mills, how the climate the grain is grown in affects its various baking properties, and how far the product has travelled.
“In terms of yeast, I tend to use Bioreal organic yeast, which is produced using organic cereals without the use of chemical additives during fermentation. I use both fresh and dried, depending on what I have to hand and where I’m baking.
“I’m a home baker and not a professional, so I’m always learning tips from our head baker, Chris Holister, who trained at the Harts Bakery in Bristol.
“I use his recipe for a cold fermented sourdough, which is very adaptable, and divide it into chunks to cook as flatbreads. Chris reduces the hydration from his usual sourdough recipe to make the dough easier to handle in flatbread form. He uses a blend of our organic No. 4 flour and stoneground wholemeal to make a lovely pillowy but chewy dough.
“If you are new to baking, try to learn to read the dough itself, rather than sticking strictly to timings in a recipe. Temperature plays a big part in how fast or slow the dough develops (and the type of flour can affect how much water it can take), so trust your gut instincts and read the dough from how it looks and feels. Sometimes recipes need tweaking to suit what you’re working with in terms of temperature and ingredients to make sure you get the best results.”
Tess Lister, corporate development manager
PEDYR’s BAKE HOUSE, POLPERRO, CORNWALL
“I run my own artisan bakery and also run live cookery demonstrations for DeliVita, using its wood-fired ovens and developing recipes and methods.
“The wood-fired oven really harks back to the original way of baking from centuries ago, so, as a modern baker, it is really exciting to go back to the very beginning of how it began and bring it into modern life.
“When it comes to bread, the best thing is the crust; the sound you get when you tear a chunk off. The flavour, aroma, colour and texture all come from a great crust.
“Some people like a soft burger bap like brioche to accompany their BBQ meats, others a crusty ciabatta or baguette. Just make sure the bread is able to carry and enhance the flavour of a great barbecue.
“The best pairings depend on the dishes being cooked. The majority of our outdoor food revolves around the Mediterranean style of cooking, so I would recommend breads from these countries and regions.
“Grilled meat usually wants bread that can carry the flavours and also soak up the juices, so I’d choose a heavier bread – brioche, baguettes or flatbread – while fish and lighter dishes want lighter breads, such as grissini, focaccia or fougasse.
“The ultimate pizza dough wants a little olive oil included in the dough, for flavour and to help the elasticity, and a smaller amount of yeast and plenty of time to ferment and to develop the flavour and texture. You want to handle it as little as possible when shaping into pizzas and the most important thing is, the hotter, the better for oven temperature.
“DeliVita handcrafts its own Dough to Go range of artisan Italian pizza dough. From traditional dough, through to sourdough, turmeric dough and even charcoal dough the range guarantees authentic, restaurant quality pizzas.
“The right bread, home-made or bought can completely transform a meal. Not only is the flavour far superior, but the versatility of good bread is unmatched.
“For instance, instead of soft finger rolls for hotdogs, why not choose a tiger bread, or crusty baguette? Or instead of baps, why not try brioche, flatbreads or focaccia to go with burgers or kebabs?
“In terms of flour, that depends on the bread you want to make. For example, for French baguettes, I would only use a Type 55 French flour as it has been milled finer than standard baker’s flour. For pizzas or grissini (breadsticks), I would only use a Type 0 Italian flour, as this is even finer and has a strong gluten content – to cope with a long kneading process and the long fermentation that goes with making a pizza dough.
“As for yeast, fresh yeast will always be superior to dried yeast as it is a live product, so will give you better final results, while dried yeast is good for long-term storage
“If you want just one tip for dough, it is time. Time is key to making great bread, the longer you can give it, the better the final results will be.”
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