Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WSM / Baking

Baking on the WSM started out as a Winter project in the year 2000 and took many different bakes and method changes to get my products to where they are about as good as I get out of my ceramic cooker or a wood oven.

I have always felt that this little cooker is a good all around cooker / smoker and with the addition of baking, in my mind, makes this a great cooker and even better to take along for camping, tailgating, parties, contests, etc..

I start by placing the charcoal grate into the cooker right on top of the lower cooking grid and turn it about 90 degrees from the standard grid as we need to use lump charcoal for baking in the cooker and the two grates used together will help keep the smaller pieces of charcoal from falling thru the grates into the bottom of the cooker. I then add the charcoal ring on top of these two grates and it is ready to be loaded with fuel.

Raising the fire up inside the cooker will make it easier to run the higher temps needed for items like pizza as well as the longer times necessary for our bread baking.

I then load the charcoal ring up with the lump charcoal and place a couple of Weber fire cubes into the lump to start my fire.

I also found that the best results can be obtained by raising the baking hearth up as well inside the cooker. The temperature is higher in the upper part of the dome.
I used a Grid Extender from the BGE store for my raised grid but a fellow could use any type of method the raise a smaller grid in the cooker for the hearth stone. Heck, three empty beer cans would work.

You also need a drip pan of some sort under this baking hearth to force all the moving air and heat to the outside of the cooker to where is goes up into the dome and then back down on the product. It will also prevent the bottom of your baking from burning before the top gets done. I use a large deep dish pie pan for my drip pan.

You now have a setup that will work for about anything that you wish to bake in the cooker.

Pizza on the WSM..

The day I made pizza, I made up two of my thick and chewy crust pizzas for myself and baked them on the WSM at about 425 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.

I then opened up all the lower vents in the cooker to get a higher baking temperature for my wife's pizza. She likes a thin and crispy crust and I got her pizza loaded at about 530 degrees and then it baked at about 500 degrees for 13-14 minutes and came out great.

The WSM did a fine job with 3 pizzas in a row and would have had enough lump left to probably do a several more if I would have had them ready.

Foccacia Bread on the WSM..

This is a real simple Italian bread and very easy to do on the WSM. It is about like a pizza dough with usually an herb or two in the dough along with some toppings of your choice on the top of the loaf.

I like to bake this bread around 400 degrees and that was very easy on the WSM.

The Foccacia bread makes a great snack.

Kolach Bread on the WSM..

This is an European and Russian braided bread and very rich and wonderful to eat.

This is what it looked like just before I placed it on the WSM cooker. I brought the cooker up to about 360 degrees for this bread.

I baked two loaves of this bread with each loaf taking about an hour and they came out great.

Calzones on the WSM..

This is another great treat that can be baked on the WSM cooker. I do them a couple of different ways to suit both myself and the wife. She likes the more traditional calzone stuffed with spinach that has been sauteed in olive oil along with italian cheeses and I like mine stuffed with pizza-like ingredients and the Italian cheeses.

These are my two different recipes for the calzones about ready to go on the WSM cooker. For the calzones, I brought the temperature up to about 400-425 degrees for this bake.

I baked the calzones for about 18 minutes and I like to get them just slightly crunchy before I take them off the cooker.

I also make up a mariana type of sauce with my home made Italian sausage to serve on top of this treat. This bake served both me and the wife along with another couple and was very good.

The WSM will do a great job with most baking and you can find a great article that I did for the Virtual Weber Bullet back in the Spring of 2001 with all the details including recipes, methods, times, temps, and everything you need to get started with baking on the WSM. The link can be found here

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