Grilled scallion bread

Dear old friends were excited to tell me about their latest discovery. During a kitchen remodel they became deeply dependent on their grill. And one of them thought to put dough on the grill and grill the bread. The other of them thought that her husband was a genius for coming up with this. She thought I would be excited and amazed. She thought I’d want to write about it.

“I know!” I said, “I love making grill bread.”

“You know about it?” she asked, disappointed. “It’s a thing?”

“Yeah,” I said, “it’s a thing.”

Her husband nodded. He had been less impressed with his innovation from the beginning. He knew it was a thing.

This summer I branched out from my classic it’s-like-a-crack-pretzel version and took inspiration from a cilantro-scallion bread in the July issue of Bon Appetit. But I didn’t have cilantro or sesame seeds at the cabin and… well, there were several changes. The most important one, however, was popping the scallion-laden spirals on the grill. Some fell apart, some got a bit, um, charred, but that was a grillmaster/cook’s error rather than a recipe problem. Overall they were scrumptious.

Scallion grilled bread

This dough is much softer than others that I’ve grilled. Keep the grill at a steady, medium heat so they can cook through without burning and without you having to try and move them before the dough is nicely “set” so they don’t fall apart as some of mine did when I had to move them away from the intense heat on my overly-hot grill (in my defense, I had to move the lit grill up a stair to get in beneath an overhang when it started to rain and the coals shifted around most annoyingly).

Dissolve 2 teaspoons dry active yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Make sure it gets a bit foamy to make sure the yeast is alive and activated. Stir in 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons fine sea salt to dissolve. Then stir in 4 tablespoons melted and cooled butter and 1 egg. Stir about 2 cups flour into this wet mixture. You will have quite a sticky dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour or so or overnight in the fridge.

When the mixture has about doubled, chop up 4 scallions/green onions and combine them with 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds if you’re so inclined.

Punch down the dough and knead on a well floured surface so it’s a nice smooth mass. Roll or pat and stretch the whole mass into a 12-inch long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread the dough all over with the scallion-cumin seed mixture, loosely roll the rectangle the long way into a log (the dough will expand and you want the spirals you’ll end up with to stay flat spirals and not puff up into cones), set the seam-side down and cut into 12 even disks about 1-inch thick each. Lay the disks out on a floured surface, pressing them a bit more flat or shaping them back into round disks if they got squished as you do so, cover with a clean towel, and let sit until a bit puffy.

Heat a grill to as even a medium heat (you can hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds) as you can. Brush the clean cooking grate with oil and brush the top of the disks with oil. Set the disks, oil-side-down on the grill and cook until the dough is a bit “set” and breads are well browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Oil the raw tops of the breads and turn them over to cook on the other side until cooked through and well browned on both sides, another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve somewhat immediately because fresh, hot bread is such a treat.