It seems almost silly to have a whole post dedicated to grilling bread. How hard can it be? You grab some bread… and you grill it. But how do you get that perfect, crunchy exterior striped with aesthetic grill lines? It needs to crackle as you bite down, be buttery but not greasy, and act as the perfect vehicle for sauces and toppings. It needs to be so enthralling that you forget you’re on a low carb diet and sitting around eating grilled bread.
I thought it was pretty obvious, until I almost melted my wire cooling rack trying to hack together a makeshift stove top grill. Note: wire cooling racks are not flame resistant. Putting it in the oven is also not an option. The bread won’t brown evenly, and it’ll come out toasted instead of grilled. But as I was making grilled bread to go with my Simple Shakshuka, I figured out the technique for perfectly crunchy grilled bread that requires no grill at all – all you need is:
- High quality, crusty artisan loaf (I used sourdough bread from Acme Bakery in San Francisco. It is heaven in bread form)
- Generous pour of olive oil
- A nice hot pan
Perfectly crunchy grilled bread
- Slice bread about 1/2 in. thick and lay on baking tray or foil
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Flip onto other slide and drizzle again. Ensure that the olive oil is evenly covering both sides
- Heat pan on high until hot. When you flick water on the pan, it should fizzle and jump across the surface.
- Place bread on hot pan. Take flat side of cooking spatula and apply even pressure to bread for 1-2 minutes. Then, take the side of the spatula and press into bread to create a line, applying pressure for 30 seconds. Repeat evenly across the surface of the bread. Flip and repeat process on other side.
This is a little bit of a time intensive process for what is a deceivingly simple side. But I promise that perfectly grilled bread will transform and elevate your meal to the next level. It’ll take you from “college dorm room” to “oooh I’m a real chef now” – and you won’t be able to go back!