Bread bowls have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These crusty vessels add an extra layer of flavor, texture, and excitement to your favorite soups. Whether you’re enjoying a hearty tomato soup or a creamy chowder, the experience is elevated when served in a homemade bread bowl.
Perfectly Crusty Exterior
The first thing that sets homemade bread bowls apart from their store-bought counterparts is the perfectly crusty exterior. Baking your own bread allows you to achieve that golden brown crust that adds a satisfying crunch when you break into it. The rich aroma that fills your kitchen as the bread bakes is simply irresistible.
Soft and Chewy Interior
But it’s not just about the crust – the soft and chewy interior is equally important. When you scoop out a spoonful of soup, the flavors are absorbed into the bread, creating a harmonious blend that melts in your mouth. The contrast between the crispy outside and the tender inside creates a delightful combination of textures that takes your soup to another level.
Versatility at Its Finest
Homemade bread bowls also offer a degree of versatility that is hard to find elsewhere. You can experiment with different types of bread to match your soup of choice. From classic white or whole wheat to more adventurous options like sourdough or rye, the possibilities are endless. This allows you to tailor the bread bowl to complement the flavors of your soup and create a truly personalized dining experience.
Another benefit of homemade bread bowls is their positive impact on the environment. By using edible containers instead of disposable ones, you reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a small step towards reducing our ecological footprint, but every effort counts.
A Feast for the Eyes
Lastly, let’s not forget about the visual appeal of homemade bread bowls. Placing a steaming bowl of soup within a hollowed-out loaf of bread makes for an impressive presentation that never fails to impress. It adds a touch of rustic elegance to your meal, making it perfect for casual family dinners or special occasions.
In conclusion, homemade bread bowls have the power to elevate your favorite soups to a whole new level. From the satisfying crunch of the crust to the delightful combination of textures, these edible containers add a unique touch to your dining experience. So next time you’re craving a comforting bowl of soup, consider baking your own bread and take your meal to the next level.
Homemade Bread Bowls
- 2 packets Red Star® Active Dry Yeast 4 and 1/2 teaspoons
- 2 and 1/4 cups 540ml warm water (110°F – 115°F)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons 30ml olive oil
- 6 cups 780g bread flour spoon & leveled, plus more for hands and surface*
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water or milk
- Pour the warm water over yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you don’t have a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Whisk together and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a towel. The mixture should be frothy and foamy after 5 minutes.
- If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the sugar, salt, olive oil, 4 cups of bread flour, and seasonings (if using, see recipe note). Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 5-6 minutes. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. If it’s too sticky, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Then place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. (I just use the same mixing bowl– remove the dough, grease it with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the dough back in.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.
- Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed.
- Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut into 6 even pieces. Form each into a large ball.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place 3 dough balls onto each. Cover lightly and set aside to rest for 20 minutes as the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Brush each dough ball with egg wash and, using a sharp knife, score an X into the tops of each.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. For a more accurate test for doneness, the bread bowls are done when an instant read thermometer reads the center as 195°F (90°C).
- Cool until ready to handle. The longer you cool, the easier they are to cut open. For serving, cut a large round out of the top of each bread bowl. Scoop out the center (save the center to dunk into soup!) and fill with soup.
- Cover and store leftover bread bowls at room temperature for a couple days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. You can also freeze the baked bread bowls for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.