Bread Bowls for Soup – Eat the Bowl Too!

Bread Bowls for Soup – Eat the Bowl Too!

Have you ever been so hungry that you thought you could even eat all the utensils on the table? Well maybe not, but you can eat at least one of them if you are having a delicious bread bowl soup. This is a great invention, but I don’t get why they just stopped there with the bowl. I wish all the forks, knives, cups, and plates were edible too; so that I don’t have to clean up the table after every meal.

I am not sure if the fellow’s intention was the same as mine when he came up with the bread bowl back in the day, but they are so delicious when filled with soup, stew, dip, and salad. You can pretty much use bread bowls like regular bowls for any kind of food. However, the thinner soups are usually not suitable since their viscosity is closer to hot water, and no bread can withstand against that.

How to bake a bread bowl?

You can take use of different dough recipes to make bread bowls. The most famous one is the sourdough bowls, or boules, with the clam chowder soup. If you have ever visited San Francisco, you have probably seen these everywhere. Boudin bakery is famous for its sourdough boules and bread; the company has been producing them since 1849.

Feel free to experiment with different flours; It is totally up to your creativity. However, you need to have a basic idea about the general requirements of a bread bowl recipe. Our goal is to create a thick crusted bread with chewy interior, so that it does not get soggy while we are serving food in it.

Tips for bread bowl ingredients:

  • Flour: Make sure you use high protein bread flour in the recipes. You need a strong dough which can hold the hot food inside later on when baked. This is also important for the rise of the dough. The final bread should resemble a small ball instead of a burger bun. If you want to use whole wheat, corn, or other flour, then only replace half of the regular bread flour in the recipe. Gum level should be increased for gluten-free recipes which only use rice flour in general. You also need to change the water level when you replace the bread flour.
  • Sugar and Fat: We use less sugar in bread bowl recipes because we need a chewy and durable texture on the crust. Inside will be soft but not too much. Therefore, we also need to cut down the fat. 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil is great for most bread bowl recipes.
  • Milk: It is optional but I usually replace the 1/3 of the water in the recipes with nonfat milk in order to have better color on the crust. It sure adds to the flavor significantly. If you don’t want to use nonfat milk, then you can add water in the same amount.
  • Egg wash: This is another optional method. If you egg wash your shaped dough prior to baking then you will get a pretzel color bread bowl. It just looks fancier when you pour soup into a darker color bread bowl.

Try to extend the fermentation of your dough as much as you can. You will get a much stronger crust. Using steam in the oven will also improve the crust.

Basic Bread Bowl Recipe

This is a straight bread bowl recipe that you can use with your soups. The egg wash is optional, but I highly suggest keeping the nonfat milk for taste and color.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of high protein bread flour
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1 cup of nonfat milk
  • 1 packet of instant yeast (2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Egg wash ingredients:

  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of nonfat milk
  • 1 large egg beaten

Directions:

  1. Add sugar, yeast and water in the bowl and mix with spoon to blend them.
  2. Add the nonfat milk and the olive oil.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and knead for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Cover with a damp cloth, and let the dough rest for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Take it out of the bowl and press down gently. Fold from the corners towards inwards a few times, and let it rest in the bowl for another hour.
  6. Take the dough onto working surface, and press down lightly.
  7. Divide it into 4 equal portions.
  8. Take one of the divided portions and start folding from the sides towards inwards to give a ball shape. Continue with the other divided portions same way.
  9. Let them rest for 45 to 60 minutes.
  10. Put them on to a greased pan. Score with a sharp knife and cut 4 lines on top of each round dough ball, resembling a plus sign.
  11. Lightly brush the egg wash on the breads.
  12. Place a pan inside the oven with boiling water or spray the dough balls with water to create steam. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Once the bread bowls are cooled down, then you can cut the top of the bread. Hold the bread knife with 45-degree angle to take out a good cap.

Sourdough Bread Bowl Recipe

Sourdough bread bowls are my favorite. This is a fancier recipe but it takes longer to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of high protein bread flour
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 packet of instant yeast (2 teaspoons), or half cup of sourdough starter.
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Add yeast, sugar and water in the bowl and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and knead for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and let the dough rest for 1 hour or until it gets doubled in size.
  4. Take it out of the bowl and press down gently. Fold from the sides towards the center, and then turn it into a ball again. Let it rest in the bowl for another hour.
  5. Put it into the fridge overnight.
  6. Next day: Take out the bowl, and allow it to come down to room temperature.
  7. Take the dough onto working surface and press down very gently.
  8. Divide it into 4-5 equal parts with a scrapper.
  9. Take one of the divided portions and start folding from the sides towards inwards, very much like pinching, to give a ball shape. Continue with the other divided portions the same way.
  10. Let them rest for another hour and a half.
  11. Put them on to a greased pan. Score with a sharp knife and cut 4 lines on top of the round dough balls; it should resemble a plus sign.
  12. Place a pan inside the oven with boiling water to create steam, thro in some ice too. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

How do you eat soup in a bread bowl?

You can use the top cap, which is cut out in order to pour the soup, as a dipper. Get yourself a spoon and have your soup just like you always do from a regular bowl. Dip the top cap into the soup every once in a while, and get a yummy bite. Make sure that it does not get finished before the soup does, otherwise you will want to bite in or tear the bread bowl for more.

In Conclusion

Homemade bread bowls are excellent when serving delicious soup, stew, or salad to your guests. Flavors from the hot food is absorbed by the bread. Everyone will enjoy eating the warm and tasty bread afterwards. You should choose your flour wisely, and develop a good fermented dough in order to make sturdy crust bread bowls.

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Linda is doing her PhD in Engineering, while trying different bread recipes from all over the world. Luke is taking care of Pat and blogs in his spare time @ The Bread Guru. Pat likes to help and try out new recipes everyday. We are the perfect team!

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