Smoked salmon on pumpernickel on the lawn


I admit it, I’m becoming obsessed with outdoor dining.  We’re at the perfect summer moment up here Minnesota– not too buggy, and perfect temperature for dining al fresco.  So I’ve been doing everything on the grill.  The pizzas and flatbreads are no surprise, but the loaf breads are more challenging.  I did a pumpernickel on the gas grill and topped thin slices with butter, smoked salmon, fresh dill, and capers.  But you need to know the new twist for trapping steam to crisp the crust, which usually doesn’t work well on the well-ventilated gas grill.

OK, here’s the recipe, which is just a variation on the basic Master Recipe, just form a wet dough by dumping all the liquid and dry ingredients into a 5-quart bucket or bowl and mixing with a spoon until dry ingredients are incorporated; you don’t have to knead it:

3 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 T granulated yeast (2 packets)

1 1/2 T coarse salt

2 T molasses

1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

2 t instant espresso powder (or swap brewed coffee for 2 cups of the water, keeping total volume at 3 cups)

1 1/2 T caramel color

1 cup rye or pumpernickel flour

5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Cornmeal or parchment to line pizza peel

After mixing, allow to rise, loosely covered, at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours, then store in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, cutting off loaves to bake every day as you need them.  The main difference from the Master Recipe is that you bake this loaf at about 400 degrees F. or a little higher, not 450 (use an oven thermometer to check).  In the book (this recipe’s on page 67), we have you throw water into a pre-heated broiler tray (in the oven).  That doesn’t fly on the gas grill, where I baked the pumpernickel.  Here’s what you do.

On my Weber Genesis A, there’s no place to put a broiler tray, and if there was, the steam would all quickly leak out through gaps in the cover (trust me, I’ve tried this).  It’s the same on the more deluxe grills; here’s a Weber Genesis E-310 on Amazon.  The solution is very, very simple.  First, pre-heat a baking stone on the grill for at least 20 minutes, with the grill lid closed.  On my grill, when both burners on my grill are set to medium, the temperature stabilizes at about 400 to 425 degrees F., which works fine for this loaf.  Don’t make big loaves; my lawn hors d’oeuvres were cut from 1-pound loaves, about a grapefruit-sized piece of dough.   After a 40-minute room-temperature rest on a pizza peel lined with cornmeal or parchment paper, slide the loaf onto the pre-heated stone on the grill.  Here’s the new part:

Simply cover the baking loaf with an aluminum baking pan that’s roomy enough for the rising loaf.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, with the grill lid CLOSED.  You’ll find that the baking pan cover traps steam from the loaf itself and carmelizes the crust quite nicely.

Allow to cool COMPLETELY or you won’t be able to get nice thin slices.  Sweet butter was the preferred topping (spread it thickly!), then the fish, dill, and capers.

I can’t remember what else we ate that night.  It didn’t involve bread.

27 thoughts to “Smoked salmon on pumpernickel on the lawn”

  1. Katie and Shari: I did bake that on the grill, the key was the aluminum pan cover, otherwise you just cant get a good crust on a loaf bread done on the grill. Give it a try.

  2. Now I’ve got to run out and get an aluminum pan that will work. I haven’t been baking everyday to avoid heating my house up to a million degrees. Last night I did do flatbread on the grill (which was quite delicious) but I have been missing the actual bread. This would work with semolina or master recipe too right? I’ll try it.

  3. Absolutely, either recipe should work well, so long as you find a reasonable temperature that you can re-create each time. Jeff

  4. Teresa: I should clarify; the aluminum pan cover was a foil roasting pan (very cheap). I don’t want people running out and buying more cookware for this.


  5. I like the idea of making bread on the gas grill. Great summertime pizza and addition to all grilling. Cheers.

  6. Y’know, there have to be a whole lot of us who are ready to come over anytime and be your guinea pigs!!! I know I’d be more than willing to make the sacrifice… 😉

  7. Thanks Ann… that’s how I’ve been prefacing all these grill sessions to my guests (“you guys are just guinea pigs etc.”). But it turns out to be really easy. We haven’t had a failure yet.

    Have you tried it yourself yet? Jeff

  8. Oh waow, what a fantastic idea! And I would’nt have dared to put my baking stone on my gas barbecue, but we’ll try soon for pizza and then a loaf of bread, the weather being just right for barbecues here too, 60 kms south of Paris, France. Thanks Jeff! I just love this kind of idea!

  9. One thing, Flo, I’m using a very thick stone that has a lifetime warranty… I’m not sure that most manufacturers guarantee their stones– it may crack on the grill if it’s not a good, durable one.


  10. Thank you for coming up with a way to bake loaves on the grill. I have not been baking since it got hot and we have been missing it. I made a boule on the grill Mon. It was great. Thanks again. The pizza we had a couple weeks ago on the grill was also fantastic.

  11. Stones on the grill — I am using a stone that is better than 15 years old and nasty ugly. Heated it up on the grill so hot to where my thermometer crapped out on me – 600 plus. So far, no adverse reactions to the grill or the extreme heat. This is a thin, I think maybe Baker’s Secret stone? Definitely not top of the line. It works beautifully.

  12. Hello! I just read your book once again and thought of making this bread. Why caramel color (brown?)? Cocoa powder does not give enough color? I think we have not pumpernickel flour here, how does it differ from rye? And one more thing… Molasses, how does the taste differ from dark syrup?

  13. Hi TiV: The caramel color isn’t just for color, it also imparts a bitterness to the bread that most people associate with pumpernickel bread. Pumpernickel is nothing more than a coarsely ground rye, and as we say in the book, isn’t absolutely required for decent pumpernickel bread, so we don’t call for it.

    Molasses, to my taste, is a more distinctive flavor than ordinary dark syrup (I assume you mean dark corn syrup?). Like caramel color, it’s a bit bitter. Jeff

  14. try using a big green egg ceramic cooker. it’s like a brick pizza oven and adds a touch of hardwood smoke to your breads. i just did my first loaf of your master recipe last night. great stuff!

  15. I made the smoked salmon & pumpernickel appetizers and your tapenade on pumpernickel for guests last week – they RAVED about both.

    I make a lot of pumpernickel and I heartily recommend buying the carmel coloring from King Arthur – the only retail outlet in the country according to the manufacturer. It is worth the money. I bought two jars for the same amount of postage. It is so much easier than making your own caramelized sugar which can be a big pain if it hardens in the pan.

  16. What would happen if I prepare a batch of pumpernickel bread and immediately put it into loaf pans allow it to double, or rise to the top of the pan, then bake it in the oven? Has this been tried before? I’d treat the pans with pam first to prevent sticking. Let me know what you think. I’d like to give this a try today.
    And I absolutely love your book and recipes. I’ve become the bread baking hero in my family!

    1. Hi Barb,

      I’ve done it and it works, but it isn’t as consistent as the regular method. It also won’t have time to develop much flavor from the fermentation process. But, give it a try and see what you think.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. I can’t wait to try to make a loaf of bread on my grill. So far I have had great luck with pita and pizza, and I actually made cinnamon raisin bagels the other morning for breakfast. I used a cast iron pizza pan, an inverted aluminum lasagna pan, and the side burner for the boiling water. They were delicious and my boys loved getting warm bagels on a day when I would have never started my oven because of the heat! Thanks for the great recipes and great grill ideas.

  18. I baked the whole wheat rosemary flax bread on the grill. I was unaware of the aluminum pan trick. I used the Pizza Que Stone and made 2- 1 pound loves. The bread came out great and my kids and family gobbled it up.

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