How to Make Grilled Buns

Recipe courtesy Zoe Francois (Adapted from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois' "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day")
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 20 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 35 min
 
YIELD: Four 1-pound loaves or 20 dinner rolls
LEVEL: --

ingredients

OLIVE OIL DOUGH:
  • 1 tablespoon Red Star Yeast (Active Dry, Quick Rise or Bread Machine)
  • 2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose King Arthur Flour (measured by scoop and sweep)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Cornmeal for baking the rolls
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Directions

Mix the dough: in a 5-quart container, mix the yeast, water and salt. Add all the flour, then use a wooden spoon to mix until all ingredients are uniformly wet. It is not necessary to knead or continue mixing once the ingredients are combined. This will produce a loose and wet dough.

Cover with a lid (not airtight). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse, about 2 hours

After rising, the dough can be baked immediately, or covered (not completely airtight) and refrigerated for up to 14 days. The dough will be easier to handle after it is thoroughly chilled. The dough also develops more complex sourdough flavor after 24 hours of refrigeration.

On baking day, prepare a 4-quart Dutch oven or other flame proof baking dish (the one I used is a flame proof ceramic pot made by Emile Henry) by covering the bottom with a pillow of foil. It should be about 1-inch thick. This will insulate the dough from the intense heat of the grill and prevent the bottom of your rolls from burning.

Add a smooth layer of foil on top of the pillow and sprinkle it generously with cornmeal. This will prevent the rolls from sticking to the foil and adds a lovely flavor and texture to the rolls.

Uncover the refrigerated dough and sprinkle the surface with flour. Pull up and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece of dough using a pair of kitchen shears. Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator for baking at another time.

Divide the 2-pounds of dough into 10 equal pieces. Dust each piece with more flour. Create smooth balls of dough by gently pulling the sides down around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. While shaping, most of the dusting flour will fall off. The bottom of the rolls may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. Shaping the rolls this way should take no more than 20 seconds each.

Place the dough balls on the cornmeal covered foil.

Cover the Dutch oven and allow them to rest for about 40 minutes. The dough may not rise much during this time.

After the 40-minute rest, place the covered Dutch oven on the cold grill and turn it on to Medium heat. Close the grill lid and bake for about 30 minutes.

The grill should reach 450 degrees F. You will need to adjust the heat depending on your grill's thermometer. If you are using a charcoal grill you will want to light the coals, let the flame die down and then place the Dutch oven on the grill. Charcoal is a little harder to regulate so you will need to keep a close eye on the rolls.

Bake for about 30 minutes with the lid on the pot. Remove the lid and continue to bake the rolls, with the grill lid closed, until they are golden brown. Enjoy!

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