According to the Good Book, “Man cannot live by bread alone”.
But all this man wanted, at this particular time, on this particular day, was bread. Just bread, man. Bread alone. Fresh baked, all yeasty smelling. Crusty, chewy bread. The kind of bread that teases you into anticipation, then puts up a resistance to your bite, only to yield to the warm, chewy texture that only the freshest baked bread can offer. That lingering, crusty, chewy, delicious bite that releases more flavor with every chew. Are you with me?
I glanced over at the trusty old Weber, and with just a hint of a grin, and thought, “Why not”? After all, sometimes the results of the old trial and error method of grilling yield some downright delicious results.
As time was at a premium today, and the clock was ticking, so to speak, I began with a quality pre made dough, frozen at purchase and laid out to rise in the warm, covered atmosphere it was meant to thrive in. Be sure, however, that if the time was available for this pit master to wait, ponder, and lollygag, my dough would’ve been prepared “from scratch”, as they say.
Nonetheless, the dough did what it was born to do, that being to rise and grow. In fact, my dough sought to overachieve, resembling something akin to an offspring of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Although I exercised restraint in not just digging into that great smelling dough right there, I knew that this could be a good day, as far as bread-eatin’ goes. I sought some advice at this point, asking my wife how to go about handling this mountain of dough. She proceeded to show me, in a somewhat scary, if not informative session, of the fine art of punching down the dough.
The dough, apparently realizing immediately that it was overmatched, sunk down into a more manageable form, that of an evenly divided set of two dough balls. The dough was kneaded, stretched, shaped, formed and coerced into a couple of smaller circles, ready to be made into something resembling a focaccia or flat bread. The dough was left once again to rise just a bit, on a cookie sheet.
While the dough was left to its own resources, a couple of cloves of garlic were busy roasting on the grill, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. The garlic aroma was reminiscent of the smoke from a genie lamp, curling like a seductive finger imploring one to “Come here, boy“.
And I did, to retrieve that garlic for use in my bread. “This” I thought, “is gonna be good“. Gently squeezing that roasted garlic, the cloves slipped out like a freshly caught trout slips out of your bare hands stream side. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, that’s your loss.
But now it was time for the twins, these double dough circles, to be separated and individualized. I started by poking little slots into the dough and inserting the goods, meaning these…
In this case, the roasted garlic in one, and jalapeño slices in the other. Fresh rosemary complemented the garlic, while shredded cheese would be the companion to the jalapeño bread.
My anticipation is building now. We’re getting close. So close. Onto the well lubricated and preheated grill, around 350 degrees to be more precise.
The aroma in the backyard was intense, with the roasted garlic taking center stage. Add the underlying rosemary, and the smell of fresh bread baking, and man, there’s some serious mouth-watering going on here. Time can’t move fast enough to match the anticipation of that first bite, which may be grill side, before anyone else even realizes what’s going on. Maybe.
With a couple of turns during the process, for even cooking and griller curiosity, the cheese can be added to the jalapeño bread during about the last fifteen minutes of grilling. Melting, not burning.
And then, that moment when everything seems right. The edges of the bread are browned, the cheese is melted, the garlic is calling out, and I’m taking all those calls right now.
It’s time to pull the bread off the grill, cut a test slice of each, and finally get the satisfying end to this day’s craving.
Garlic Rosemary Flatbread, and Cheesy Jalapeño Flatbread, because…
Life Is Better Wood Fired